Kathmandu, June 14
Many schools across the country have made it mandatory for students to learn Chinese lured by the Chinese government’s offer to cover salaries of teachers who teach Mandarin.
Principals and staff of at least 10 renowned private schools that THT talked to said Mandarin was a compulsory subject in their institutions. These schools are: Apex Life, Matribhumi, Rajarshi Gurukul, Shuvatara, Rato Bangala, Learning Realm International, Malpi City, Pathshala Nepal (both in Bagdol and Baneshwor) and United.
Many more private schools in Pokhara, Dhulikhel and other parts of the country have also made Mandarin compulsory for students, according to Shiv Raj Pant, board of trustee, founder and chairman of LRI School.
“Schools are allowed to teach foreign languages, but they cannot make those subjects mandatory for students,” said Ganesh Prasad Bhattarai, information officer at the Curriculum Development Centre, a government body which designs school-level academic curriculum. “If a subject has to be made compulsory, it is us who take the decisions, not the schools.”
Schools that THT talked to were aware of this provision, but they have simply overlooked it, as they are getting Mandarin teachers for free.
“We introduced Mandarin as a compulsory subject two years ago after the Chinese Embassy agreed to provide teachers free of cost,” said Kuldip Neupane, principal at United School.
Other schools also confirmed that salaries of Mandarin teachers were being paid by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. “We only need to provide stipend to Chinese teachers to cover their accommodation and food costs,” said Hari Dahal, principal of Apex Life School.
Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Ji Guangli did not want to comment on the issue. He asked THT to talk to the official at the embassy’s education wing. But the education wing official did not respond to THT’s multiple calls and text messages.
The craze for learning Mandarin is growing worldwide, as China has become the world’s second largest economy, offering ample opportunities to people across the globe to maximise earnings. Many Nepalis also want to cash in on this trend and thus encourage their children to learn Mandarin.
“Learning Chinese has become very essential, as China’s influence is growing worldwide. So, Mandarin will provide a competitive edge to our students,” said LRI School’s Pant.
Many parents agree with Pant. “But schools should have consulted us before making the subject mandatory for students,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, president of the Nepal Guardians’ Federation.
A snap survey conducted by THT showed that only one school — Meridian International — had called a parent-teacher meeting before adding Mandarin to its curriculum. “We have not made this subject compulsory to students as well,” said the school’s principal Prabhu Lal Shah.
Surprisingly, the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal, the umbrella body of private schools, is unaware of addition of Mandarin as a compulsory subject in many schools. “This is illegal,” said PABSON General Secretary Kumar Ghimire.
What is also illegal is the practice of teaching Mandarin during school hours. Schools are not allowed to teach any foreign language within school hours, according to Bhattarai of the Curriculum Development Centre. But none of the school that THT talked to has obliged despite being aware of the provision.
“We will not take any action, as schools fall under the domain of local governments,” said Bhattarai. Many local governments do not have the capacity to monitor schools, as they are still learning the ropes of the federal system, while many are reeling under the shortage of staff.
“We know children should be allowed to make choices. So, if there are volunteers who wish to teach Japanese and German, we will always welcome them,” Khyam Nath Timsina, principal of Shuvatara School said.
An illegal act
A version of this article appears in print on June 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.
LIVERPOOL: Premier League champions Liverpool maintained their 100% start to the season with a 3-1 win against Arsenal at Anfield on Monday leaving them level on nine points with pacesetters Everton and Leicester City. The visitors took the lead through an Alexandre Lacazette strike but L Read More...
LONDON: Aston Villa moved into the Premier League top four after they strolled to a 3-0 win at Fulham thanks to goals from Jack Grealish, Conor Hourihane and Tyrone Mings in a lopsided contest on Monday. The result left Villa, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, fourth on a maximu Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 Private hospitals have fixed their own rate for conducting polymerase chain reaction tests, saying that the fee allocated by the Ministry of Health and Population was too less. Eight private hospitals and labs, including HAMS Hospital, Star Hospital, B&B Hospital an Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today issued two ordinances to increase jail sentence for acid attackers and to regulate the sale and distribution of acid and other harmful chemicals. One of the ordinances amended the new penal code, proposing to increase jail term for a Read More...
The unemployment problem cannot be addressed unless all levels of govt work together to create jobs within the country Unemployment is a big problem in Nepal. That is why youths in large numbers migrate to other countries, mostly India, the Middle East, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, where they e Read More...
The travelogue of Chinese pilgrim Faxian was the earliest testimony to describe the healthcare system in ancient South Asia. It is close to the description by the earliest Ayurvedic compendium, Charaka Samhita Ayurveda has become a buzzword in the contemporary setting of medicine in the era of COVI Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 28 Six student leaders of Nepal Student Union, the student wing of major opposition Nepali Congress, were arrested today for staging a protest outside the Chinese Embassy at Baluwatar against the alleged border encroachment by the Chinese side in Humla district. The NSU le Read More...
A police team has been deployed from Province Police Office, Janakpur, to investigate the case RAJBIRAJ, SEPTEMBER 28 A 50-year-old woman was found dead at Mayanakaderi village, Ward No 2 of Tirhut Rural Municipality, Saptari, yesterday. The body of Dayaman Devi, wife of local Shiv Narayan, w Read More...