Education ministry lies about foreign junket expenses

Published On: December 2, 2018 08:44 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 2: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has spoken outright lies publicly about the expenses of foreign junkets.

A total of 38 persons including civil servants, teachers and students visited eight countries during the last two months from September 17 to November 16. However, the visits of Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel and his team and secretaries have been kept under the blanket. The publicized visitors of last two months include joint secretaries, under-secretaries, personal secretary of Minister Pokharel among others.

Those 38 persons include 29 civil servants, four school teachers and five school students. The visits were aimed at attending different programs including awareness and capacity building organized in nine countries—South Korea, Japan, Finland, France, Tunisia, China, Argentina, USA and Malysia. The shortest visit was of two days while the longest visit was of 33 days, according to the MoEST documents.

The MoEST documents did not reveal the expenses of all these visits but claimed that the expenses were born by the organizers. “This is not true but white lies,” said the senior officials at the MoEST. “The officials who visited foreign countries receive funds and allowances from the ministry,” they said. “If the organizers paid their expenses, the spent amount would be included in the grants or loan provided by the respective countries to Nepal. It means that the spent fund is from the state coffers while achievement is hardly satisfactory in terms of productivity and applications.”

MoEST spokesperson Baikuntha  Prasad Aryal, who visited France,  said that the ministry has not sent any person to foreign countries in its expenses in the current fiscal year. “Ministry used to bear expenses of such visits in previous years but not in the current fiscal year. The organizers bore the cost of these visits,” said Aryal. However, spokesperson Aryal kept mum about foreign visits of Minister Pokharel and two secretaries of the ministry in the last two months.

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