KATHMANDU, Sept 22: The government has to bear an additional expense of about Rs 8 billion because of the controversial 9th amendment to the Education Act that was endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday.
The Act has a provision for giving permanent status to 15,000 temporary teachers out of a total of 30,000 such teachers at public schools in the country. The remaining 15,000 or so teachers will be given a golden handshake.
“The state needs about Rs 8 billion to pay 15,000 temporary teachers,” said officials at the Ministry of Education (MoE). “If more than 15,000 candidates fail to qualify for the 15,000 seats set aside for them, the size of this budget will have to be increased,” they said.
There are different levels of facilities to be given under the golden handshake, depending on the number of years of service. If someone has worked as a temporary teacher for 20 years or more, he or she will be paid a gratuity amount equivalent to 30 months’ salary along with other commensurate facilities , said Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman for MoE. “Similarly, teachers working under temporary status for 15 years will be given 15 months’ salary and commensurate facilities while temporaries with 10 years to their credit will be given facilities commensurate with five months’ salary,” he said.
There are over 1,000 temporary teachers who have been working in government schools for more than two decades , according to the MoE.
The amendment bill was approved on Tuesday with a provision to make temporary teachers permanent and give a golden handshake, including gratuity and basic treatment facilities, to the rest.
According to MoE, the government is going to hire about 30,000 teachers for government schools. Among them, about 15,000 will be selected through internal competition and about 15,000 through open competition.
The amendment bill was prepared by MoE under pressure from the CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepali Congress, according to sources. The amendment has drawn flak for opening the way to hire incompetent teachers.
Disagreeing with the controversial amendment, educationist Mana Prasad Wagle, who is a member of the recently formed High Level Education Commission, resigned from that body on Wednesday. Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema, also on the High Level Education Commission and a former vice chancellor of Tribhuvam University, announced that he would boycott the commission following the row over the amendment.
Mathema said that the amendment gives short shrift to the ideal of quality in education. “Is this the proper method for hiring quality teachers for school education?” he questioned. “I cannot stay on in the commission with such controversy still raging,” he said, adding that he did not resign from the post as he has not received the appointment letter.
Showing utter irresponsibility toward the seven million students in public schools in the country, the government amended the Education Act, allowing incompetent temporary teachers to get into permanent teaching posts at government schools.