शुक्रबार, १८ फागुन २०८०
शिक्षामा यो साता

Political turmoil over academic crisis !

शुक्रबार, २३ माघ २०७७
Kathmandu - This week news on delay of grade 12 results, students staged demonstration in Durga Bhagawati Rural Municipality, Rautahat students of grade 11 and 12 could choose between Mathematics or social studies and lifelong learning subjects, lack of sufficient furniture forcing students to attend classes sitting on the cold floor, was reported. Multiple news, editorial and letters to editor covered on present academic session dilemma. 
- News stated the result of grade 12 results has been delayed due to the teachers sending arbitrary marks. The National Examination Board has stated that the results could not be made public as per symbol numbers of exam papers did not match the registered symbols. Whereas, another news stated that the result of the grade 12 examination is better than last year. According to the National Examination Board, the results have been good as the schools have given higher marks to the students in the short and internal examinations.
- The news stated that after curriculum reform Mathematics can also be chosen as a subject in grade 11 and grade12 instead of social studies and lifelong learning subjects. By modifying the curriculum format 2076, provision has been made to choose mathematics instead of compulsory social studies and lifelong learning subjects. Earlier, English and Nepali were made compulsory subjects along with social studies and life skills education.
- A piece of news stated that students of Shivashankar Primary School of Pacharukhi, Ward 4 of Durga Bhagawati Rural Municipality chanted slogans against people’s representatives and held a sit-in at the rural municipality office for three hours. The students were reported stating that they were compelled to stage a protest after they were not provided free bags, uniforms and other education materials. It also stated that the protest was led by a guardian who complained they had not received the materials they were entitled to whereas the chairperson of the rural municipality described the demonstration as politically motivated. 
- News on lack of sufficient furniture infrastructure forcing students of Basic School located at Raghopur of Mirchaiya Municipality, Siraha to attend classes sitting on the cold floor was also reported.  An editorial article expressed that unless a school can provide the basic minimum facilities, it is going to impact the teaching-learning process, creating two sets of citizens in society based on the type of school one attends. It also wrote that Nepal needs to invest more in education by allocating more resources and the available budget could be made better use of at the local levels through more effective planning and allocation, while school graduates and local stakeholders could raise funds to buy some furniture for the schools. 
Figure 1 A picture of children who forsook education as they had to tend to sheep, in Baudi of Himali Rural Municipality, Bajura as reported The Himalayan Times in 27 January 2021.
- A news reported that most of the children in the Himali Rural Municipality, Bajura have left school as they have to help their parents look after cattle. The news also stated that the children could not go to schools after their parents migrated from their settlements along with the cattle. There are 400 children in Bajura. More than 640 families in Bajura migrate to lowlands in winter. Children from the Bhote community hardly attend school for six months.
- Muslim students have started studying Sanskrit at Maharshi Vedbyash Sanskrit Secondary School in Tanahun, stated the news. It also stated that the number of students studying Sanskrit from other castes is more than the number of Brahmin students and the attraction among Muslim kids towards Sanskrit language has grown tremendously. 
-  An opinion article expressed that young students struggle the most with language issues. It further suggested that it is necessary for a country like Nepal to adopt the successful practice of developing the mother tongue as a medium of education by solving the language problems of the developed countries. It is important for all three levels of government to understand that language is one of the reasons why education cannot be productive in today’s context, expressed the article.
Effects of COVID in education continues to dominate the media coverage in education
- A news article covering the stories of students of different municipalities articulated the increasing child marriages in the eastern region of Nepal. 
- A special dedicated article on education and COVID in the South Asian context expressed that the Covid situation is resulting in children with learning deficits as well as children completely dropping out of the education system. 
- The news stated that while the academic session is in crisis, the new minister is busy with party politics. There are only two months left until the end of the academic session, but the teaching learning activities have not been able to start properly. It also stated that the decision of extension of the present academic session has not been confirmed yet. It has not been decided who will organize the SEE exams, federal state, local level or schools themselves. Millions of students, parents and educational institutions are confused in lack of timely decisions by the ministry. 
- Multiple letters expressed their concern on uncertainties of the academic year. A letter to the editor questioned why academic sessions were being considered with more priority than the real learning students could experience. It also stated that this was because of our mind set which considers text books with more priority then the process and procedure of learning. The letter called on the mix of three academic years to recover from the loss of this year’s academic session. 
- Other news reported by media this week includes Siraha Municipality decided to close schools for three days due to excessive cold; former education minister stressed for collective efforts needed to deliver quality education.

Abbreviations : COVID- Corona Virus Disease, RM- Rural Municipality, TU- Tribhuvan University, KU-Kathmandu University, AFU- Agriculture and Forestry 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, SEE- Secondary Education Examination, SC- Supreme Court, VC- Vice Chancellor.

'Education this Week' is a joint effort to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print media published in Kathmandu (Online scanning was stopped due to the shortage of staff time from last week - apologies with the readers). The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground 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) between 27 January-2 February 2021 (14-20 Magh, 2077) - Editor.