Government Irresponsible in Education

Kathmandu - This week the most covered and followed news was follow-up reports, letters and editorials about the abduction and murder of a school Headmaster. Other news, opinions and editorials was around High-Level National Education Commission Report, Politics in Education, School Education, Higher Education, Teachers, International Education, Inclusion and Access in Education and many more.

The murder of the headmaster of Saraswati Basic School in Miklajung RM, Morang District caused a media sensation. The National Human Rights Commission was reported issuing a statement on Wednesday urging the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal not to arrest and torture anyone on the basis of their thoughts, beliefs and suspicions. The Home Minister was also reported calling a Central Security Committee meeting which is a sign of instability. Teacher's Unity for Right and Responsibility and Nepal Teachers Association have requested teachers across the country to join the nationwide agitation, if the murderers are not brought to justice.  Editorials were dedicated to the murder of school headmaster, stating that it was repetition of the practice where Maoist and State both took action against teachers and use them by different Political Parties in national politics. There were multiple news reports reporting the state of fear and anxiety the incident has caused among all peoples and mainly teachers throughout the Nation.

More news about the teachers were; 8 teachers of Nepal National Secondary School in Kapurkot RM-4 of Salyan district and 17 teachers in Surkhet district contracted COVID infection, a school teacher filed sexual abuse case against headmaster in Kapilbastu district, a teacher of Chandra Namuna Higher Secondary School (Technical) in Siraha district was given compulsory leave after it was revealed that he was teaching more than age limit by making four citizenships of the same number on different birth dates and TU part-time teachers threaten to boycott classes demanding payment on par with assistant professors besides other facilities. An op-ed was reported stating that TUSC system strongly favors candidates, who are good at the traditional time-bound written examination which is the reason for only few candidates qualifying the TUSC written exam for lecturers.

The Government was reported cutting ties with two NGOs (National Campaign for Education and Global Action Nepal) who published the High Level National Education Commission Report-2075. Members of the Commission who were dissatisfied with the Government decision were reported urging the Government to take action against members for publishing and the Government officials in Commission's Secretariat for putting the national emblem and MoEST name in PDF file of the report instead of two NGOs. An editorial dedicated to the Commission's Report called on the Government to publish the document officially. The MoEST has accused the two NGOs of copyright infringement for illegally using the national emblem and the ministry name without government consent. The Government was also reported not able to implement National Curriculum Framework due to lack of decision by SC in the writ filed in SC which has affected millions of students. It has been claimed in the writ that the CDC has drafted the curriculum by violating its jurisdiction and the rights of the Municipals have been taken away. An op-ed stated that Pandemic period could have been best utilized to bring innovation in teaching and learning but in Nepal, both the court and the government are flagrantly playing with future of children, without the slightest compunction.

With the Government's permission to open schools, schools have started operating in full swing across the country. However, the Ministry of Health was reported stating the haste is fatal. Similarly, community schools of Karmarong RM, Mugu district will also be operational during winter vacations as reported in the media. The news also reported that the students had to study in harsh winters in Mountain Districts.

Amidst Pandemic, closure of schools due to raising COVID cases and confusion in school operation after seeing COVID infection in teachers was also reported in the news. The news reported that schools in Shuklaphanta Municipality have been closed for 10 days due to the spread of COVID in the locality. Furthermore, the news reported that COVID infected education officer of Nepalgunj Sub-Metropolis, Banke district died in Bheri Hospital.

Inclusion and access in education is also major challenge in our country. Students' four hour journey for four hour class in Kutechaur Secondary School, Tulsipur district and students from ECD to grade 5 of Shankar Secondary School in Triveni RM-1, Kalikot district forced to study in the open yard as there is no provision of benches and desks in the classrooms was reported in the news. There were some good attempts to build a well-equipped hostel for Chepang girls in Gajuri RM, Dhading to ensure better school enrollments in Chepang Community and new residential school run by Hem Secondary School in Dhaulagiri RM, Myagdi district for the students who have to make long hours journey to reach the school, reported in the news. 

Other news of the week are: Tilottama Municipality in Rupandehi implemented a local curriculum aiming to inform the students about the overall condition of the city; Commencement of experimental classes of Chemistry and Geology in TU central departments; Construction of Madan Bhandari Technical University started in Thaha Municipality, Makwanpur; SC rejected the writ of habeas corpus filed by former president of Nepal Engineering College in Bhaktapur against the police in Nepal Engineering College fraud case; Only 83 students to be present at TU convocation; 10th senate of Mid-western University held in Kathmandu; NIC fined TU's Head of Education Rs. 5000 for destroying the answer papers of the Master Degree 1st semester of 'Quantum Mechanics' subject of Physics at the Institute of Science and Technology, TU; Nepali students who came home due to COVID couldn’t return to China as China cancelled their visas; An online platform 'Sajha Kitab' made by a 21 years old youth to buy and sell old books for students; Two-day virtual conference of SAARC UGC found the virtual class in Sri Lanka as the most effective among SAARC countries; A Nepali girl secured full-scholarship to study in Switzerland's Aiglon College for four years.

Abbreviations: COVID- Corona Virus Disease, RM- Rural Municipality, TU- Tribhuvan University, MoEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, TUSC- Tribhuvan University Service Commission, NGOs- Non-Governmental Organizations, TUSC- Tribhuvan University Service Commission, CDC: Curriculum Development Centre, ECD- Early Childhood Development, PDF: Portable Document Format, UGC- University Grants Commission, NIC: National Information Commission, SAARC- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, SC- Supreme Court

'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. 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 9-15 December, 2020 (24-30 Mangsir, 2077) - Editor. 

Read this analysis in Nepali : शिक्षामा सरकार गैह्र जिम्मेवार