Kathmandu Metropolitan City has finally fulfilled its long time promise of introducing Nepal Bhasa (Newari language) in the school curriculum from Grade I to VIII. All private and public schools inside the metropolis will now have to teach Nepal Bhasa.

KMC's Education Department, organising a programme today, inaugurated a textbook titled 'Ye Dey Masike' (Lets know Kathmandu). The programme was attended by Minister of Education, Science and Technology Krishna Gopal Shrestha and KMC Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya, who jointly introduced the textbook.

KMC has said the subject has been made mandatory from the current academic session itself and final examination of the subject will be held at the end of the academic year.

There are 640 private schools and 92 public schools inside Kathmandu metropolis, which will now have to incorporate the subject in their curriculum.

For the purpose, KMC has also started hiring teachers for public schools and asked private schools to provide training to the teachers on teaching Nepal Bhasa.

Local Government Operation Act-2017 has envisioned that the local government can incorporate one subject related to local culture, tradition, language, history or any technical education. The seventh municipal council of KMC had decided to teach local the language in schools.

The fundamental rights as envisioned in the constitution have also provisioned that all local governments should incorporate one subject that reflects the identity of the local government in one or the other way.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Minister Shrestha said that KMC had taken a courageous and historical move by introducing Nepal Bhasa in school education. "This move will not only help young Newar students know about their art, culture and language, but help non-newars to understand the rich Newari culture and tradition," Shrestha said.

Similar comments were made by Mayor Shakya, who said that teaching about local art, culture and history in the native language would be immensely helpful in preserving cultural values.

Ram Prasad Subedi, head of the education department of the metropolis, said that they would be forced to take action against schools that did not abide by the rule of the local government.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.