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Schools reopen in Nepal after earthquake

Thousands of schools across the districts worst hit by the devastating earthquake in Nepal have reopened. The government has directed teachers to concentrate on group activities to help children recover from the trauma.

The Education Ministry in Nepal said schools should resume classes on Sunday only if their buildings were declared safe, following inspections by experts. The government also invited parents to inspect school buildings before sending their children to classes.

Classes are to be held in temporary classrooms if the school buildings are still considered unsafe, according to the Education Ministry.

The earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 killed more than 8,500 people, more than 22,000 were injured. According to Nepalese authorities, more than 7,800 schools were damaged by the earthquakes, affecting the studies of over 800,000 children.

It is estimated that 90 percent of schools were destroyed in the worst-hit districts of Gorkha, Sindhupalchok and Nuwakot.

Niraj Kayanstha, a teacher at Changuranayan school, east of the capital Kathmandu, told Radio Nepal that about half of her students came to school on Sunday. The government directed schools to concentrate on entertaining classes and group activities during the first days before resuming regular teaching, in order to help children recover from the trauma they suffered.

According to UNICEF, Nepal's high dropout rate was already a major concern before the devastating earthquake. Around 1.2 million Nepalese children between the age of 5 and 16 have either never attended school or have dropped out.

das/jil (AP, dpa)

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