सोमबार, ०३ बैशाख २०८१
English शिक्षामा गत साता

New Minister, Municipalities Make the News

The news published and broadcast last week, 25 percent news covered higher education and school education news has 75 percent weightage.

मंगलबार, २९ फागुन २०८०

Kathmandu - The news that Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) leader Ms Sumana Shrestha has been appointed as the Minister of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) got priority in the media last week. Especially as a member of the parliament (MP) and as a member of the Education, Health and Information Technology Parliamentary Committee (the Committee), in its meetings, she advocated that 'the children of government employees' and people holding public positions should be educated in public schools; teachers' salaries should be higher than those of civil servants; party interference in the education sector should be stopped'.. Recalling  her stand as an MP on these educational issues, interest has been expressed in all the media as how will deal with the issues  as the  Minister of Education. It is reported that after she was sworn in  as the Minister of Education, she made a customery signature as her first decision to take  measures to bring an end to the 'partisanship' in education. With the changes in the ruling coalition, when the Cabinet was reshuffled, the RSP got the portfolio of  MoEST besides Home and ??.

The new education minister's main challenge is the Federal School Education Bill (FSEB), 2080 which is being discussed in the Committee now to get passed. There are many complicated issues in the Bill. Without resolving these thorny issues, it will be meaningless to pass the Bill as such. According to the constitution, school level education is under the purview of Municipalities but the teachers have been refusing to be governed by  these local governments. Delineating  the division of power and responsibility of the three tiers of governments in education based on the provision of constitution,   implementing constitutional provision of making education free in real sense up to secondary level and basic compulsory , making  arrangements to convert existing for-profit private  schools to non-profit educational trusts as being talked about in addition to ensuring  supply of capable and motivated teachers  keep them up-to-date are the highly contentious issues in the bill are the challenges of Ms Shrestha as the Minister of Education. She will be tested in how she works towards her vow that  'Children of government employees and the people holding public positions should be educated in public (i.e. government funded and managed) schools'. . In order to realize thsi the new Minister will have to demonstrate  improvements  in the quality of learning and restore  eroded  credibility of public schools in the last few decades.

The new Minister also has responsibility of  presenting the Higher Education Bill that is being re-drafted at the Ministry and   preparing a bill on  Technical Education to the Parliament.
Besides her exposure to US system of education, as a member of the Committee, she is familiar with  theoretical and practical aspects of education, especially while the Bill was being discussed. During the discussion of the proposed Nepal University Bill, she could measure the width and depth of higher education. Having made an image of a well-informed parliamentarian, it may  be tough for her to manage the interests  of UML towards private schools as the biggest party of the ruling coalition and to maintain her position. The experience of former minister Girirajmani Pekharel, who was also known to have both knowledge and experience at one level, indicate us that courage and determination are needed to get the job done. She may have to use her ingenuity in setting the educational agenda for the upcoming election to compel UML to support her agenda  with firm support from her own party. Anyway, keeping in mind the instability of her position and the scope and  limits of the executive powers of a minister, it is necessary to rush to prioritize the tasks  to prove her performance and keep up the hope of aspirants.

The news published and broadcast last week, 25 percent news covered higher education and school education news has 75 percent weightage.

Last week too, the news of the work done by the municipalities in education has come in a considerable amount. Aadhikhola Rural Municipality (RM) has started making textbooks for local curriculum teaching from coming session, Rampur municipality of Rolpa has distributed electronic books (talking books) with audio devices to four schools within the municipality, the Metro College, a Center for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) affiliated multi-technical educational institution run by Tulsipur Submetropolish (SM) of Dang, teaches female students who have passed class 10 from public schools on full scholarship, news published last week.

Last week's municipality based other news were Kamal RM of Jhapa has been issued a circular to public schools warning that teachers who teach elsewhere during school hours will be punished. Similarly, three secondary schools have been announced child friendly of Hetauda SM, in another news public schools of Badimalika Municipality of Bajura started teaching traditional skills with school education to the students under the 'learning and earning' program.

There was news that the children of Resunga Municipality have demanded more money for midday meals in the municipality. The federal government has been providing 15 rupees per student for mid-day meal. The students demanded to add 10 rupees as this amount is insufficient, mentioned in the news.

There was also a news that students of a private school in Jhapa have made 'Elephant Repeling Gun' to drive away wild animals including elephants.
Simkot RM has made it mandatory for new teachers who have passed the Teacher Service Commission examination and are posted to serve at least 3 years in the schools assigned by the municipality, a news published.

In the news of higher education, after the four-year tenure of the vice-chancellors (VC) of Eastern , Mid-West and Far-Western Universities, there have been reports that those universities were without leadership. The office of Chancelor and Prime Minister has appointed Shailesh Mani Pokharel, Keshar singh Rana and Karna Bahadur Thapa as acting VC in  Eastern, Midwest and Far-western University respectively. 

Last week in Kantipur Daily, Tribhuvan University (TU) VC Prof. Dr. Kesharjung Baral's interview has been published. Baral explained his plans in the interview. He prioritized organizing and implementing the academic calendar, publishing the exam results on time, and updating and revising the curriculum and educational program, he said in the interview. After the interview was published, a letter to editor was published stating that the plan could not be implemented. The letter to editor alleged that the VC did not read the law of the TU on Baral's saying that the Prime Minister should appoint at the key position of the University. In the same letter, Baral is accused of being tagged as a political party person and trying to save the Prime Minister's image. According to the TU law, those officials are appointed by the Chancellor on the recommendation of the VC.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that the current government is trying to free the university from political influence and implement the dynamic leadership. The Premier said the process of selecting the leadership of the university through open competition has been started and he asked the support from the academic world mentioned in the news. In another program, there was news of Prime Minister Dahal's statement that there is a need for practical and skill-based education including rites, culture and identity. It was reported that Prime Minister Dahal, in the 15th assembly meeting of Lumbini Bauddha University, stressed the need to promote the faith of Budhdhist follower's at a time when globalization is affecting the educational sector.
Last week four news came from Dhanusha alone. Students studying Sanskrit in Yagyawalka Sanskrit Secondary School have increased. In recent times, incidents of school buses hitting people have increased (according to the police, 3 people died and 8 people were injured due to school bus collisions in recent months), the educational situation has become poor due to the low attention of the local level in the Phakirchand Gami Secondary School. It is reported that 11 teachers of the school, which was established in the year 1959, staged a dharna in front of the Sabaila Municipality Education Branch office a few days ago, demanding educational and management reforms. There was news from Dhanusha that due to lack of classrooms in the Jana Priya Secondary School of Bateswor RM, two classes have to be teaching in one room.

In other news, Girwan Aryal, who taught in the Tribhuvan Adarsha secondary School of Pharping for more than 4 decades, was congratulated by the local people by carrying around the city on the occasion of his 100th birthday. After the incident in which Shalin Pekharel was found dead in the dormitory of Ekta Shishu Niketan in Ratnanagar, Chitwan, there was a news that studies are being conducted under security.

In an article published at a online, it is mentioned that the momentary stress of taking the exam does not affect the students in the long term. It is mentioned in the article that various mental problems such as anxiety and depression can occur only when the stress is prolonged. Similarly, there is a news that a study done by Education in Every Home has drawn a conclusion that the textbooks of the school level are non-inclusive and biased. When studying the topics covered in the subject of the textbooks MY Nepali and Mero Serophero (My Surrounding) of class 2, Nepali, Social Studies and Human Value education of class 7, and Nepali and Social Studies of class 10, prepared by Curriculum Development Center, the study found that gender, caste, language and culture are not inclusive and prejudiced, mentioned in the news.

The news of political party leaders, parliamentarians, experts and stakeholders giving suggestions in a program to amend the school education bill also came last week. Their suggestion that the bill should be finalized based on the concept of building Nepal a pro-socialist country as mentioned in the preamble of the constitution has been included in the news.

'Education Last Week's main aim of this effort is to identify, enumerate and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news from the perspective of social justice and creative pedagogies. 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), have sourced  dailies Kantipur and Gorkhapatra (Nepali) and  The Himalayan Times (English), online  media OnlineKhabar, Setopati and Ratopati, and Himalayan TV and Nepal Television between 2-8 March 2024 (19-25 Falgun 2080) - The Editor. 

Read this analysis in Nepali : नयाँ शिक्षा मन्त्री र पालिका केन्द्रित समाचार