THT 10 YEARS AGO: Rs 44.7m wasted to train teachers

Bhaktapur, April 9, 2007

It is a story of a Himalayan waste of taxpayers’ money; Rs 44.7 million, to be exact. This happened mainly due to lack of coordination between the two government bodies — the National Centre for Education Development (NCED) and the Department of Education. The NCED spent Rs 44.70 million (this does not include the expenses incurred on the trainers’ salaries, perks and the amount spent on hostel facilities) providing 10-month long teachers’ training to persons from the disadvantaged groups from remote areas for three years since 2004. A total of 1,490 persons were thus trained. But only 16 per cent of those trained have found employment in community run primary schools. This when the country needs 62,000 teachers in the public schools. It was ironic that such a good intentioned programme was made without proper homework or the will to implement. Of those who were given the training, only around 200 have joined the teaching force. And the rest? Cooling their heels in villages or running from pillar to post for employment. Bishnu Thaiba, director at NCED, told this daily that the school management committees hire the teachers in community primary schools and that they give lesser priority to teachers from the backward communities who had availed of this training. In the first three years beginning 2004, a total of 1,490 fellowships were distributed to the candidates; about 97 per cent of them were female and 57 per cent of them were Dalits, the target groups in the 12 remote districts where the training was provided.

Polls on June 20? Tell that to the Marines!

Kathmandu, April 9, 2007

Once upon a time a wag remarked: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of the act. Daddy says the constituent assembly (CA) polls can be held on June 20 if the political parties (read the eight-party monolith) worked in unison. But the Daughter says ‘given the present circumstances’, it’s well-nigh impossible. CPN-UML chieftain Madhav Kumar Nepal once again smells a rat whereas the recently baptised messiah of competitive democracy, Comrade Prachanda, continues to believe the raised-fisted rhetoric of his is all that the Nepalis require to force ‘revolutionary’ changes they want and aspire for. The trouble is: All are dead wrong. The CA polls, hopefully the last benchmark in the making of a people’s constitution, is not just a peace-building exercise; it entails a whole lot of activities backed by legal sanctions. Political settlement of all the major disputes, removal of security concerns and technical management of the electoral process should precede, rather than follow, the announcement of the date for CA polls nationwide. And that is looking increasingly tough at this point in time. The lead time given to hold a by-and-large fair and free poll is simply not enough.