New academic programmes on the cards

Kathmandu, October 3:

The Department of Education (DoE) is all set to launch new programmes. It has updated teachers’ records, conducted school-mapping and collected details of schoolgoing children so as to make the new programmes effective.

The DoE aims, among other things, to provide identity cards to the schoolchildren, train schoolteachers and give away scholarships, and provide special packages to the conflict-hit children. Mahashram Sharma, the director at the DoE, said knowing the exact student-teacher ratio would help launch the programmes effectively.

While the DoE has been facing the shortage of teachers in the Terai districts, the number of teachers in hilly areas surpasses the demand. “The updated record will help address the problem of uneven distribution of teachers,” said Sharma. “It will also help forecast budget for teachers’ training and attain Education for All goals in stipulated time.”

The DoE is also keeping track of the teachers, who were on temporary assignment due to the conflict, to know whether or not they have reported to their designated areas.

A very few teachers are staying at district headquarters or in the valley for medical treatment, Sharma said. “Only those teachers, who produce medical certificates from physicians, will be allowed to stay in the valley or in the district headquarters for treatment,” said Sharma.

Ram Prasad Basyal, the undersecretary at the Education Ministry, said the ministry had issued a notice to all the ‘teachers on temporary assignment’ to report back to their designated areas as the situation in the districts has improved a lot.

“Action would be taken against those who have not gone to the designated areas to take up their assignments,” said Basyal, adding: “The schools and district education offices concerned can take action against the defiant teachers as per the rule”.

Citing improvement in circumstances in the districts, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) had directed all teachers of government schools, staying in the Kathmandu valley and district headquarters on temporary assignments, to report back to their schools in designated areas with effect from July 17.

Around 500 teachers were ‘on temporary assignment’ and were mostly based in the Kathmandu valley, district headquarters and comparatively safer places as per the recommendations of the District Security Committee. According to an official at the Department of Education, of the 500 teachers, around 100 teachers were given temporary assignments in schools in the Kathmandu valley.

The Education Ministry directed the teachers to report back to the designated schools after the seven-party alliance and the Maoists agreed on a 25-point code of conduct. In the code, among other things, the government and the Maoists agreed to ensure teachers’ security.

The teachers had been on ‘temporary assignment’ for five years. The number of teachers on temporary assignments rose sharply in 2004.