Local govt, teacher body at loggerheads

Kathmandu, January 22

Conflict has arisen between the newly elected local government and teacher’s association regarding the local level’s jurisdiction and the interest in the teacher’s union.

The local level, which has the right to manage secondary level education as per the constitution, is trying to exercise the rights given by the constitution. Their effort has been opposed by the teacher’s association.

Laxminia Janata Secondary School of Dhanusha  is an example, according to Education Ministry Spokesperson Hari Lamsal , the school’s head teacher and other teaching staff opposed the local level’s move to check the daily attendance of teachers and the headmaster. The local government’s other moves were also not welcomed by the teacher. “Many of the local governments are trying to manage public schools, but their effort is not going down well with the teachers,” he added.

The Local Level Governance Act listed 23 functions of the local government, which also include the education sector. The list includes salary of teachers and supporting staff, issuing school operation licence, upgrading and monitoring schools. The education ministry has deployed staffers to the local levels to facilitate the management of education in the local level.

The staffers currently deployed by the education ministry, are however not satisfied with their experience in the local level. Chief of Education Department in Kathmandu Metropolitan City Prahlad Aryal told THT that the education wings of KMC faces lack of adequate resources, staff and infrastructure. “The existing legal provisions too are not clear,” he added.

Procedure 8 of the constitution has given authority of developing the education sector to local governments.

But the local governments have charged the District Education Office with hindering their work. Apparently, their functions have been limited to allocating salaries for teachers and the school staff. “We are yet to have full right as per the spirit of the constitution,” said Mayor of Kirtipur Municipality Ramesh Maharjan.

The teacher’s association is against the government move to hand over management to local government.  Nepal Teachers Federation‘s General Secretary Tilak Kuwar told THT that the local levels were handling the education sector arbitrarily.