Himalayan News Service
Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel said the ministry was currently focusing on the government’s enrollment campaign, distribution of textbooks and increasing literacy rate.
Speaking at an interaction with social development ministers of the provinces today, Minister Pokharel said the ministry had delayed dissolution of district education offices by three months as there was no authority at the local levels currently to manage and regulate the education sector.
He also urged the provincial ministers not to go on foreign visits until the provincial government formulated education related policy. “I request the provincial governments to focus on formulation of education policy so as to reduce confusion regarding jurisdiction of the local levels and provinces.’’
Province 5 Minister for Social Development Sudarsan Baral urged the central government to hand over universities to the provincial governments. He said although the government provided funding to madrasas, there was no policy regarding fulfillment of vacant posts of teachers.
Likewise, Minister for Social Development of Karnali Province Dal Rawat said, “Our Province can generate more revenue from hydro power, tourism and production of herbs than any other province. If investments were made in such sectors, the province would emerge as one of the richest in terms of revenue generation.
“Minister for Social Development of Province 4 Nardevi Pun said the provincial government should be given the power to appoint teachers as well as open new schools.
Government is on full energy to make the enrollment campaign a success. However, a great obstacle lies in the large number of students being out of the school for various complicated reasons. School employees and concerned people have said that the major reason for students being outside the school is the conflicts at home and household crisis. In this light, the campaign led by Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel to provide the full set of books and education materials along with scholarship is less likely to solve the problem of students.
According to the data of Department of Education, still 3 lacs and 13 thousand children aged 5 to 12 years of age are deprived of school education. Similarly, 88 thousand students aged 5 to 9 years of age are deprived of education in the primary level. The maximum number of children in the age group of 5 to 12 years are in Sarlahi district number of which is 25 thousand 8 hundred and 36. Similarly the number of this age group students is 24 thousand 8 hundred and 36 in Dhanusha,, 22 thousand 9 hundred and 38 in Rautahat, 21 thousand 5 hundred and 14 in Parsa, 20 thousand and 4 hundred in Bara, 18 thousand 5 hundred and 56 in Kapilvastu, 18 thousand and 99 in Morang, 16 thousand and 24 in Sunsari, 15 thousand and 4 hundred in Rupandehi, 13 thousand 4 hundred and 34 in Saptari, 13 thousand 4 hundred and 11 in Siraha and 11 thousand 7 hundred and 52 in Mahottari.
Additionally, Department of Education says that Province 2 is on the top for majority of the students outside of school comprising the 49 % of the total. 82 thousand 4 hundred and 20 girl students and 71 thousand 3 hundred and 99 boys are out of school in the Province 2.
According to the education expert, Professor Binay Kusiyat, the children who have been facing the socio-economic crisis are outside of the school. He further question on the policy of the government regarding the problem of unawareness in the children and family about the importance of going to school and education. He says that the government has no planning for that. Kusiyat further adds that the several kinds of problems faced by the students has caused them to abandon school mid way. The lack of desk and benches in the schools of Terai has compelled them to carry sack for the sitting material which is one reason for them to not wanting to go to school. Similarly, he says the superstition of un-touchability and difficulty in the involvement in the school is another problem. Child labour at home and field due to the financial crisis in the family is another problem. Different INGOs have also revealed that the household violence is one of the reasons for children not going to school.
The campaign may be successful to quite an exent of tgetting the students in the school but continuity is very hard to achieve. Hence, education experts have recommended that the awareness programs for families about the importance of enrolling the children in school are crucial for the enrollment and continuity of children in the school.