Feb 8, 2018-Many local bodies are still clueless on how to manage do administration of schools in their areas even after more than seven months of their elections.
The Local Level Governance Act, which was introduced on October 15 last year, states that all the district level mechanisms of the school sector will be closed after six months of the Act coming into force and their authority would be delegated to the local governments.
In other words, the local governments will have to handle the responsibilities of district education offices (DEOs) starting April 15.
The DEOs responsibilities include granting permission to new schools, conducting exams of grade eight, managing teachers and coordinating with the central government on policy issues.
“Despite the authority entrusted to the local governments, there seems to be a state of confusion over school sector management,” Prahlad Aryal, the education officer of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, told an interaction in the Capital recently.
Aryal is of the view that the failure of the centre to adapt to the concept of decentralisation coupled with the lack of experience among the local bodies to execute their tasks as per the spirit of the constitution are the main reasons the issue of school sector management in the changed context has not made much progress so far.
The local bodies have little over two months before the transfer of responsibilities so far fulfilled by the DEOs.
The Act, which guides the functioning of the local bodies, has listed 23 points that the local governments can do in the school sector. In addition, the Ministry of Education has also given 18-point Terms of Reference to the education officers.
However, several local body officials have been claiming that their functions have been limited to allocating salaries to teachers and other school staff.
Officials at the Education Ministry say three draft bills on Local and Provincial Education Act, Federal Education Act and Act for Compulsory Education are being formulated which are expected to clarify the roles of local, provincial and federal governments in school sector management.
Once these bills are authenticated and passed, the local governments will be empowered to develop their own regulations to guide the school sector, according to the ministry officials.
Source: The Kathmandu Post, published on 8th Feb, 2018.