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Parties fail to meet education goals outlined in manifestos

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Aug 31:

Performance of public schools remains dismal despite political parties' claim to boost it, photo republica

While the political parties are busy preparing their electoral manifesto for the second CA poll slated for November 19, a look at past declarations will reveal that very few goals related to the education sector has been achieved.

In their previous manifestos published before the CA poll in 2008, almost all the parties had prioritized compulsory and free school education. Similarly, most of them stressed on guaranteeing technical and quality education for students across the country.

The UCPN (Maoist), the largest party in the last CA, had laid out its education sector targets through 11 points in its manifesto. The party´s draft education policy based on that manifesto pledged to regulate the private sector in education and guarantee free education up to plus-two level.

Even though Rs 314 billion has been poured into school education since 2008, too little has been achieved. The government is yet to implement the School Sector Reform Program aimed at improving school education up to grade 12 and ensuring free education for all students from preprimary to plus-two level.

Education budget after CA election 2008

F Y

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

 

Total

Budget (RS billion)

47.5

57.6

63.9   

63.9 

82

314.9

 So far the Ministry of Education (MoE) has taken steps to implement compulsory primary education only in 13 districts of the country, though the parties had announced five years ago to make it mandatory for all children across the country.

Though the parties claimed to increase female representation in the education sector to 33 percent, only 27 percent teachers of community schools are female, as per the MoE´s flash report of last year.
Reacting to the sluggish progress in the education sector, the UCPN Maoist central committee member Keshab Nepal said that his party would stick to the agendas highlighted in the manifesto of the last poll.

“We can´t abandon the previous agendas until we achieve them,” said Nepal. He added that his party would put more emphasis on technical education this time around to address the issues of unemployment and brain drain.

The Nepali Congress (NC) claimed to guarantee primary education as the fundamental rights of every child, whereas the CPN-UML declared to abolish eradicate illiteracy from the country. The current literacy rate of Nepal is 65.9 percent.
The leaders now claim that the failure to draft the constitution reduced the possibilities of addressing the challenges in the education sector.
CPN-UML Politbureau member Pradip Gyanwali said that his party would not delve much on the education agenda as most of the issues have already been included in the draft of the CA committee that dealt with fundamental rights.

“Education is one of the most unanimous issues we dealt in the CA, so the achievement will surely be institutionalized,” claimed Gyanwali.

Meanwhile, the marginalized communities have been demanding that the parties take necessary initiatives to increase access of their population to quality education.
Chairperson of the Dalit Welfare Organization Chakraman Bishwokarma suggested that the community schools must be upgraded if the political parties are seriously concerned over the commercialization of private sector in education.

Most private institutions are out of bounds to the Dalit students because of their inability to pay high fees. The government work to improve the quality of teachers, make textbooks available in time and ensure that classes are run in English language at the public schools, said Bishwokarma.
The fringe parties such as CPN-ML, Majdur Kisan Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Janamorcha Nepal, Rastriya Janashakti Party, among others, have forwarded the concept of equality in education based on geographical complexity, poverty and backwardness.

While the political parties had highly prioritized education issue in their electoral manifesto in the first CA election, they made a mistake by generalizing the issues, say education experts.
The parties make big and abstract promises, which leads to poor show in the end, says Educationist Bidya Nath Koirala.
“Instead of declaring in their manifesto that they would solve unemployment problem if they win election, the parties need to specify their ideas on minimizing unemployment and brain drain,” mentioned Koirala. For effective implementation of policies, he suggested the parties should open a discourse on common agendas all of them can rally around.

Going against the commitment made by their parties, the sister organizations often violate the pledge not to disrupt peace in the academic sector. Koirala feels that the parties should pass strict laws through the new CA against those who enforce strike on educational institutions, compromising the future of millions of students.

Common agendas of political parties in CA Poll 2008

Free School Education
– Guarantee education to poor, dalit, female, disabled and other marginalized children
– Promote Technical and Quality Education in school and university
– Declare education Sector zone of peace
–  Promote government schools, colleges and regulate private institutions

Research findings:
The National Campaign for Education (NCE) recently conducted a survey to find out what people expect from the lawmakers to draft in the constitution. During the study conducted in 20 districts, 28 percent people said the constitution should ensure equality in education for the students from all communities.

Likewise, 23 percent respondent felt that the new constitution should guarantee no more political interference in the education sector. Twenty one percent people said that policies need to be modified emphasizing more on technical and quality education.
Of the total respondents, 15 percent felt that government needs to pay attention to improve the school infrastructure and supply adequate educational material for all students.

Research finding on people’s expectation from the lawmakers to draft in the constitution

Priority to equity- 28 %

Stop political interference in education sector- 23 %

Technical and Quality Education- 21%

Infrastructural and Educational Management- 15%

Others- 13%

 

Source: Republica Daily

Link: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=60481

 
Published on 2013-08-31 04:54:39
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About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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