Since the beginning of our support, considerable progress has been made in the development of the Kumbu-Kasthali schools. Prior to our sponsorship, which began in 1997, there was only one school for grades 1 - 7, two schools for grades 1 - 5, one for grades 1 - 3 and another for grade 1 only. Today (as of Dec. 2013), students in Kumbu have the possibility to get the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) after 10th grade; two more schools include classes up to the 8th grade, and the remaining four schools up to grade 5. Thus, the number of school classes has more than doubled (from 21 to 46). Together with the 5 nursery schools there are now 51 classes.
The benefits of this development are diverse: the way to school for primary school kids (up to grade 5) is nowhere longer than a 30-40-minute walk anymore. In the past, the older students from Western parts of the VDC used to walk to Bhandar for two hours (i.e. four hours to get there and back), in order to earn their SLC degree. Now they can take their exams locally in Kumbu school and, if successful, receive the School Leaving Certificate.
In terms of the number of school children, the high increase of girls is particularly gratifying. Their number increased by 77% (including nursery schools), thus even surpassing the number of boys (girl-boy ratio: 52% : 48%). The parents are beginning to realize, albeit slowly, that their children need to learn something in order to have a better life in the future, compared to their own.
Meanwhile, the school administration in Kumbu intends to extend the school to a 10+2 school, similar to the school in Bhandar. This would relieve specifically Bhandar's high school. The school in Upper Khastali includes an 8th grade since 2008, and is intent on leading up to grade 10 in the near future. We have already financed the additional classrooms, but emphasized that we cannot be expected to finance the additionally required teachers as well. We consider it untenable to enhance the dependence of school operations on our support any further; we'd rather aim for its reduction in the midterm.
Due to our financing of exercise books and pencils/Biros, there are no more pupils who fail to attend school because of lack of school material (as it used to happen in the past). The consumption of exercise books and pens for over 1,000 pupils amounts to annually 10,000 to 12,000 pieces.