Kathmandu - The entire week different incident and development of scenarios in students protest against medical colleges demanding return of extra unlawful fees and one after another unlawful acts by medical college operators were reported with priority in the media. College operators were reported threating the students by death, and manhandling them and denying them access to hostel as well. While end of week covered news of action taken by the government to begin case of fraud against the institution, the attempt of the education ministry to coordinate with the institutions into agreement was noted in the media as an effort of the government to protect the private operators.Nepal Law Campus announced to enroll only 300 students in LLB from this year. This year TU fixed limited seat for all Law program depending on the resource capacity of colleges to ensure quality. Students will have to face entrance exam to go through selection procedure from this year. Some news of active SMC members also made it in the news this week.
Abbreviations: MoEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, TU- Tribhuwan University, IOM- Institute of Medicine, TUSC-TU Service Commission, KD-Kantipur Daily, THT- The Himalayan Times, PM- Prime Minister, CTEVT-Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training, KMC- Kathmandu Metropolitan City, SMC- School Management Committee
- This week students filed a write petition against the ministry, and medical institutions including Nepalese Army institute of health sciences, seeking stay order of the scholarship results published by the ministry, demanding that the provision of 75% scholarship as stipulated by the law be made mandatory in all state funded medical colleges. Students at Chitwan Medical College have renewed their call for refunding the extra fee charged by the college. Loaded pistol was found on CMC premises as is under investigation. Four medical college were shutdown entire week whileprotesting students where threatened to be burned alive and news of students beaten up where also reported in the media. At one point the government has decided to take action against medical colleges that refuse to return the extra fees taken from students. A meeting held at the Ministry of Home Affairs had decided to take stern action against medical colleges if they failed to return the money taken from students by November 26.Earlierthe government had repeatedly given ultimatums to medical colleges to return the extra fees. As parents as well came to the street for protest against medical colleges, and government started action procedure, colleges accepted to cooperate with extra fee arrangements. Media received letters stating the government had played active role to protect the corrupt, outlaw actors by not taking action against the operators.
- This week there where two news that mentioned active role of SMCs in schools. In one news from Dhankuta, SMC where reported coordinating fund strategy for financing salaries of local teachers. Another news was about a group led by former chairpersons of the School Management Committee of Secondary School at Bishnupur Rural Municipality, Saptari. Ithas been staging a relay hunger strike at the school with its a six-point demand. The strikers have accused the school Principal of dilly-dallying in making public the income and expenses of the educational institute despite frequent requests of the public. Similarly, they have demanded that the school call a guardians’ meeting at the earliest, make transparent the teacher selection process and implement the decisions taken by the majority members of the school management committee.
The present national federation of SMC appear absent in the scene. While such active participation of SMC members is highlights the importance of its role, lack of coordination and communication among SMC members should be noted here.
- Nepal Telecommunication Authority will provide free internet facility for all community and government schools in the five eastern districts of the country. It will be provided to 959 schools, health organizations, municipalities and ward offices.
This will ensure accessibility to management technology and scope of relevant education for students of this reason. The news fails to inform if there is any strategy to ensure effective use of the facility in schools. In lack of any guiding strategy on use of it, there is high change of misuse or no use at all.
- The eighth amendment of the Education Act, 2016 has envisioned replacing stream-based education system with single-track curriculum in Grades IX and XII. The CDC has claimed that the curriculum from Grade I to XII will be fully implemented by the academic year 2023. Life Skills subject will include topics such as decision making, problem solving and intra-personal communication strategies, among others. Nepali subject which was a compulsory subject for only Grade XI till now will be compulsory even in Grade XII. Apart from three compulsory subjects, students are required to study three other subjects as per their interests. Unlike, stream-based educations, students can now study any subject they wish from all streams such as humanities, science, arts and law, among others.
- Student youth wing of the ruling political party manhandled Trichandra college principal for hiking fees. Reports of manhandling of teachers by party unions, under the name of student’s group have been reported after a while. The news of political groups manhandling personals have increased post-election after the ruling party gained majority. Such incident is barely taken with sincerity by the security personals or the media, due to its long history.
- News about only 100 days a year in school in Upper Dolpa schools was reported again. Schools are shut for longer period due to harsh winter, seasonal migrationand Yarsha season in this region. School reported to build calendar based on this context or available days and the elected representative claimed the average score of student are similar to rest of the nation.
The coverage of school functions in this region has mostly been negative. The contextual reality of the geography and the economic context are mostly ignored by reporters mentioning the failure of the schools and the society as a whole for not being able to catch-up to the national standard of school operation. Discourse on building a holistic synchronization of schooling systems to the local realities would be a needed approach of observation.
'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected 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 andHimal Weekly(Nepali) between Nov 20-26, 2019 (Mansir 4-10, 2076)- Editor.