Federal government against the spirit of Federalism

Kathmandu - Diverse news reports and opinion articles this week discussed topics from President’s office and federal government’s final say in selection of school improvement programs to warning from medical students to restart new protest programs. There was news about graduate level courses in different foreign languages by TU. Opinion articles discussed about the relevance of Student politics, the significance of mathematics to ensure prosperity. Parents of medical students had declared to not pay additional fees to Nobel Medical College and made it in the media 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, VC- Vice Chancellor

-    This week the government was reported to have decided to actively involve the office of the president of Nepal in the selection procedure of Public School Improvement Program. The news reported that the Federal government and the Office of the President were planning the implementation of President’s Education Improvement Program Implementation Procedure without assessment of Schools. Though the constitution has given the authority of school level education to the local government, the cabinet of ministers had agreed on a procedure through which the federal government would have the final say on the selection of programs for school improvement and the local government would be involved only in implementation of the programs. An education expert was quoted stating that the President, Prime Minister, and Education Minister where against the spirit of decentralization and federalism, further stating that Education Policy and Higher Education Act were also against the spirit of Federalism.

-    An opinion article discussed about the recent Nobel Prize winners who got the recognition for their work related to education in India. The article discussed about the approached taken by the winners where simpler minor reforms done with sincerity in education sector where tested to evaluate their predictable impact in learning and elevation of poverty through Controlled Trial method used in Medical Science Sector. Their experiments had proven that the focus on the weak students while investing in education could have the most efficient outcomes. The researched had concluded that the teachers fail to focus on weak students as a reflection of the social construct of parents who believe in learning outcome based on exam result then a continued process. The article further states that private schools play exam result based teaching well and therefore are popular among parents. The writer concludes that reforms in exam procedure, assessment methodology by valuing analysis of the status of weaker students while reviewing teacher’s performance could bring teachers attention more towards weaker students.

A well documented before and after assessments among students and school performance could build valuable information to analyses the impact of experimental interventions lead by local governments. A wide range of experimental interventions by municipalities are being regularly reported in the media.

-    Medical students have warned they will launch a fresh protest if the government fails to take action against medical colleges charging extra fees from students. Staging a protest in the Medical Education Commission this week, the students said the colleges were overcharging students as they were being enrolled. 'The Medical Education Commission should resolve the issue soon or we will come up with fresh protests', Spokesperson of Medical Education Struggle Committee was quoted. Announcement by Kathmandu Medical College to charge fees to students based on the government standard was also reported in separate news this week.

-    Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation was reported stating the government would expand technical education across the country considering the increasing number of students opting for it. She stated there was no possibility for bringing in drastic changes in the country without skilled and capable human resources.

-    Jagannath Rural Municipality of Bajura adopted a new practice to improve the quality of school education in the municipality. The rural municipality started a cross check system for regular attendance of students and effective teaching learning activities through attendance cards. Chief Administrative Officer of the rural municipality had stated a monitoring team was deployed to inspect attendance record of students and teaching learning activities at schools. He added the new practice was introduced as concerned school management committees could not improve quality of education. The new practice is to point out weaknesses in school education to deliver expected outcome as per investment in schools. He added the rural municipality was planning to reduce facilities to those students who did not attend school on a regular basis.

-    An opinion article on relevance of student politics written by an student leader close to the ruling party claimed full support of student unions and youth wing of political parties in the medial student’s protest against extra charged fees by private medical colleges. The opinion article ended with the declaration of the upcoming Independent Students’ Union Election and call for all student unions to engage in its preparation.

-    Bagmati Province Chief Minister blamed lack of seriousness on part of the teachers for poor quality of education in community schools. He was reported stating teachers are mostly focused on salaries then their responsibility. If the teachers in community schools were to be serious, these schools would be able to compete with private schools. Education should not be treated as business but should be treated as divine source of knowledge stated the news report, quoting other government officials in the inauguration program of a school building.

'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 and Himal Weekly(Nepali) between Jan 29- Feb 4, 2020 (Magh 15-21, 2076) - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali :  शिक्षाका सवालमा संघीयताको मर्म विपरीत संघीय सरकार

Read last week’s analysis : The Sorry State of Universities

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