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Minimum priorities for public schools scaled back



After the government´s failure to ensure 25 child-friendly Minimum Enabling Condition Indicators (MEC) under its School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP), the Department of Education (DoE) has introduced five Prioritized Minimum Enabling Condition Indicators (PMEC) to be implemented in all community schools.

One hundred percent student access to textbooks by the second week of the beginning of a new academic session, toilet and drinking water facilities in all schools, guaranteed standard teacher-student ratio and review of the course of studies are among the prioritized infrastructural developments to be accomplished by 2015.

As per SSRP, which has been implemented since 2009, the government was to create a proper environment in terms of infrastructural and social aspects in all community schools across the country by 2015.

However, DoE has minimized the reform criteria following slow progress despite huge investments made in the sector, according to officials at MoE.

“The prioritized minimum indicators are intended to make sure that all schools are equipped with basic facilities that cater to the diverse needs of students, including physical and learning environments,” said Roj Nath Pandey, assistant spokesperson at MoE.

Pandey added that donor agencies which have been aiding SSRP in Nepal are disappointed at the slow progress and expect the government to achieve the newly set priorities on time.

Though the standard student-teacher ratio for each level is considered 37:1, the latest flash report from DoE shows that the ratios at 28,773 community schools, based on the approved teacher positions in the ongoing academic year, are 40:1 at primary level, 60:1 at lower secondary and 36:1 at secondary level.

Similarly, community schools lack fully-trained teachers as only 79.9 percent of teachers at lower secondary level have received some kind of teacher training while 90.1 percent of them at secondary level are trained to teach.

The average percentage of students who received their full set of textbooks within the second week of the academic session 2011-012 was 69.4 percent at primary, 68.5 percent at lower secondary and 59.9 percent at secondary level, which is sluggish in terms of meeting the SSRP target.

The school physical environment includes the condition of school buildings, provision of adequate classrooms, separate toilets for girls and boys and a playground, whereas the learning environment includes availability of qualified and trained teachers, curriculum and textbook, teacher´s time for their tasks and extra-curricular activities, Pandey added.

 Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2012-12-12 23:30:59

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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