Even after two major earthquakes brought the country’s schools to an abrupt close, Nepal’s education unions are standing together to ensure both their ranks and their students get the support they need.
Just as life seemed as though it was headed toward a sense of normalcy, Mother Nature had other plans. When Nepal was rocked with another powerful earthquake for the second time in as many weeks the country’s citizens made their fear evident, reluctant to get on with their daily lives, including its education sector.
So far across devastated regions of the country 45 teachers and 10 school staff lost their lives following the first quake on 25 April.
Due to the uncertain safety conditions, Nepal’s Ministry of Education has decided to keep schools closed until the 1st of June as both a precaution and as it works to find a solution to the devastated school buildings across the country, a decision that has left more than 950,000 school-aged children without a place to learn.
But rather than succumb to the country’s current state of affairs, Nepal’s three teacher unions, and Education International (EI) affiliates, the Nepal National Teachers’ Association (NNTA), the Nepal Teachers’ Association (NTA), and the Sansthagat Vidyalaya Schickshak Union Nepal (ISTU) have joined forces to help both members and fellow citizens in need.
Members from the three unions have agreed to donate five days salary of 600 million Nepali Rupees (equivalent to six million USD) to the prime minister’s emergency relief fund that is used to help anyone in desperate situations. The members also had their unions withhold an additional one day’s worth of salary to be used to support teachers during these difficult times.
Education International lends a helping hand
In an expression of solidarity on behalf of the global education community, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen arrived in Kathmandu Wednesday to meet with union leaders and assess the damage across the city. Van Leeuwen and the affiliates are to discuss how EI’s Solidarity Fund can be properly directed to aid the unions and their members.
To send a contribution in support of Nepal’s teachers unions, their members and students, please send to the following address:
Avenue Marnix, 24, B-1000 Brussels - Belgium
IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075
Including the reference “Solidarity with Nepal”
For more information, please contact Nicolas Richard, EI Senior Coordinator, Solidarity and Development: Nicolas.Richards@ei-ie.org