KATHMANDU: Despite the government’s declaration of schools zone as a zone of peace, one of the main stakeholder of school, teachers shut down schools today in the latest instance of defiance of the declaration and violation of the children’s right to education enshrined in the constitution.
The school closure, enforced at the call of Teachers’ Union of Nepal and Nepal Educational Republic Forum (NERF), an organisation comprising various teachers’ and school employees’ organisations, affected more than eight million students in around 33,000 schools across the country.
While the teachers and non-teaching school staff continue to trample on the declaration, the government is hesitant to take action against them.
Rose Nath Pande, joint spokesperson at the Ministry of Education, said the ministry cannot take action against the teachers because the ‘schools as a zone of peace’ declaration is yet to be endorsed.
He said the ministry has been trying to address the agitators’ demands through talks. Babu Ram Pokharel, newly elected president of the Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal, said they have extended moral support for the professional organisations of teachers and school employees. “We have to work with them, so we cannot ignore their request to shut the schools for a day in a bid to press the government to address their demands,” he said, but hastened to add that PABSON does not support all of the agitators’ demands.
“We have requested 6,000 member schools in 70 districts to shut as a mark of support for these professionals’ bodies,” Pokharel said.
With final exams round the bend, the schools will have to run additional classes on account of the bandh.
Agitating teachers today staged a rally from Shantibatika to MoE demanding that the government meet their demands. While staging a sit-in in front of the MoE, the teachers clashed with security personnel.
Home Kumar Thapa, president of the Nepal Institutional Schools Teachers’ Union (Nepal ISTU), which leads NERF, today said police arrested some 200 teachers from the MoE premises, while police said detained 55 teachers and released them later.
Hari Dev Yadav, vice president of the Nepal National Teachers’ Organisation (Lalitpur) sustained injuries in his head during a clash with police. He is receiving treatment at the Bir Hospital.
Thapa said the teachers will shut the schools nationwide tomorrow against the arrest of their colleagues from a peaceful protest.
He urged the government to take the teachers’ demands seriously and ward off educational strikes.
Agitating teachers had called students to attend classes on Saturday, a weekly holiday, as part of their nationwide protest.
Thapa said about 60 per cent institutional schools and 70 per cent community schools opened yesterday, while PABSON stated only a few private schools opened that day.
Suprabhat Bhandari, president of the Guardians’ Association of Nepal, said they are against the bandh.
“The teachers’ protest should not affect the children,” he said, urging teachers to change the modality of protest and the government to address the teachers’ demands without delay.
(Source: The Himalayantimes)