Lonely 'Satyagrahi'

Kathmandu -  Dr. Govinda KC's'Satyagraha' approaching 3rd week and his health is deteriorating and the government is indifferent to his demands. After the pressure from various groups and the public,the Government team reached the teaching hospital to meet Dr. KC and Dr. KC asked them to come for talks after forming the negotiating committee. This is the most covered issue of the week. Other news followed by it isabout the physical opening of public schools and uncertainties and innovation in conducting exams at different levels.

The Government urged Dr. KC to withdraw his hunger strike asthe demands have been met and some are in the process of being fulfilled, the media reported. Different bodies of the Government are evading Dr. KC's demand making an excuse that it is 'not under our purview', the news reported.

In his support residential doctors, youth groups, rights activists, artists and other citizens have started agitation, according to the news. The news also stated that the movement is unlikely to rest until the Government met the demands of Dr. KC.

Former President Yadav and Former PM Dr.Bhattaraihave met Dr. KC in TUTH and appealed the Government to meet his demands, the news stated. Leader of the main opposition party, the ruling party and other small parties and Civil Society members were reported urging the Government to hold talks and take necessary steps to save Dr. KC’s life. An Editorial also asked the Government to communicate to Dr. KC.22-minute sit-in by Nepali Congress on the 22nd day of ‘Satyagraha’ was also reported.

If we look at the trend of 'Satyagraha', we can sense the lack of serious support on the cause. Instead there are different groups (especially Political Parties) for their own interest, except few. Every-one showed their solidarity but no-one joined 'Satyagraha' with Dr. KC.Even though the Media and Social Media are going wild on this issue, the public are not that much concern and caring about the Six Demands and its role on ensuring the access on quality health services for every citizen by reforming Medical Education. These scenarios have helped the Government for making excuses. The media has played their part very well and now it's on us.

Reports of schools opening up in different parts of Nepal under the directive of the Local Government were frequently covered this week. The concerns among parents, teachers and students of COVID-19 infection after resuming regular classes continued this week as well.  Different policies and decisions at the Central and Local levels have confused the operation of schools, stated the media. The Federal Government and its subordinate bodies have stated in their deliberation that the school cannot be reopened immediately. Minister for Education was quoted stating that it would be too early to run classes physically, citing the existing Pandemic risk requesting schools to not run classes physically. News about schools shutting down again after the cases of infection rose in Likhu RM was also reported in the media and the DAO directed not to open schools in Dolakha was also reported in the news.

However, the Chandragiri Municipality, Kathmandu reported opening school in the Municipality. According to the Principal of Prabhat Secondary School, the students were compelled to attend the school as they didn’t see the possibility of online classes. The news reported that the biannual examination was completed in Limi,Namkha RM-6 of Humla in spite of Pandemic.

Fig: Grade 3 classes running with Covid precautions, in Chandragiri Municipality, Kathmandu after the Municipality committed free treatment to personnel in case of Covid infection. 30 Sep-2020 _Kantipur Daily

Initially, media had reported students gradually returning to schools after 6 months in different regions as school opened in Kavre, West Rukum,Khotang, Siraha, Surkhet, Kalikot, Sindhupalchowk, Mahottari, Tanahun, Nawalpur, Lamjung, Baglungand other districtsby following all the safety measures for Pandemic.

The Kushe RM of Jajarkot has started ‘homeschooling’ with the help of an educated member of the family, reported in the media.The news stated that in Chitwan, students from class 6 and above are being taught through virtual classrooms and students up to 5 are be being taught near home in small numbers.

A blog was reported stating that the Government should let the schools open in Himalayan region where there is no COVID-19 case and they are under pressure to complete the academic year before the cold starts.

Although various options have been recommended for conducting the grade 12 examination by NEB to the Cabinet through MoEST, the media reported that the Cabinet has delayed the decision. 

Appointment of VCs for the Gandaki University and the Pokhara University was reported in the media. Selection of Registrar for Mid-Western University through open competition among 19 applicants was reported in the news. It also reported that this was the first time in history of Nepal's Universities that a registrar has been appointed through open competition. 

The TU in the Media: M.Phil.Students of the Faculty of Education, TU need to fill up the examination form by October 16;the Office of the Controller of Examinations, TU (OCE)closed for two days due to COVID-19 infection in staffs of OCE; the Special Court fined and imprisoned three people for buying and selling TU's gold medals; Associate Professor at the Central Department of Sociology, TU attacked and seriously injured.

Other news in the media included: Sindhuli private schools decided to waive five moths fee for students; Associate Professor of Institute of Forestry, Pokhara Campus received 50,000 Dollars in UNESCO Fellowship; Canopy Nepal teaching school children to tell and write stories; Part-Time Professors of PN Campus protested demanding equal pay for equal work; New Delhi, India schools to remain closed till October 31; person who was teacher before Pandemic has now become carpenter; crowd every day to take NOC in Keshar Mahal; Bharatpur Metropolitan City distributed bicycles to 135 female students in 5 wards under the Mayor Program with Women at Risk; all education institution in Pakistan that were closed due to Pandemic have started functioning.

'Education this Week' is a joint effort to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print and online media published in Kathmandu. This week, reports included online portals SetoPati, NayaPatrika and My Republica. 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 online news portal SetoPati, NayaPatrika and My Republica between 30 September- 6 October, 2020 (14-20 Ashoj, 2077) - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali : एक्ला सत्याग्रही