Call to address deficit of school teachers

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 8:

Though the ‘student enrolment campaign’ launched by the government was successful in encouraging students to enrol in schools, it has invited new problems.

With the high number of students enrolled in primary level in the Terai belt, the schools are finding it difficult to manage them with the existing limited resources including the infrastructure, teachers and educational materials.

Speakers at an interaction on ‘How long to suffer from teachers’ shortage’, organised by the Education Journalists’ Group, stressed the need of emergency planning to tackle the problems.

Babu Ram Adhikari, general secretary of the Nepal Teachers’ Union, said the government introduced the enrolment programme without proper planning, which has now invited new problems, besides bolstering the existing ones,” he said.

Teacher’s quota adjustment could help in solving the deficit of teachers but the government should introduce long-term pragmatic concept to address the issues, he said. Adhikari was also against the concept of hiring volunteer teachers or temporary teachers.

“Educational sector is also not spared from nepotism which has resulted in inconsistency in distribution of funds and services,” he claimed.

Mahashram Sharma, deputy director at the Department of Education, said the success of the enrolment programme has compelled the government to seek long-term plans to strengthen the educational sector.

District education offices are to be empowered for teachers’ quota adjustment and the department of education should play a key role in it, Sharma said.

Adhikari also the high number of enrolments in primary schools has created pressure to the government. A debate on whether to increase budget for education going between the department of education and the ministry of finance.

Laxmi Poudel, under-secretary at ministry of finance, said the government was ready to invest in education sector but programmes should be result oriented.

Laba Prasad Tripathee, joint-secretary at MoES, said support from all sectors was needed to help the district education offices to adjust the teacher’s quota. Commitment and responsibility from the teachers was also needed, he said. Quota adjustment from urban to rural areas should be initiated, Tripathee said.

Keshar Bhattarai, president of the Nepal Teachers’ Union, urged for a systematic and integrated approach to solve the crisis. Teachers’ salaries cover about 90 per cent of the educational budget. Infrastructure development should also be addressed properly, he added.