ID card plan for poor to avail free education, health facilities

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 11:

The Minister of Education and Sports, Radha Krishna Mainali, today said that the government is planning to introduce identity cards for those living below the poverty line so that they can have access to free education and health facilities. “The package is being brought out so that it can reach the targeted group and unless education is not tied up with poverty alleviation, education for all will only remain a dream,” said Mainali during an interaction organised by the Education Journalists’ Group. “The government is working on it,” he added.

“If we can identify the targeted group and concentrate our effort on them then the problem can easily be solved,” said Mainali.

Expressing hope that Maoists would not try to disrupt the SLC examination scheduled from March 27, he said that the government would find a way out of the crisis if anything untoward happened. Mainali said that in order to achieve the Education for All goals by 2015, the government is coordinating with partner agencies. “If we do not uplift the quality of public schools immediately then a decade after a situation would arise where education will be commercialised,” said Mainali. Mainali blamed the political influence on teachers that has led to the deterioration in educational standards. Stressing that the present government, too, is for declaring all educational institutions as a zone of peace, he said that the army barracks and bunkers in schools were as a result of the demand of the situation. “The rebels started it,” said Mainali. The president of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (PABSON), Umesh Shrestha, said that the ministry should bring out a board policy which should not change with the changing governments.

“The government should tighten the rein while providing permission to schools and there should be timely monitoring and evaluation of schools to improve the quality of education,” said Shrestha. Lekhnath Belbase, an educationist, said that teachers and school management committees should be made accountable for providing quality education.