Quality education :Closing private schools not a solution

2014-04-05

Dr. Mana Prasad Wagley

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Closing private schools not a solution It is also true that just closing the private schools will not generate quality.This "muscle power" propaganda of the ANNFSU-R will never work in reality.

Ironically, the private schools and institutions have been the victims of the student unions, as they have to fulfil their monetary demands time and again.

Recently, the political stu dent wing of the Maoists, ANNFSU-R, decided to shut down all seven hundred schools run by the party cadres so as to mount pressure on others to shut down. This indicates that the Maoists do not speak the law of the land. Until and unless the MoE prepares a new Education Bill and the parliament passes the bill regarding the shutting down of the private schools, the hue and cry of the student union -as if they are the law makers -will not work.

Time and again, the student unions, consisting of political cadres rather than students, confuse the people. They politicize education without even thinking of the career goals and academics of their fellow students in schools and colleges. More than ninety per cent of the educational chaos in our country has been created by the student unions affiliated with different political parties. One can produce several evidences of their non-compliance with the rules and regulations, their indiscipline, their rude behavior with their own campus chiefs, teachers and head-teachers, their attitudes and so on. Whether it is the admission process, the scholarship provisions, the timely teaching process, the examinations, and even in the examinations results, the student unions have been the hurdles for the Universities and the MoE to implement the rules and regulations.
What does this indicate then? The sister organizations are mobilized by their mother political parties to ruin the system and create disturbances. If that is the case, why not the mother political parties discuss among themselves and resolve the issue prior to putting the education and career of the youth of this country in jeopardy?
The parents in the rural areas send their children to district headquarters, big cities and the capital for better education. Dreaming that their wards would have a better future, they are compelled to sell their properties and in most cases taking bank loans. Especially the aspirations of both the children and their parents are crushed in higher education. A four-year bachelor's program takes six years to complete. Nobody knows how long will it take for their Masters'. This chaos has pushed them to go abroad spending the hard-earned currency of the country and their own parents'. Those who have gone out rarely return to their motherland.
The most responsible for this kind of push factors are the student unions.

Those who are involved die-hard in politics want to create chaos and take benefits out of it so as to make their political career and millions of students are left behind repenting. This is exactly what is happening in Nepal's education system for the past several decades.

The recent ANNFSU-R announcement has been protested by their affiliated party cadres. And, they are right, as that decision is not the jurisdiction of the stu dents. Moreover, it is also true that just closing the private schools will not generate quality or the relevancy of education. This forceful "muscle power" propaganda will never work in reality.
Ironically, the private schools and institutions have been the victims of the student unions, as they have to fulfil their monetary demands time and again.
Moreover, it is well known to everybody that financial irregularities are the root cause of fights among members of the student unions in every campus, let alone the two major incidents in Trichandra College recently and last year.

If the student unions are thoughtful, and if they are really concerned with the educational development of the country, they should forward a move towards raising the quality of public schools where 17 per cent of the people's tax is invested.
What is their motto: Is it to protect the interest of 87 per cent of the students in public schools or to attack the institutions that hold only 13 per cent? The private schools will come to their size automatically when government-run public schools operate smoothly; nobody has to worry about that.

Hypothetically, if student unions forcefully shut down all the private schools, their dream of quality public schools will never come materialize. Those sending their children to private schools and those who aspire in future will start sending their children to neighboring countries like they did in 1970s and 1980s. At this stage, can the student unions close the border of the neighbors or ask them not to enrol our children?
Then their movement of closing private schools will turn into anti-nationalism pushing our kids outside incurring a huge loss to the national economy.

One can concur with them to the fact that the nation should take the responsibility of their citizen's education. And, it is also true that school education is the liability of the state. Even the national scenario seems positive towards this direction -free education till Grade Eight, and then a move towards Grade Ten. In this context, the role of student unions should be to assist the government -as laid down in the `Education Act' and `Education Regulations', but they are bent on wreaking havoc on the institutions and parents with threat-filled intentions.

Dr. Wagley is an educationist

(Source: The Himalayan Times)