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APEIN shutdown affects 2 million students

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, March 3: The dispute between Golden Gate College and UCPN (Maoist) affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) led to a shutdown on Sunday of private academic institutions across the country, affecting 2 million students, from playgroup to the higher secondary level. The shutdown was enforced by the Association for Private Educational Institutions, Nepal (APEIN).

Around 14000 private institutions, including 9000 schools, 3596 plus two colleges, 39 engineering colleges and institutes, 350 Tribhuvan University affiliated colleges and 19 medical colleges remained closed on the day, according to the APEIN.

APEIN is an alliance of Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal (HISSAN)‚ Private and Boarding Schools´ Organizations, Nepal (PABSON)‚ NPABSAN‚ Association of Engineering College‚ Purbanchal University College of Nepal‚ Pokhara University College Forum‚ Technical Institutes‚ Association of Private Medical and Dental College and Forum for Health and Technical Sciences, all of whom expressed solidarity to the protest that was announced on Friday against the ANNISU-R´s torching of a vehicle of Golden Gate College on Thursday.

Forming a 25 member struggle committee under the leadership of Yubraj Sharma, general secretary of HISSAN, the association decided to build pressure on all stakeholders to get their demands fulfilled.

The APEIN has demanded security for all private academic institutions across the country. The APEIN has also demanded action against those involved in setting the school bus of Golden Gate College on fire.

Within a few hours after the APEIN announced the protest on Friday, the ANNISU-R also called a shutdown for Monday demanding an apology from the Golden Gate College administration and freedom to form union at all private education institutions.

A group of youths entered into Radiant Readers´ Academy in Sanepa and vandalized the school, said the school authority.

“The school security guard let them in as they said they wanted to drink water, but the group of four/five youths vandalized the windows,” said DK Dhungana, founder principal of the school.

No injury has been reported in the incident. The group told to the security guards while leaving the school premises that they belonged to the students´ revolutionary group.

The ANNISU-R call for closure remains as it is for Monday, the ANNISU-R chairman Himal Sharma told Republica.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education (MoE) issued a press statement on Sunday urging the protesting group to cancel the shutdown.

Suprabhat Bhandari
Chairman of the Guardians´ Association of Nepal

Is there a way to resolve this dispute peacefully?
The act of shutting down schools by the people engaged in providing education is condemnable. The people who led the campaign in the past to get education sector declared a peace zone themselves are involved in calling the strikes. The APEIN should have attempted to resolve the issue through dialogue.

What initiation is the guardians´ association taking to end the confrontation?
We pleaded with both sides on Friday and Saturday to cancel the protest programs while examinations are approaching. The SLC examination is scheduled to begin in less than two weeks. But our effort to settle the dispute went in vein. However, we are in contact with government officials and the private sector. Former chairman of the Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal (HISSAN) Umesh Shrestha and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Education are set to hold dialogue soon. They have agreed to meet on Monday.

Yubaraj Sharma, chairman of the struggle committee formed by the APEIN

Why did you call the strike without first trying to resolve the dispute with the UCPN (Maoist) aligned student group peacefully?
The private institutions have always been the target of various interest groups and the Thursday´s incident is just an example. The entire academic sector remains affected for more than 100 days in one academic session even after the end of the armed conflict.

The APEIN alone cannot ensure the students´ rights when no authorities and political parties seem serious toward the recurring problem. Thus, we want to convey our simple but strong message to the government and political leaders that declaring schools and education sector a peace zone alone is not enough if they do not follow through on their own commitment.

The MoE has called for a dialogue between the disputing parties. What is your response?
We are looking forward to discuss the issues in detail with the government authorities, students, guardians and the representatives of various universities. The students unions, instigated by various interest groups, should get the message that the private sector educations institutions will not remain quite from now onwards.

Source: Republica Daily
Published on 2013-03-04 01:48:53
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About nirjanasharma

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