Kathmandu, July 1, 2005

The Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) and the Global Campaign for Education have termed Nepal one of the poorest performers in the education sector in the Asia-Pacific region. Out of the fourteen countries in the region, Nepal was placed in the eleventh position in a report titled the ‘Must Do Better’ released by the ASPBAE here today. According to the report, “Nearly a third of Nepal’s children are missing primary school; over half secondary school; and over two-thirds of adults are illiterate.” “The government’s lack of resourcefulness and political will to remove various sorts of fees for public education is no doubt a cause of these disappointing outcomes.” Moreover, the little access to education it offers is of poor quality and suffers from an acute lack of attention to girls’ education and the interlinked issues of gender disparity, inequality and inequity.” It further suggests, “Nepal can learn from its neighbours who face similar distractions at home yet still manage to do their homework.” Countries are graded and ranked on the basis of their performances on Complete Basic Education, State Action, Quality Inputs, Gender Equality and Overall Equity. Nepal was ranked ninth in the State Action with grade ‘F’, 14th in Complete Basic Education with grade ‘E’, ninth in Quality Inputs with grade ‘D’, 10th in gender equality with grade ‘D’, and sixth in overall equity with grade ‘E’.

Birgunj development projects in limbo

Birgunj, July 1, 2005

Delay in approving the budget, accompanied by irregularities on part of nominated representatives of the local bodies, has hampered the execution of development works in the Birgunj sub-metropolis. Though the sub-metropolis receives a budget of Rs 150 million every year for carrying out development works, no big project has been launched ever since the tenure of local bodies expired three years ago. During this time, the sub-metropolis has just widened a road and constructed sewers. Although mega-projects like the BP park project, construction of an exhibition hall and children’s park, have been approved, all of them are in limbo. “These projects could not be launched because budget was not approved in time,” Prakash Man Amatya of the sub-metropolitan office told this daily. “These projects will be launched in the next fiscal year. The budget for the fiscal year 2061/62 was approved only in December, no other work, save the widening of the 500-metre road between clock tower and the consulate general’s office, could be executed.” Officials of the sub-metropolitan office accused the representatives, who were nominated during the tenure of the then PM Surya Bahadur Thapa, of gobbling up funds in the name of building sewers and roads.