We have decided from our very first meeting that we would equip the public schools with all necessary physical logistics. We would increase our vigilance to ensure that teachers of public schools are duty bound. In addition to this, we would also try to develop a feeling that public schools are more important than private schools. As elected representatives we will exercise our constitutional rights and work towards uplifting the tarnished image of pubic schools.
We will implement the educational rights bestowed upon us by the constitution. We would also look into our electoral commitment and focus on enhancing quality education at public schools. In our manifesto, we had stated that we would work for uplifting the standard of public schools located in all wards of the municipality. We are now working towards that end.
The public schools are substandard compared to private schools because most of their resources provided by the government are spent in salaries. There are no allocations for other required physical infrastructures. Therefore, from our very first meeting we decided that we would make public schools well equipped with physical infrastructures. We have decided to conduct meeting of ward representatives of respective schools. We have asked the relevant stakeholders to present problems with solutions. We will discuss that in our municipal council. The schools may have problems like lack of classrooms, absence of proper toilets and jam-packed classroom among others. When I thanked my voters for electing me, I told teachers that they are not like other government officials. I told them that their decision to take a day leave, would affect so many students. I also told them that they are equally qualified than teachers at private schools. I asked them why the results of the public schools are so poor. We now need to make reform from the roots and focus on bringing out the required changes.
We need to have early childhood development classes in Montessori styles. We should allow any carelessness in early grades and allow 200-300 students in a single class. We should not endorse learning by heart and encourage parents to pay special attention to their kids. We should also enforce discipline on attendance and dress code. We would increase our vigilance to ensure that teachers of public schools are duty bound. In addition to this, we would also try to develop a feeling that public schools are more important than private schools. As elected representatives we will exercise our constitutional rights and work towards uplifting the tarnished image of the public schools. We would form a team comprising teachers, representatives of the school management committee, schools and conduct discuss with them to identify their problems. We will also explore that whether we can meet the requirement of a position of secondary teacher in schools’ that are not receiving funds from the government for the same. We will also look whether we can fully fund any school or not.
We will move forward based on the guidelines of the education act. We will fully exercise the legal power provided to us. Nepal government at the moment is only sending salaries for teachers. We will discuss with them about their problems. The government has not provided adequate vacancies to school. There are no adequate teachers. Even there are no proper security guards at schools. There are more number of students but only a few teachers. The government’s decision to impose no fees at public schools has made the situation worse. There is still a trend of sending sons to private schools and daughters at community schools. The school management committee lament that their hands are tied. We have already conducted discussion on how to address temporary teachers who are hired by schools from their internal funds.
We will focus on making the community schools efficient enough to compete with the private schools. We want to operate community schools in the model of boarding schools. We want to make community schools result oriented and that can not be done after students reach grade seven or eight. We need to have a strong foundation. We can’t make false promises. We are identifying the number of schools and the type of problems they are facing. We are also calculating how many schools we can support. We are thinking about identifying source and gradually addressing the problems. We need to address the problems to ensure quality. If we can address the gap on the student’s teachers’ ratio, I believe we can make improvements on quality. Nepal government has provided salaries to teachers. They are entitled to benefits whether they do work or not. We need to discourage those trends. We want to spread a message that it is a matter of pride and honor to send children to community schools. We want teachers to realize that and make utmost contribution for uplifting the quality of community schools.
Mayor, Kageshwori Manahara Municipality, Kathmandu
This story based on radio programme entitled 'Hamro Sikshya' which discusses the opportunities and challenges in public education in the new federal setup. The programme is produced by edukhabar.com with the support of Action Aid Nepal. The radio programme can also be tuned through this link: http://www.edukhabar.com/audio/32 and also through aneroid app Edunepal.