Schools in Himalayan Region Disrupted for Three Weeks

  June 10, 2024 By: INSEC

Despite the Yarsagumba Management Guideline-2016 prohibiting children without citizenship from collecting yarsagumba, children in the Himalayan region are accompanying their parents to collect yarsagumba. Consequently, classes in local schools have been interrupted for three weeks as the children have stopped attending school.

According to the Api Nampa Conservation Area Office, schools in the Himalayan region are halted because teachers and children, along with their parents, go to high altitudes every year to collect yarsagumba.

Gobardhansingh Dhami, the principal of Saraswati Basic School in Apihimal Rural Municipality-4, stated that all 24 community schools in Apihimal have been closed since May. He mentioned that a 20-day holiday was given, but since the students have not yet returned from the yarsagumba collection, the schools couldn’t re-operate. The school management committee had granted the leave, reducing it from the usual 45-day leave allocated for the current academic session. Because Yarsagumba is the main source of income, schools are closed every year during this season.

Madan Raj Joshi, Technical Assistant at the Education Department of Apihimal Rural Municipality, explained that the school reopened, but due to the students’ absence, the decision was made to temporarily close it, utilizing days from the rainy season holidays. He added that they cannot just decide to open the school on their own as the school has been closed with the consent of all the parents.

In the past, the local level government used to decide on the closure of schools during the Yarsagumba collection season. However, starting this year, the authority to determine school closures or openings of the school during Yarsagumba collection has been delegated to the school management committees.

Similarly, Principal Dhami explains that students are expected to arrive only in the last week of this month to reopen the school. However, he emphasizes that if the students do not return on time, it will be difficult to proceed with teaching under such circumstances.

Likewise, Gagan Singh Lothyal, a local, said that most of the villages in Apihimal Rural Municipality are empty as most of the adults along with children went to collect yarsagumba. Only elderly citizens are here watching over the houses.

Indrasingh Nagari, the information officer of the Api-Nampa Conservation Area, mentioned that although there is a provision requiring yarsagumba collectors to obtain a permit, it has not been fully implemented. Consequently, children are also participating in the yarsagumba collection, which goes against the law.


Narendra Singh Karki