NERF defies 'Peace Zone' decision Calls for Valley schools closure

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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Going against the government declaration of schools as a ‘Peace Zone’, Nepal Educational Republican Forum (NERF) today called for educational strike in Kathmandu Valley for June 13.

On May 25, the government had declared schools ‘Peace Zone’ to prohibit strikes, bandhs, political gatherings and other violent activities in schools.

At a press meet today, NERF said they were going to shut down all private and government schools from primary to higher secondary level on June 13 to mount pressure on the government to address their nine-point demand.

Hom Kumar Thapa, president of Nepal Institutional School Teachers Union, a member organisation of NERF, said, “The government had declared schools as a ‘Peace Zone’ without preparation and discussion with them.”

“How can the declaration be successful if the teachers themselves are not in peaceful state?” he questioned. He went on to add that government negligence of teachers’ demands had put the latter in a state of despair.

NERF has demanded that the government implement agreements reached with teachers in the past, declare the teachers and employees who had been killed during the decade-long conflict martyrs and give permanent status to temporary teachers.

They had also sought formation of a high-level panel to execute the new education policy and provision of quotas for higher secondary level teachers and training.

“The government should have consulted teachers and school employees to make the declaration a success,” he said. “However, it came from the blue keeping teachers and staff in the dark. Therefore, we have no option but to defy the declaration and resort to the strike.”

NERF will be staging a sit-in in front of the Constituent Assembly hall in New Baneshwor on the day of the strike.

Meanwhile, Suprabhat Bhandari, president, Guardians’ Association Nepal criticised the decision to shut schools. He said school closure is against students’ right to education. “If teachers hold talks with Education Ministry officials, they may shut the ministry, not schools. School shutdown amounts to punishment to students by depriving them of education,” said Bhandari

(Source: The Himalayan times)