Kathmandu, July 23:

Representatives of different educational institutions today emphasised the need of strong political commitments and more budget for the education sector to phase out the proficiency certificate level (PCL) and strengthen the higher secondary education (HSE) in Nepal.

Speaking at an interaction organised by the Education Journalists’ Group here today, Upendra Koirala, vice-president of Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB), said neither academic nor bureaucratic commitment was going to help the Tribhuvan University phase out PCL. “PCL cannot be phased out unless there is strong political commitment. The political commitment could also increase budget for the education sector and strengthen HSE before PCL is phased out,” Koirala added.

“The state is investing only one rupee per student in HSE despite its outstanding results,” Koirala added. TU vice-chancellor Prof Dr Madhav Sharma said the university’s plan of phasing out PCL had been in limbo since 2000 because of poor physical infrastructure for science students in higher secondary schools.

“The phasing out of PCL will help TU concentrate on Bachelors, Masters and PhD programmes. It is not our wish to phase out PCL, it is the demand of time,” Dr Sharma added. He urged the government to improve infrastructure of HSE and invest more on it so that poor students could enroll at higher secondary schools.

Hari Kumar Shrestha, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Education and Sports, said the government was focusing on strengthening HSE. “The government has realised that PCL cannot be phased out without strengthening HSE,” Shrestha added.

He said the government had formed a committee to upgrade higher secondary schools’ physical and human resources.

Ram Kumari Jhakri, vice-president, All Nepal National Free Students Union, accused higher secondary schools of functioning like private firms.