Bid to expedite schools’ handover to communities

Kathmandu, October 23:

The Ministry of Education and Sports is counting on the amendment of the Education Act to expand its programme of handing over the management of government-owned schools to communities.

The bill to amend some issues regarding education and sports under Nepal Act is in the House for discussion. The amended act might be out after two weeks.

The government has hoped that clarity in policy, in the amended act, regarding transfer of schools’ management to the community, and definition of role of teachers in the new school management, would help expedite the programme.

Laba Prasad Tripathee, spokesperson at Education Ministry, said the government is hopeful that the communities would come forward to take charge of management of the schools after the amendment bill is endorsed.

However, there has been no progress regarding the transfer of schools’ management to the communities for the past few months. Authorities concerned are receiving only three to four applications a month requesting transfer of the schools.

Management of only 2,326 schools have been transferred to the community since 2003 after the World Bank-funded Community School Support Project (CSSP) was launched. Of them 1,941 are primary schools, 277 lower secondary schools and 108 secondary schools in 63 districts.

“It has come to our notice that the communities are more wary about the word ‘transfer’ hence the government is seriously thinking of doing something about it,” Mahashram Sharma, director at Department of Education (DoE), said. He said that the amended act would clarify all misconceptions regarding the transfer of school management to the communities.

“The government is not running away from its responsibility as the community has presumed rather the government is empowering the community,” said Sharma.

The government had targeted to transfer the management of some 2000 government schools to the community in this fiscal year but till now management of only 200 schools have been transferred so far. The government has targeted to hand over 8000 schools to the community by the end of 2007. The government programme of has not been successful in 13 districts that include the worst conflict-hit ones including Bhojpur, Rasuwa, Sindupalchowk, Rolpa, Salyan, Jajarkot, Mugu, Humla and Kailali.

Besides, the students’ wing of Maoists have threatened that the government should take the management of all from the communities blaming that the government is running away from its responsibility.