KATHMANDU, Aug 15: All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary, affiliated to the Maoist party headed by Netra Bikram Chand, a.k.a Biplav, has called a two-day strike in the education sector from August 15, demanding the government to fulfill their 17-point charter.
There are some 7.5 million students at the school level throughout the country, according to the Ministry of Education. Moreover, thousands of students pursuing higher education, including at the university level, will also be deprived from studies, said the stakeholders.
DK Dhungana, general secretary of the Private and Boarding Schools' Organization Nepal, said that the students are forced to face a big loss due to the strike called by the student union.
“Thousands of students will have to stay away from schools for two days and be deprived of their right to education," Dhungana said.
"The student union should call off the strike if they work for the interest of the students,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, president of the Guardians' Association Nepal. "We urge the student union to revoke their decision to ensure students' rights to pursue their education,” he added. "There are other ways to put pressure on the government to get their demands addressed."
The student union had submitted a 17-point demand 12 days ago to the MoE. The demands include taking action against private schools that hiked fees illegally, streamlining the educational institutions affiliated to foreign boards and universities, ensuring access to education for all, enhancing the quality of public schools, and amending the education act.
"We had submitted a four-point demand to the government five months ago," said Purna Bahadur Singh, president of the student union that has called the strike. "After the government did not address our earlier demands, we were obliged to submit the 17-point demand and call this strike," he added.
Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesperson for the MoE, said that the government was holding discussions with the student union to seek amicable solution to the problem.
"The demands of the student union needs to be categorized in three groups--ones that need immediate action and others that can be resolved through short and long term process," he said.
"So, we urge the student union to reconsider their decision to shut down education sector for two days," said Lamsal.
Singh has denied any possibility of withdrawing their two-day strike. "It depends on the decision of the governmet," he said.
"If the government does not fulfill our demands, we will hold another round of protests from August 17," he warned.
Interestingly, the laws of the country recognize the education sector as essential service, and zone of peace. However, political parties have been time and again meddling with the sector for their partisan and vested interests.