The schedule eight of the statute states that the local level units can manage basic (1-8) and secondary (9-12) levels. However, the two amendments that were made to the Education Act-1972 postulate that the local governments authority can manage only upto grade eight.
The officials currently appointed in the local governments are responsible to take up the responsibility under the existing provision in the Education Act however they have indicated that the task would be a daunting responsibility. “We neither have adequate officials nor expertise at the moment to handle education up to grade 12. We will gradually expand our jurisdiction as per the constitutional provision,” Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Bidhya Sundar Shakya had told to the post.
According to Shakya, it would take the metropolis at least a couple of years to manage education up to the secondary level. The Local Level Governance Act anticipates to form an education committee under the chairperson of the local level unit for coordination in managing school level education. Each local unit will have an education unit, headed by a section officer in the rural municipality and an under-secretary at municipality, for managing the administrative works.
The Department of Education, which had empowered the local level units to provide salaries for the teachers in their areas, asked the subordinate offices last week to support the local level governments to conduct the grade eight examinations scheduled for March next year. This indicates that the examinations of classes above grade eight will still be conducted from the central government.
The eighth amendment to the Education Act authorises the Central Examination Board (CEB) to conduct the examinations of grade 10 and above. Its provincial offices will hold the Secondary School Examination after grade 10, while the grade 12 board exam will be administered by the central body.
Education experts say that the local governments will need some time and it needs to be strengthened for the responsibility to be given. “This is a gradual process. The efforts now should be in empowering the local government in taking charge the statute bestows upon them,” said Basu Dev Kafle, an education expert.
(Source: The Kathmandu Post)