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Schools shutdown over DAV row affects 250000 Lalitpur students


KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Demanding DAV Sushil Kedia Bishwa Bharati Higher Secondary School to reinstate the three teachers the institution had initially fired and accusing the school of using textbooks that threaten to undermine the national sovereignty, the CPN-Maoist aligned student union All Nepal National Independent Student Union- Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) on Sunday enforced school shut down in Lalitpur district on Sunday.

The Banda enforcers closed 324 private and 198 community schools affecting around 250000 students studying in Lalitpur. The number is one fourth of the total school going children of the Kathmandu Valley where around 1 million students are enrolled in schools, according to the District Education Office, Lalitpur.

The All Nepal Teachers´ had padlocked the School in Jawalakhel following for the same reason in January 5. The agitating teacher´s union, an umbrella organization of all the teachers across the country, said that they were compelled to take the move as the government did not take any action against the school even as the school has been using textbooks that threaten to undermine national sovereignty. The teachers have also expressed solidarity on the Sunday´s closure. The school had fired two teachers Sagar Thapa and Santosh Jha in September accusing them of conspiring against the school administration. Rajendra Manandhar, who taught computer science for the last seven years in the school, was also fired on December 16 on similar grounds.

The school where more than 3500 students are currently studying, has prescribed Integrated Social Science textbook for grade four, which mentions that Lord Buddha was born in India and that Mount Everest is also located in India. The three teachers were fired after they raised voice saying the school has hurt the sentiments of all Nepali nationals.

The teachers have also asked the school to sever its affiliation with the Indian Council of Secondary Education, which has prescribed the controversial textbook. The teachers have claimed that the school administration has restricted more 18 teachers to teach amid increasing pressure.
“The school has not dared to fire more teachers for now but 18 teachers some of whom were working there since its establishment have been restricted to take the class,” said Manandhar.

The student´s and teachers´ union are scheduled to conduct interaction program among the guardians and student at the school gate on Monday.

According to District Education Officer of Lalitpur, Mankaji Shrestha, various rounds of talks between the two sides remained fruitless. He added that the school has been turning deaf ear to the frequent circular the office had made. The DEO has directed the school administration to reinstate the teachers which was neglected by the school. He also expressed helplessness of the office as the issue has become sensitive.

“The National Vigilance Center and the Department of Education have formed a committee to decide on the future of the school and the students enrolled there,” said Shrestha.

However, the school has neither responded to the government´s direction nor reacted to the agitating groups. “In an indirect communication with the ANNISU-R the school has agreed to revise its textbooks but have denied to re-establish the fired teachers,” said Sarad Rasaili, chairman of the ANNISU-R aligned with CPN-Maoist.
However, the school authority have said that they have sent an official letter to the Ratna Sagar Publication of India to remove the wrong content published in the book regarding the birth of Lord Buddha. The official further defended their action against teachers saying that they were incompatible to continue job in the institution.

“We have already instructed the teachers to discard the chapter with such serious error and decided to reject the book prescribed by the publication if it sends the book with same error in the next academic session,” said Ram Chandra Khanal, Vice-Principal of the school.

Khanal claimed that the teachers with political interest are trying to ruin the school´s image in long run.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-02-11 02:23:01

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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