KATHMANDU, May 16: The government's policies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year have come up with positive arrangements such as delivery of online education albeit they are inadequate in the light of the emerging impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual policy document has stated that the facility of information technology lab and high-speed internet along with e-learning materials would be made available to all community schools and colleges when the coronavirus has affected all sectors of society at multiple levels.
The policies and programs have envisaged the expansion of technical education to avert the crisis of technical human resource in the country. So far Nepal has expanded the technical and vocational education at 607 local units. The government is preparing to develop all community schools and technical institutes as infrastructure-equipped educational institutes within the coming three years.
There has been increasing grievances regarding the widening gaps in access to online and distance learning which was adopted to continue education following the lockdown. National Campaign for Education-Nepal – a coalition of civil society organizations working in the area of education – took the policy to ensure equitable access of education to all to quality education, with around 270,000 students out of school to the access of education and connect education with research as positive provisions enshrined in the national document.
NCE chair Dilliram Subedi called for adequate investment to fully implement positive programs through the upcoming budget and ensuring budget for retention of children coming to the reach of school education. He however criticized the policy document for lacking provisions on scholarship to target groups, midday meal, teachers' training and educational materials and girl children friendly toilets.
He also demanded for bringing budget keeping into consideration the possible long-term impact stemming from the pandemic on education.
Nepal National Teachers' Association chair Laxman Sharma commented that the inclusion of educational issues in the government policies and programmes was obsolete. "The proposed programs do not address the negative effects the coronavirus pandemic will have on school education. Expansion of internet access is not a new thing however continuing with this is positive".
School Management Committee Federation of Nepal's general secretary Gunaraj Moktan told RSS that the policy measures to address corona impacts on education and vacancy fulfillment of teachers are not reflected in the government policies and programs.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari had presented the government’s policies and programs for the fiscal year 2020/21 at the joint session of the federal parliament on Friday.