Educational vacancies Reward capability, not political affiliation
After the restoration of democracy in 2046 people expected that the capable persons would get a chance to be a part of national development by getting important responsibilities. Unfortunately, the democratic movement divided the professionals into several factions and those who could run faster to please their masters got the lion’s share of the pie. The rest of the pie was distributed among the loyal servants of those political parties which ruled the country. This character of the political parties never let the professionals unite for national development and this led to crises in the country for more than a decade.
Professionals are supposed to have long-term vision which would help solve problems and not create them. The country got into trouble in every sector in general and in education in particular. Educational appointments like vice chancellors, rectors, registrars, executive directors, divisional heads, secretary of education were all based on political affiliation of the persons concerned rather than their capacity to lead the institutions. This has created chaos in the educational field. Even after the recent people’s movement, the government is doing the same thing without responding to people’s wishes. When will they be able to assess the situation? Many positions have been lying vacant in education sector and the clever rabbits have already made their position strong, leaving the capable tortoises far behind.
After Parliament passes the education law many more vacancies will be created. Major parties like the NC and the CPN-UML are going to divide those positions placing their near and dear ones in the decision-making positions regardless of their capabilities. Do these rulers have a roster of capable professionals? Do they believe in competitiveness which is a hallmark of democracy? If not, are they democrats? If they think they are, then let the positions be filled through open competition. The worst thing in the past 17 years is that the rulers never prioritised the country’s development; they only wanted to hold on to their positions by appointing incapable people.
In fact, university appointments have been more political than others. In TU, even peons need to identify their political affiliation to secure their job or get a new appointment. Can TU tell the public openly that the TU Service Commission has become impartial in recommending professors? Can it tell that appointments of campus chiefs, assistant campus chiefs, department heads, subject committee heads and other divisional heads in the central office were appointed free of political bias? Can the MoES tell the public that major positions in Higher Secondary Education Board and CTEVT are based on people’s capability? Can the government itself claim that the positions in the National Planning Commissions are politically free appointments?
Poor tortoises, who have more capability than these appointees, are left frustrated, and trying for an opportunity to go outside the country permanently. It is natural that they will be compelled to sell their skills abroad if their own motherland does not recognise them. They are still waiting for their expertise to be utilised within the country. These people are loyal to the country but how long can they hold their patience? In the context of building a new Nepal, nobody should be left behind simply because they have not raised political flags to please their masters.
Developed countries are buying brains from other countries to assist in their developmental activities and we are producing them by investing a lot of money and selling them to become somebody else’s servants. Out of four million Nepalis who have gone abroad only a handful are enjoying professionalism; the rest are underemployed. What more examples does the government need if a Ph.D. holder is cleaning pots at McDonald’s? One can see professors and secretaries applying for a DV to reside in the US. About 15,000 students leave Nepal each year for studies but never return, why? They know they will be left behind as they do not have political affiliation.
Can the new government think of capable Nepalis rather than power-mongers? Such a situation can be seen in bureaucracy too. One can see the transfers immediately after a government is formed. There have been many transfers in the MoES positions, at the centre and in districts, after this government was formed. That’s why there are factions among government officials who can never unite for the activities they are supposed to carry out. This has negatively affected the service delivery to the general public. Unfortunately, they draw their regular salary out of the taxes paid by the public.
To get rid of all these anomalies, the government should be free of political bias. Whoever comes to power should show the courage to provide equal opportunities to the capable ones. Filling top most positions in any organisation and/or institute should be fair and free of political affiliations.
Dr. Wagley is professor of Education, TU