KATHMANDU, April 23: The government has said that it is mulling over introducing a ‘digital education system’ for schools to continue the teaching and learning process even during the nationwide lockdown which was enforced a month ago to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a report recently submitted to the Supreme Court, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has stated that online classes for grade nine and 10 will be conducted six days a week through NTV Plus and that the curricula for online classes for grade six to eight have already been prepared and forwarded to the Curriculum Development Centre.
The government submitted the report to the apex court following a court order issued in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) jointly filed by advocates Ananta Raj Luitel and Pratibha Uprety. Secretary of the OPMCM, Dilliraj Ghimire submitted the report. A division bench of justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Hari Prasad Phuyal had asked the government to submit a detailed report in relation to the execution of fundamental rights two weeks ago. The apex court has scheduled the final hearing of all coronavirus related cases for Thursday.
The report also stated that some independent private academic institutions have already introduced an online education system so that the students’ right to education is not violated any more due to the effect of the deadly virus.
The OPMCM, in the report, has stated that the government and the private sector have sufficient food storage and, therefore, there will not be starvation even if the lockdown is extended further.
According to the report, the Food Management and Trading Company Ltd has a stock of 21,885 metric tonnes of rice; Salt Trading Ltd has a stock of 1,57,965 metric tonnes of salt, and the independent merchants have 102,570 metric tonnes of rice. Saying that the farmers will produce rice, the government has claimed that there will not be any food crisis in the country.
Saying that the government has been working with the slogan 'no one will face starvation, no one will die,' the OPMCM stated that the government has distributed 17,798 metric tonnes of
rice as a relief to the needy people during the lockdown.
The report also stated that the government has imported 57,412 metric tonnes of food; 17,530 metric tonnes of lentils and pulses; 31,300 metric tonnes of vegetable; and 133 tonnes of milk products after the government imposed the lockdown to fight the coronavirus.
In addition, the government has imported raw materials of medicines worth Rs 135.4 million and prepared medicines worth Rs 753 million, according to the report.
The report also stated that the government has been making preparations for distributing social welfare advertisements to all media including the government-owned media as per the Advertisement (Regulation) Act, 2020. The OPMCM also claimed that the government has already formulated guidelines for the distribution of advertisements to all private media without discrimination.