The Kathmandu Post
- BINOD GHIMIRE, KATHMANDU : The ongoing tussle between the federal and local governments has further intensified after the former decided to recruit teachers to fill vacant positions at the public schools on its own, ignoring repeated calls from the latter to get that authority.
The Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD), under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, on Friday asked its subordinate offices in the districts to hire teachers on contract basis in the positions that fell vacant after temporary teachers, who failed the test for permanent posting, retired. Around 13,000 teaching positions at the public schools are vacant. The local governments have taken the federal government’s move as a breach to their constitutional authority and an attempt to continue its monopoly at every level of government.
Issuing a joint statement, Municipal Association of Nepal and National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal, the umbrella bodies of local governments, have reminded the spirit of the Constitution of Nepal. “Though the statute gives explicit authority to the local governments to manage school education up to the secondary level, the federal government has breached it by trying to appoint temporary teachers on its own,” reads the statement.
“The federal government is repeatedly taking steps to undermine the constitutional authority of the local governments.” Schedule 8 of the statute gives local governments explicit authority to manage school education, which means that the local governments are free to hire and fire teachers, develop curricula and to hold examinations up to the twelfth grade.
The federal government has, however, taken a number of steps to curtail their authority. In order to continue its authority, the Education Ministry has set up coordination units at the district level to continue the works done by the erstwhile District Education Offices before the country embraced federalism. The federal government also has barred them from formulating laws needed to manage school education.
“We will continue to pressure the federal government to respect our constitutional authority,” said Ashok Kumar Byanju, chairperson of the Municipal Association. The leaders of both the associations of local governments are meeting Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to draw his attention to the matter.
Officials at CHERD say as the existing laws authorise the federal government for the appointment of teachers they worked accordingly. Deepak Sharma spokesperson for CHERD asked the local governments to wait till the necessary laws are in place.
The local governments, however, say as all the laws inconsistent with the spirit of constitution have become invalid to the extent of such inconsistency from March 5, there is no legal hurdle for the local governments to make the appointment. Article 304 of the constitution says any law that is inconsistent it will be invalid to the extent of such inconsistency one year after the first meeting of the federal parliament.