Agreement with Teachers, Innovative Local Efforts

This week the most followed stories were the protest by Relief quota teachers and Early Child Development Teachers to ensure safe and easy transmission to permanent position among other demands, that was followed by an agreement with the ministry which there were many voices raised against such treaty. As the case of corruption against the management officials of Gandaki Medical College was filed by students in police station and court, the long ongoing students strike on irregularities took a different historic turn while multiple other irregularity cases of medical education institutions was also highlighted by the media . Different stories of municipalities taking innovative efforts to improve public schools continued to be covered this week as well. 
- Working relief quota teachers and Early Child Development Centre teachers continued their strikestating case of discrimination by the government in relation to the facilities the government provided to the temporary teachers by the last government. Some news about teachers shutting down schools stating police had intervened in their peaceful protest also was covered in media. Classes were halted in the community schools as media reported ninety thousand teachers from around Nepal participated in the protest rejecting to go to schools. The strike came to an halt after the ministry did an agreement with agitating teachers to consider formation of an standard to make relief and ECD teachers permanent through Education Act. The teachers were against the previous provision to include only 20% of the position by internal competition while 80% would be filled by open competition. The provision has been agreed to be removed. 
There were multiple ‘letters to the editor’ on behalf of the teachers demands and also against it. One of the letter to the editor stated that such treaties by the government to ensure permanent positions for teachers without transparent and open competition was one of the major reason that has caused gradual decline in the reputation of the teaching profession. It called for a transparent and open procedure for teacher’s appointment to ensure, irregularities in appointment of teachers takes place in future. Voice of the student unions of the ruling party in the matter against the teachers demand, calling in for open competition for teacher’s position to ensure quality in public schools was an important step in the matter. Students unions have spoken for the sake of overall welfare of public schools in general and taken an stand on behalf of the students of public schools. On the other hand, lack of any response in the matter from the parents association, or national school management committees should also be noted. 
- Money laundering case against Gandaki Medical College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre Management team and the following events was another most covered matter this week. Out of ten college management panel members against who the students had filed a complain in police station, two of them were arrested over fraud case.In the same time, this week Federal Parliament's Education and Health Committee has recommended the government to take action against officials of Rapti Academy of Health Science. The institution has reached to the point of closure of all its services due to irregularities in making important decisions by the VC and other officials. The committee recommendeda umbrella policy for operation of all Health Science Academy of the country.
The police action in this long held strike by medical students in the matter of unfair and irregular fee hike against government policy was a new turn in the case of medical education sector. It has already set an example of how students can directly challenge any academic institutions in the court or complain to the police in any case of fraud and illegal activities by any institution. Multiple other reports of malpractices by medical education institution were also reported in the media.  
- A small health survey by KI Singh rural municipality,Doti that found that students of public schools have weak heath status was reported in media. It was identified that 18% students had issues ofmalnutrition while 50% where prone to malnutrition. The news was also highlighted by an editorial ‘Health for Education’ in Kantipur on the following day. Editorial stated that the result of that small survey in two schools by KI Singh rural municipality is important and should be noted by the policy makers and government officials of all levels. It was estimated that the lack good health and access to nutritious food could be one of the reason for highdropout level in primary level particularly in rural areas.Child Friendly School National Policy 2067 also stated health, security and protection as factor for child friendly environment which recommend biannual student health checkup and personal health data base of students.
The report directly correlates school and education to the overall health and wellbeing of the community through schools. Such correlating matters in media can help bring education and schools at the center of other socio-economic development policies. The articles discussed on how such approach can aware parents and address issues of health and hygiene timely for families and also for the entire community. Such frequent health survey could help identify the environmental status of the environment outside of school premise, and state of health post and other public infrastructures. 
- It was reported this week that new curriculum for school level will be experimented in 100 schools in the upcoming year. Curriculum Development Center was reported to bepreparing to implement new curriculum of class 1 to 11 from year 2077 only. Class eleven and twelve will have sevendifferent subjects in the new curriculum against only five subjects at the moment. Class 1 to class 3 will have integrated curriculum. Nepali, English, Social Studies, Life Skill Education will be 4 compulsory subjects in class 11 and 12 with three additional optional subjects. 
- Divers innovative approaches by different municipalities became a continued matter of news this week. Some municipalities including Suryodaya Municipality, Illam had installed digital attendance in some public schools for direct monitoring by the municipality to ensure regular attendance in schools. The media reported that elected representatives are regularly assessing schools, resulting in better performances of public schools. Phaktanglung rural municipality, Taplejung was reported to have formed education act, and merged schools and mobilized teachers based on the act. It also had built hostel facilitiesfor students from region away from schools based on the education act formed. Sirijangha rural municipality (Taplejung) mayor personally assessed schools to ensure the teachers’ attendance is done sincerely. Report of some mayors who succeeded in forcing long time absent teachers to resign from position to appoints new teacher was also reported this week. While, some municipality had blocked the salary of irregular teachers and have been regularly assessing the attendance sheets of teachers in public schools. Maijogmai rural municipality, Illam has made it compulsory for governmental staffs to educatetheir children in public school while some municipalities havebought school bus to ensure access to education. Birtamod municipality, Jhapa has conducted public education assessment forming a procedure to identify priorities for intervention in public education and had also awarded best identified schools. Many municipalities have been reported to have dedicated 5 to 9 % of internal tax collection to education improvement programs.Katahari rural municipality Morang has converted all 19 public schools into English medium while Kirtipur municipality has formed strategy and mobilized volunteer teachers in public schools.
Media coverage of different approaches taken by the local government can be of inspiration for other municipalities. The results of such innovative approaches can be helpful for different government agencies to make better decisions in the future. In the same time, the range of diverse approaches has also created a more hopeful picture about the future of public schools.
'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s print media published in Kathmandu. The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news.This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP) , has produced this analysis based on the news printed in Kantipur (Nepali) and The Himalayan Times (English), Dailies, Himal Weekly(Nepali) and online portal)between March 6-12, 2019 (Falgun 22-28, 2075) - Editor.
Read last week’s analysis : Contests around Education