BIG NAME BUT POOR SHOW

Sun was burning hard and nearby the school was not a single place or tree where we could avoid scorching sunlight— then we requested the school security guard to allow us to sit inside the school premises; but the security guard blatantly refused—our request fell on his deaf ears

By LB THAPA in Biratnagar FOR THE ROAMING POST

The other day I had an opportunity to go to Biratnagar with my SAT students. However, Biratnagar was not our first choice. Our first choice was of course Kathmandu and it was much nearer than Biratnagar. We had about 60 SAT students at our institute in Pokhara. Majority of the students got registered for Kathmandu, but about 23 students could not…they were late.

Taking a photograph with the Chinese student Lu Wei and her mother. LB Thapa/The Roaming Post

The students’ parents were not happy when they came to know that their sons and daughters had to travel about 520km to Biratnagar for the exam. But we did not have other option except going to Biratnagar. We convinced the parents for the safety and security of their wards. The institute reserved a bus and there were two teachers with the students. Amrit Sensai, the Japanese Language teacher and I the SAT English instructor.

The road from Mugling until Narayan Ghat was a real hell. The road was so bumpy that we were much worried about the students. But energetic and enthusiastic students began playing nonstop ‘Antakshri’ (a spoken parlor game where each contestant sings the first verse of a Nepali or Hindi movie song that begins with the consonant on which the previous contestant’s song selection ended).

Chinese student Lu Wei and her mother. LBThapa/The Roaming Post

They continued singing till they exhausted. After dinner once again they started ‘Antakshri’ till 1 am. It was morning about 5am when we reached Biratnagar. The hot air and clouds of dust welcomed us at the roadside. We had not booked a hotel before. We thought that finding a hotel in a city one like Biratnagar should not be a big task. But we were wrong. Only after spending about two hours, we could manage a hotel. Its name was Hotel Pacific.

Students stand across the busy road with no traffic management. LBThapa/The Roaming Post

Amrit Sensai had a talk with the manager of the Hotel Pacific. We wanted all air-conditioned rooms for our students. The hotel was virtually empty but the manager did refuse to compromise at Rs.300 rupees that we wanted discount. When the manager remained adamant we left the hotel and began searching another hotel. In the meantime, Amrit Sensai did contact a friend of him in Biratnagar and asked him to manage one hotel for us where about 25 students could be accommodated in air-conditioned rooms. To our surprise, the person did recommend us Hotel Pacific. We told him about our conversation with the manager that how he refused to compromise for Rs.300. Then the man immediately talked with the owner of the hotel. The owner of the hotel was a gentleman. Nabaraj Bista, the owner of the hotel, immediately invited us to his hotel and assured for every comfort. When we reached the hotel the manager’s face was solemn. We understood. The manager must have received a heavy dose of lecture from his boss.

The foods served in the hotel were excellent. They were delicious and hygienic as well. But I realized that the waiters would invariably turn obedient in the presence of the owner of the hotel and vice versa. One time, I called a waiter and asked him to take the order from each student as they like. But to my dismay, the waiter told me that I should take the order from each student and then handover the list to him instead. It was disgusting indeed. I did not feel it good and wanted to speak with Mr. Bista. I was lucky as I met Mr.Bista right at the reception counter. When I requested him to ask a waiter to take the order from the students, he immediately called the same waiter and asked him to take order from each student. The waiter threw a menacing glance at me and began taking order from the students.

Going for the SAT test at Eurokids Nepal Higher Secondary School

One day before the exam, we had already visited the test center. So, there was no problem for us to reach the exam center the next day. In the registration paper the test beginning time was 7.45 am, but the exam could start at 9 am only. As we spent more time at the gate of the school, gradually mismanagement and irresponsibility of the school management began exposing.

There were scores of students both boys and girls who reached there to take exam from different parts of the country. Besides Nepali students there were about four or five Chinese students as well. They had come all the way from China to Biratnagar to attend the SAT exam. However, at the exam venue there was no security at all. Not a single policeman was stationed for the safety and security of the students. Is it not CDO’s duty to deploy at least two policemen for the safety and security of Nepali and Chinese students? But sorry, the administration did not think it necessary.

Eurokids Nepal Higher Secondary School blows its own trumpet through their official website for conducting several test examinations. The school has also eulogizes itself for being the best education center in the region. I will not make any comment whether this school is number one academic institution or not in the region, but I will definitely talk about other things which I witnessed there.

As I observed a few simple things, I found the school was not being able to do even few small things. Then how we can trust about other fabulous declarations the school has made through its website.

The School showed no concern with parents who came from different cities and as far as China!

Right before the examination, the SAT students stood in a long queue across the road. There was no one to manage the queue and everything was hotchpotch. The school security guard was busy inside the school premises. We were asked to report at 7.45 am but it was 8.30 am and the students were still in a queue, under the blistering sunlight and nasty dust. I asked the school staff at the gate that when the exam would begin; his answer was ‘soon’. Every time I asked him but his answer was always ‘soon’.

There assembled many boys and girls who came from different parts of the country to take the SAT exam. Not only Nepali students but were there about six Chinese students as well. I met one Chinese student Lu Wei and her mother. Lu Wei told me that her four friends were in the queue. From Lu Wei I came to know that there was one more parent.

A huge crowd of students was there but there was not deployed a single policeman for the safety and security of those students. Is it not our responsibility to take care of foreign students and their parents?

The blogger with Amrit Sensai in Biratnagar. The Roaming Post

When students got into the school gate, many parents got relieved. Sun was burning hard and showed no mercy upon anyone. Nearby the school was not a single place or tree where we could dodge scorching sunlight. Then we requested the school security guard to allow us to sit inside the school premises. But the security guard blatantly refused. Our request fell on his deaf ears. We had the parents of two students. They did not want to go to hotel to stay there, nor did we. I looked around and nearby saw Nepal Telecom building. I requested to a security guard on duty who allowed us to sit inside the office premises. I looked around for those two Chinese parents, who were also looking for a shelter to avoid sweltering heat; but I could not find them.

It is my humble request with the school authority that at least they should allow the parents and guardians of the examinees to sit somewhere inside the school premises. As there reach many students from different parts of the country to take exam, the school management must inform the CDO and manage policemen for the safety and security of the students. Will the school consider these matters and improve things in future ?

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

LB Thapa is a travel blogger. He is also the author of six books. His books have been published by Nirala Publications, New Delhi, India and Himalayan Maphouse, Kathmandu, Nepal. His book, POKHARA AND ANNAPURNAS has been translated into seven foreign languages. LB Thapa’s books are available on www.amazon.com

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