Nepal | October 23, 2020

New bill curtails Dalits’ right to education: Activists

Ram Kumar Kamat
Share Now:

Kathmandu, June 14

Bill to integrate some education laws stipulates that higher education will be free for indigent people, including Dalits and differently-abled people.

The bill stipulates that indigent people under the category of Dalits and differently-abled people, who lack means of livelihood, and those whose income is less than the amount fixed by the government, shall qualify for free higher education scheme.

Dalit rights activist Shailendra Prasad Harijan (Ambedkar) said as per the definition of the bill, no Dalit would qualify for free education scheme because it would be difficult to prove that Dalits had no means of livelihood.

“In our country, everybody, even indigent Dalit may hold a small plot of land. It may not be adequate, but almost all Dalits have their own means of livelihood,” he said.

Article 40 (2) of the constitution stipulates that a provision of free education with scholarship, from primary to higher education, shall be made for Dalit students. Special provision shall be made for Dalits for technical and vocational education.

Harijan said the bill’s proposal to provide free higher education to indigent Dalits was a violation of the constitutional right of Dalits guaranteed by Article 40 (2). “The constitution says that all Dalits have opportunity to free education with scholarship from primary to higher education, but this bill proposes to provide this opportunity to only indigent Dalits,” he said.

Chakra Man Bishwakarma, who was a member of the High Level Education Commission that submitted its report to the government five months ago, told THT that the government needed to bring changes in its policies to ensure the Dalits’ right to education. He said his commission had suggested that the government should provide free higher education to Dalits, but the government only talked about ‘indigent’ Dalits.

He said the government should have special plans to provide technical education to Dalits in a way that could help them develop skills for their traditional professions. According to him, Dalits’ right to education could be ensured only if the government provided at least one Dalit teacher for each school. “Many Dalit children do not go to school because of poverty. Dalit children suffer from lack of food and nutrition and therefore, each local level should have a revolving fund to provide food to Dalit children,” he said. He added that each school management committee should also have a Dalit representation to ensure implementation of policies that could protect Dalits’ rights.

Another Dalit rights activist Bhola Paswan said although the constitution ensured Dalits’ rights to free education up to higher education level, implementation of the government’s policies was ineffective.

“The government requires Dalit students to enrol at community schools to be eligible for free education, but due to party politics quality of education at community schools is deteriorating every year,” he said. He added that the government needed to enhance the quality of community schools if it wanted to protect the rights of Dalits and other marginalised communities.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Hari Lamsal said the bill to integrate some education laws was in line with the constitutional provisions and his ministry was still discussing the contents of the new education policies to protect the interests of Dalits and minorities at schools.

A version of this article appears in print on June 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Traffic lights functional in 24 thoroughfares in valley

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 Metropolitan Traffic Police Division today said traffic lights had been brought back into operation in various thoroughfares of Kathmandu valley. According to MTPD, traffic lights have been brought into operation at Singha Durbar, Padmodaya, New Baneshwor, Putalisadak, Su Read More...

Vedanta in quantum world

From a superficial view, Vedanta and quantum mechanics may look extremely different. One is a part of evolution of modern physics while the other is the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies about Hinduism. But both are a part of the same universe. So they must have the same underlying re Read More...

Man who fell off cliff being treated in Kathmandu

BAJURA, OCTOBER 21 Mansingh BK, who was deprived of treatment due to financial crisis after he fell off a cliff, is undergoing treatment in Kathmandu. A resident of Ward No 9 of Badimalika Municipality, BK fractured his backbone when he fell from ta cliff. He was facing problems in treatme Read More...

consumer price inflation at 4.52pc

KATHMANDU: The macroeconomic update unveiled by the Nepal Rastra Bank on Wednesday showed that the consumer price inflation (CPI) in the country accelerated to 4.52 per cent in the second month of this fiscal year (mid-August to mid-September) from 3.49 per cent recorded in the earlier month. Read More...

Trade deficit narrows down nearly 25 per cent

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 While the adverse impact of coronavirus has been witnessed on various sectors of the economy, it was more pronounced on external trade and credit expansion of banks and financial institutions (BFIs) in the first two months (mid-July to mid-September) of the current fiscal ye Read More...

New Nabil Bank chairman takes oath

KATHMANDU: Upendra Prasad Poudyal, the newly appointed chairman of Nabil Bank, took the oath of secrecy on Wednesday with Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Maha Prasad Adhikari. The ceremony was carried out virtually on digital meeting platform, as per a media release. The event was witnessed vir Read More...

Govt entices cooperatives to buy paddy

KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 21 The government has decided to provide subsidies to the cooperatives that buy paddy from farmers. A Cabinet meeting held on Monday decided to provide subsidy worth of Rs 112 per quintal to the cooperatives that directly buy paddy from the farmers. Aiming at supporting f Read More...

Qatari Sheikh, high-profile climbers arrive in Kathmandu for Amadablam expedition

KATHMANDU: As the country opened for trekking and mountaineering activities from October 17, high-profile climbers from around the world have arrived in Kathmandu to attempt to climb different mountains. A group of climbers comprising Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani from Qatar's royal famil Read More...