More play, less work

Economic viability is what spurs the private sector to make its presence felt in a big way in the education sector. At the same time, despite the repeated commitment by the government to do the utmost for quality education, the situation is still gloomy. This is happening when the enrolment in public schools is very high in comparison to the private sector educational institutions. Yet, the quality disparity still stands out glaringly. The fee structure is what is most attractive of the public schools for students but only a handful of them have made it big when it comes to the result scenario. As for the school teachers, the public school teachers have no room to complain about their salaries. For private school teachers, the case is different with some receiving attractive pay packets but the majority have very little to be satisfied about.

Both the private and public school teachers have the same workload but the exploitation of

the former is making headlines these days as they have embarked on a phasewise protest programme demanding, among others, granting permanent status to higher secondary teachers. The higher secondary teachers have also gone to the extent of closing down the teaching-learning activities throughout the country. This is, no doubt, an issue of great concern as it is related to education. Such a movement has come at a time when the educational sector is going through difficulties. This is not only related to the school level studies but even at the higher level. For schools, the 5% tax issue has diverted their attention from the actual task at hand. While university education, particularly related to the oldest and biggest Tribhuvan University, is suffering because of political interference and the complaint of the lack of adequate funds. Starting from the appointment of the officials as if they were dividends to the actual design and implementation of the syllabus, everything is in a mess.

In this unusual context, the government has been reiterating that educational institutions ought not to be commercially motivated, but in reality, commercialisation is conspicuous. For this, the system is responsible. Either the political set-up opt for blanket public schools or allow the private ones to be tied down to a set of enforceable rules and regulations, without impunity. Without either of them taking hold, the educational sector is in a quagmire that is to suggest that the private schools are doing what they like best financially while the majority of the public schools are in the limelight because of non-performance according to the set criteria. The lack of accountability is the key factor that has taken its toll on the educational sector. This is particularly so when no definite line has been forthcoming from the education ministry because of the fact that long term policies and programmes are not in place with only stop-gap measures dominating. Moreover, the political parties represented in the coalition have more partisan interests rather than give a moment’s thought to the bright future of the coming generation.