‘Avoid use of schools as polling centres’

Kathmandu, March 2

Community School Management Committee Federation of Nepal has demanded that the government avoid use of schools as polling centres for the May 14 local level election.

Issuing a press statement in Kathmandu today, the umbrella organisation of nearly 30,000 community school management committees also urged the government and Election Commission to find alternatives to schools as polling centres.

“We welcome and appreciate the government’s announcement of civic polls after a hiatus of 20 years. Election is an essential component of democracy but the practice of using schools as polling centres should be put to an end. For this, we strongly urge the government to make a new beginning by not using schools as polling centres in the upcoming local level elections,” read the statement.

Local government representatives were last elected in 1997 and their five-year terms expired in 2002 at the peak of Maoist insurgency. The CSMCFN warned that using schools as polling centres would adversely affect teaching-learning activities.

As most of the polling centers will be placed on premises of schools, the EC has already directed the government to suspend teaching-learning activities for a week from May 8 till the completion of the election.

The EC by issuing a notice may use any government-owned buildings, furniture, vehicles, or other property in the election. The EC, with prior notice, may also hire private property in the conduct of the election.The CDMCFN has also appealed to all stakeholders to pile pressure on the government and EC not to use the schools as polling booths.