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Lack of full budget likely further weaken education sector



At a time when the Ministry of Education (MoE) is facing criticism over poor SLC results, not releasing a full budget for the second consecutive time in the upcoming fiscal year would hamper the target set for the education sector, the officials have said.

The MoE has demanded Rs 82 billion with the Ministry of Finance to run the special programs such as ensuring free and compulsory school level education and implementing Prioritized Minimum Enabling Condition (PMEC) indicators in the community schools, which still fall well below government´s targets. The MOE had received Rs 63 billion, the largest share of the total budget, for the running fiscal year.

Speaking at the program organized by the Education Journalists Network, Tek Narayan Panedy, director at the Department of Education (DoE), said that the lack of full budget in this fiscal year hampered the PMEC improvement, which would worsen next year.
Only 842 schools were found to be implementing the prioritized conditions out of the total 23224 community schools that provided all the data of PMEC status in their schools.

Following the failure to ensure 25 child-friendly Minimum Enabling Condition Indicators (MEC) under its School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP), the Department of Education (DoE) last year had introduced five PMEC to be implemented in all community schools.
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 the community schools across the country by 2015. However, the DoE minimized the reform criteria following slow progress made in the sector.

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. However, the PMEC report also shows that only 2000 schools have computers, whereas 27,000 schools lack them.
The PMEC survey also revealed that the students´ average achievement was 30 in English that carries total 75 marks for theory. Similarly, 44 in Nepali (100 marks), 37.88 in Science (75 marks), 43 in Mathematics (100 marks) was the average achievement of the best students. The student´s performance in Social Studies was worst as they received only 24.82 of total 100 marks in the subject.

Though the standard student-teacher ratio for each level is considered 37:1, the MoE fails to maintain that ratio in lack of 55000 teachers, the PMEC report states. As a result, the ratio at 28,773 community schools, based on the approved teacher positions in the ongoing academic year, stands at 40:1 for primary level, 60:1 for lower secondary and 36:1 for secondary level.

Educationist Kedar Bhakta Mathema blames political leaders for the poor performance of public school students. He added that structural inequality in the public and private schools has increased the gap between the students from various communities which could be bridged by strengthening the public schools.
He raised concerns over the government´s reluctance to promote community schools in the Valley as no such new schools have been established in the capital for years.

He added the mainstream political leaders need to give their clear opinion on what agendas they have on upgrading the fading charm of community schools, colleges up to the university level.
The physical environment of the community schools, such as buildings, provision of adequate classrooms, separate toilets for girls and boys and a playground, are also poor.

The PMEC report also reveals that community schools across the country are in need of 10,000 toilets.

Source: Republica DailyLink:
Published on 2013-07-03 02:44:12

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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