आइतबार, ०६ साउन २०८१
English शिक्षामा यो साता

Controversies over High Level Commission Report and Teacher Transfer Guidelines Continue

Making of the report of the High-level National Education Commission (HNEC) public after more than five years, status of action against teachers belonging to the political parties and the protests of the Teacher Transfer Guidelines by various stakeholders were the news media gave priority in last two weeks.

बुधबार, ०५ असार २०८१

Kathmandu -  Although the report prepared by the NHEC formed under the chairmanship of the then Minister of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) Giriraj Mani Pokharel was submitted to the then Prime Minis-ter KP Oli on 15 January 2018, the government did not make the report public until last week. After 5 years and 4 months of submitting the report to the govern-ment, the MoEST released the report last week. While releasing the report, MoEST Sumana Shrestha said that the positive and relevant aspects of the report will be implemented.

It was also mentioned in the news that the report was not made public due to the pressure of the private school administrators because of the rec-ommendation that private investment schools should be made non-profitable within 10 years. In the report, forming a board of trustees for governance in the uni-versity, make system for teacher transfers, teachers should be banned from party politics, keeping schools free from all forms of political interference etc. have been recommended, mentioned in the news. The media also doubted the implementation of the published re-port. 

There has been pressure not to make the commission's report public because the provisions recommended in the report of the HNEC will affect the interests of pri-vate school investors and the interests of teachers, the news mentioned referring the opinion of experts. These are also the main controversial aspects of the much awaited Federal Education Bill. Even if the MoEST implements the provisions recommended by the com-mission, it also seems that legal arrangements must be made to implement those provisions. For that, there is a need for an understanding among the parties of the coalition in the government and the major political parties. The parties do not want to anger the investors of private schools nor the teachers of public schools. The dissatisfaction of the chairman of CPN (UML), the major factor of the coalition, has already been made public. In order to overcome this, it appears that the Minister of EST and her party must take the initiative to make a level of agreement among the major parties.

With this report being made public, the question arises what will happen to the School Education Bill present-ed in the parliament. A common question is to what ex-tent the government takes ownership of this report. Strictly speaking, for the fact that the commission formed under the chairmanship of the then minister and the current Prime Minister belong to the same par-ty, the leader of the major part of the coalition was the then Prime Minister, the present government is not obliged to take ownership of this report. If so, there is no point in making it public. 

What is certain is that the then Minister of MoEST did not dare to do this. Whether this effort of Minister Shrestha will be counted as action in time or no use depends on the government's attitude towards the pro-posed education bill.

There was news that the School Management Commit-tee (SMC) Federation opposed the teacher transfer guidelines issued by the MoEST saying that the guide-line abolished  the authority of the SMCs towards teacher transfer. Similarly, there was news that the im-plementation of the teacher transfer guidelines has be-come complicated after the Nepal Rural Municipality Federation and the Nepal Municipal Association de-manded the cancellation of the guidelines and called on the local government to act in accordance with their own laws saying that the rights of the local bodies giv-en by the constitution had been violated by the guide-line.

After stopping the inter-district transfer for two months, the ministry issued a separate guideline on 26 May to resume the transfer of teachers. It was mentioned in the news that the leaders of the teachers' unions  have stood against the Minister Shrestha regarding this directive.

The local government, teacher's union organizations, and SMC Federation are standing together saying that the Teacher Transfer Directives, issued to manage the transfer of teachers in order to prevent anomalies, con-tradicts with their authority bestowed by prevailing laws. We are aware that the public education declined since the government nationalized schools taking away from the community. The SMC is probably the only statutory body that connects the community and par-ents in the school. Although they do not have a direct role in teaching, SMCs play an important role in creat-ing conducing environment for improving teaching and learning. In the management of teachers who play the main role for children's learning, it is necessary to have supervisory rights in representatives of parents. They always can test the tides. They have protested the Directives as the SMC is to be 'bypassed' by the guide-lines. 

One of the rationale of the Directives made public is to check financial kickbacks in teacher transfer in the name of ‘approval’ by the school where SMC is a play-er. However, it is necessary to stop such financial anomaly in the District Education Coordination Unit (DECU) for the transfer of teachers. Rather than cur-tailing the authority of the SMCs and local govern-ments, that guidelines should be made to make teacher transfers transparent and swift . This guideline has some such provisions. But the intention of parents to accept unnecessary transfer is an issue that has not been resolved among those who feel the need for local-ization in education and who feel it is a practice of di-rect democracy. It was not prudent to curtail people's rights by theorizing the wrong practices done by the SMCs in some places.

Now, in the name of efficiency, it has become a com-mon political and administrative practice to take away the rights of citizens. It is not that the local govern-ments have not tried or will not try to curtail the rights of SMC as soon as they get a chance. The Municipal Federations have said that their jurisdiction has been violated, not that of the SMCs!

It is also unnatural for the teachers' unions and the SMC federation to stick together, they normally  opposed to each other. Now both these groups are struggling against the Municipal Federations for their heavy-handedness. It is also evident that the bureau-cracy not like the fact that the constitution bestowed school education under the purview of local govern-ments. 

As always, the bureaucracy and the Minister are stand-ing on the same side as typical ‘rulers’. The subject of teacher transfer should have not even been a priority matter in education. At least the Minister should have consulted the major stakeholders, take stock of the is-sues from different perspectives and convince the need before actually making use of her authority! 

If we look at minute level, there is no contribution for the improvement of education by easing the transfer of teachers. What practice has shown is that even good teachers, if they are transferred near their homes (which is most often the reason), victims say that the perform even less in the places they have moved to. These Directives appear to appease just the bureaucra-cy and the teachers. 

There was news that MP Amaresh Kumar Singh has demanded the abolition of SMCs in public schools say-ing that they do not contribute anything to the quality of education. MP Singh has alleged that because of the SMCs, only political parties and leaders have benefited, but they have not been able to improve education.

Ratopati Online Portal has published an analysis that the decisions made by MoEST Shrestha after taking over the ministry have garnered public discussion, but the implementation is weak. When directives such as to punish teachers who join political parties and teacher return to work are not implemented, even teacher trans-fer directives implemention is in doubt.
The MoEST has approved the development and im-plementation of Tamang language textbooks in Sam-bhota script. Similarly, there was also news that a gov-ernment reform unit has been formed in the ministry to address citizens' complaints quickly. 

According to another news, the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) has once again instructed all DECU across the country to submit action against teachers and employees who still have not disassociated themselves with political parties. It was mentioned in the news that the deadline given by the Center to the units across the country on May 15th to submit the details of the action against the teachers and employees belonging to the party is over; it has again instructed to submit the details within seven days.

There was news that Chulachuli Rural Municipality of Ilam has completely banned teachers from getting into politics. Even though the teachers belong to their re-spective professional associations, there was news that the municipality has decided to ban the membership of any political party, ban to ask for votes for political par-ty in the election and take part in publicity or dissemi-nation of the parties propaganda. 

Various municipalities conducted education campaigns. There was news that the local curriculum was imple-mented and the school's levels were reduced after the number of students decreased. The Kathmandu Metro-politan City has announced that more than 18 thousand student who study up to class 10receiving scholarships from Private schools operating within the metropolis.

There was news that the students of the Faculty of Edu-cation and the Education subject teaching colleges have protested after the government prepared to make a legal provision allowing graduates from any faculty to partic-ipate in the teaching license examination.

But there was a news in Gorkhapatra that 759 posts of primary level teachers have not been filled as called by the Teachers Service Commission as the candidates could not pass the selection exam. According to the news, there are even fewer people who pass the re-served seats. It was mentioned in the news that out of the 7,882 posts advertised at the primary level, only 7,123 were recommended.

There was news that visually impaired Savitri Poudel of Thakre Rural Municipality of Dhading has com-plained that after passing the Teachers Service Com-mission, she was not allowed to choose a school based on merit list of appointees, while another visually im-paired teacher Sangeeta Parajuli was on a sit-in protest at Maitighar Mandal demanding to be transferred to an accessible school.

In Banke, there was news that there has been a problem in the educational work because the district education committee, which has been formed under the chairman-ship of the head of the DECU for two years, has not been completed.

There was news in Kantipur that a group of local busi-nessmen who have been operating Tata Sumo parking lot for 4 years after taking unauthorized possession of Tribhuvan University's land in Balkhu have returned the land. But there was also news that the due has not been paid.

There was news that Kathmandu University has rec-ommended affiliation to B&C Medical College. It was mentioned in the news that the university sent a letter with recommendations to the Medical Education Commission after the court's decision to grant the affil-iation within 15 days. Prof. Dr. Govinda KC who has been doing satyagraha (peaceful agitation) for the im-provement of medical education has criticized the Su-preme Court's decision to grant affiliation to B&C, quoted the news.

Another news mentioned that the Medical Education Commission will allow the students who have appeared in 12th exam to participate in the integrated entrance exam for medical education. Before this, one would ha-ve passed the 12th standard to participate in the en-trance examination.

There was also news that the Nepal National Teachers' Association has expressed its displeasure that the gov-ernment has not increased the salaries and allowances in order to deal with the inflation in the budget of fiscal year 2024/025.

There was news that the MoEST has resumed the re-newal of educational consultancy that was postponed  since 2019. MoEST had registered 1,473 educational consultancies, bridge courses, language teaching classes and preparatory classes, they were running without re-newal.

There was news that an order to vacate more than 300 shutters and business complexes lent by public schools has withheld by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City. Ac-cording to the news, the Patan High Court has issued an Interim Order not to implement the Order until June 7.

This week, the news with the photo of playing football in the classroom because there is no playground in the public school in Kathmandu valley has also been in a limelight this week. It was mentioned in the news that there is a challenge in managing playgrounds in Kath-mandu related to child-friendly schools as mentioned in the federal and local education policies.

There was news that more than 95 students of classes 4, 5 and 6 of Dailekh in Chandika Mavi in Panchdeval Vinayak of Acham were prevented from going to school after the cable of the suspension bridge between Dailekh and Achham was broken.

The purpose of this news review is to classify and synthesize the educational content of the week and provide objective comments from the point of view of social justice and creative padagogy to the policy makers and stakeholders in one place. In this joint ef-fort of Center for Education Policy and Practice (CEPP) and Edukhbar, the news of daily newspapers Kantipur, Gorkhapatra and The Himalayan Times, online newsportals Online Khabar, Setopati and Ratopati and Himalaya TV and Nepal Television from 1-14June 2024 are covered - Editor.

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