Bhaktapur - Ward Chairmen of various municipalities have expressed concern saying that the quality of public education in the country is failing. The ward chairmen are the ex-officio members of the school management committees. They have argued that they reach conclusion about the eroding quality of education after attending different meetings in their official capacities.
They say they have discovered various problems in public schools in their wards. “We feel government school in our wards are surrounded by problems and are failing.”
Ward chairman of ward no. of 8 of the Changunaryan Municipality in Bhakatpur Parashar Spakota says he is not satisfied with the quality of public education. “There are many problems, Teachers, school management committee, principals and government all are responsible for these problems,” he added.
Shivahari KC, the chairman of ward number 2 agrees with Sapkota’s view. He says the investment from government in public schools is not yielding desired outcomes. He says teachers are just imparting education in formal ways and that has hampered the quality of public education. “Teachers are not serious about their main responsibility. In such a situation, how can we improve quality of education?”
Ganesh Tyat, the chairperson of Changunarayan 9, says the private schools are taking advantage of poor policies of the government and fulfilling their business interests. He said the government should reconsider its education policy to rescue the public schools from further failure. The local governments cannot improve the quality of education in the existing situation, he adds.
“We are yet to increase the investment of parents in education. There are no sufficient teachers and students in many schools. In many schools, majority of teachers are old and there is strong resistance from them to appoint new ones. We have challenges on every step.”
Ward Chairpersons of the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality Indrabahadur Prajapati and Krishnakumar Prajapati also agree that the quality of public education is eroding at a rapid pace. They say that growing attraction of students and parents to private schools is deviating interest to resolve the problems of public schools.
“There are no students at public schools. Teachers have tendency to just register their attendance and collect salaries,” says Ramkumar Joshi, the ward chairperson of Suryabinayak Municipality ward no. 5. He said an effort to merge two schools located at his ward was by opposed by teachers. He further states that the municipality is trying hard to finance education from local resources.
Kiran Thapa, the chairperson of the ward no.8 of the same municipality says the public schools have adequate physical infrastructures. He argues that school management authorities and officials like the headmasters and teachers lack vision to improve the quality of education.
(This report was aired in the radio programme Hamro Sikshya. Please listen the full programme here: Educational Rights of Local governments and plans of the ward chairperson.)