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Back to class a year after quake
- North Sikkim’s oldest private institution gets classrooms, studies to begin today

Gangtok, Sept. 7: North Sikkim’s oldest private school that was flattened during the September 18 earthquake last year will start holding classes tomorrow.

Ideal Nursery School, which taught from nursery to Class IV, was a building with three rooms.

After the quake, a little over a year back, it barely had a wall.

With the effort of local people, NGOs and the administration, a building with two classrooms has has emerged from the debris.

Gangtok-based NGO, Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS), the school management, and Pan IIT, an association of IIT alumni, sat together in May to discuss reconstruction options for the school. The school authorities today thanked the ECOSS and Matrix Clothing, a local company, for providing Rs 3 lakh.

The amount was spent on constructing the two classrooms, a small office, a washroom and another room to store things. The new building is believed to have earthquake-resistant features.

The new structure was inaugurated by North district collector T.W. Khangsarpa yesterday.

After the two-room concrete school building collapsed in the earthquake that measured 6.8 on the Richter scale — its epicentre was Mangan where the school is located — the then district collector T.N. Kazi had promised a bamboo structure for holding classes.

But till now, the 60 students were being taught in tents.

“Classes used to be held in tents provided by local NGOs. Local people donated water purifiers, buckets and other items to run the school,” said Pema Tenzing, the principal.

Ideal Nursery was set up in 1982 and since then, S.M. Tenzing, is its management head. Students came here to study from Mangan and the surrounding areas.

The monthly tuition fees range from Rs 150-200 for each student. “It is the oldest private school in North Sikkim and aims to provide basic education to children,” said the principal.

The tremors had claimed over 60 lives in Sikkim.

Pema added that the new building was built at a cost of over Rs 3 lakh. He said the students could study all these months only because of the help extended by local people.

The principal said local people and government officials contributed by donating money and providing free labour. The Mangan Nagar panchayat had donated Rs 25,000, he said.

The Lachen-Mangshila MLA Tshering Wangdi provided 60 sheets of pre-painted GCI roof sheets through a rural development and housing scheme, Pema said.