Dialogue can help solve educational crisis: Panel

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 27:

A taskforce set up to look into the problems plaguing the education sector said today that both warring parties should stick to their prior commitments and solve the educational problem through dialogue. Members of civil society had formed a 13-member special taskforce with representatives from various organisation on June 12, with the aim to solve the indefinite educational strike called by pro-Maoist students.

At a meeting held today, the taskforce endorsed the following: educational strikes should be withdrawn at the earliest; the government should remove military barracks from schools and educational institutions; it should create an environment that enables pro-Maoist students to pursue their education; and it should implement all previous agreements.

It has also appealed to the Maoists and their sister organisations to ensure that educational institutions are kept free from all kinds of war-like activities, ensure a conducive learning environment, and refrain from indulging in the abduction of teachers and students.

The All Nepal Independent Students Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) has called an educational strike demanding that School Level Certificate (SLC) examination centres be set up in remote areas too. However, the Office of Controller Examination has stated that it was impossible to do so citing the nation’s fragile security condition as reason.

The ANNISU-R strike, which started in Mechi-Koshi and Kaski on January 18 and January 23 respectively, has affected thousands of students. Around 90,000 could not appear for the SLC sent-up examinations, and around 15 lakh students of the districts are unable to attend classes either due to the various bandhs or blockades or educational strikes. “If the strike continues, then the SLC exams will be affected very badly. And the government does not seem serious about solving the problem,” said Umesh Shrestha, chairman of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal.

Sudip Pathak, member secretary of the taskforce and president of Human Rights Organisation Nepal, said unless both parties take initiatives to solve the problems by adhering to the Geneva Convention, the problem will not be solved. The student bodies have also announced a 10-day ‘district bandh’ which will fall during the time when the School Level Certificate is scheduled.