Teachers' agitation immature and irresponsible: Education ministry

Published On: March 6, 2019 02:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 5: The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has termed the agitation by the relief quota teachers as "an immature and irresponsible act."

The public school teachers started hitting the streets from March 3 after the MoEST drafted the Federal Education Bill, proposing only 20 percent of relief quota and early childhood development (ECD) teachers to be appointed through the internal competition for the permanent posts, according to the agitating teachers' association.

“Their protest is whimsical and called on the basis of rumors about the draft of the education bill,” said the officials at the MoEST. “The agitation is an immature and irresponsible act,” they said.

On the third day of their protest, the agitating teachers called a shutdown of public schools on Tuesday. However, the schools were partially affected.

According to the MoEST, there are about six million students from Grades 1 to 12 studying in 27,833 community schools in 753 local units across the country. The government spends over Rs 130 billion annually on public schools.

“The schools were partially affected,” said Baikuntha Aryal, spokesperson for the MoEST. “The teachers, who are struggling in the name of their rights, should not have violated the rights of children to get education,” Aryal said. “They should have raised their voice in a different way.”

Aryal further said that the draft is a changeable document. “It can be amended as many times as required. So, it is not rational to stage protests against the draft,” he added. “However, the ministry has not officially received any demand of the agitating teachers yet.”

Khem Raj Adhikari, chair of the agitating teachers' association, claimed that the draft was the final version and forwarded to different bodies and authorities. “They did not consult us even once,” said Adhikari. “The government signed an agreement with us last September, promising to manage the relief quota and teachers for making permanent,” he said. “But the government deceived us.”

However, experts argued that making all the teachers permanent under pressure of the agitation would be harmful to upgrade the quality of public schools. “Instead of selecting teachers through an open competition, giving jobs to the less competent candidates under sympathy will lead to further deterioration of the quality of education at public schools,” they said.

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