Public school teachers launch protests demanding the federal government manage them


The Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU,   Against constitutional provisions, Nepal Teachers’ Federation has issued an ultimatum to the federal government demanding that the centre should manage public school teachers and not the local governments. 

The federation says that if local governments recruit teachers, there will not be uniformity in the teachers’ appointments.

The demands of the federation, which is an umbrella body of public school teachers, comes at a time when the Federal Public Service Commission is facing criticism for recruiting government employees for the local governments, though the authority lies with the provinces. 

Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the federation said it will not cooperate with the federal government if its demands are not addressed. 

It has also demanded the formation of a teaching council that will issue teaching licence and also renew them. The leaders of the federation said the government had promised that public school teachers would be recruited by the Federal Teacher’s Service Commission and managed by the federal government, and now it’s time they fulfilled that promise.

“There must be uniformity in the teachers’ appointment. If local governments start recruitment teachers themselves, we are worried that the quality of teaching will go down,” said Laxmi Kishor Subedi, general-secretary at the federation. 

He said the government must incorporate their demands in the law, as a guarantee for the implementation. The federal government is currently preparing a draft of the federal education bill. 

The local governments, however, say everyone has the right to put forth demands but the federal government must be mindful of the constitutional provisions before forging any deal. “Placing public school teachers under the federal government is unconstitutional. I am hoping there won’t be any attempts to breach the constitution,” Home Narayan Shrestha, chairman of the National Association of Rural Municipalities, told the Post. 

Schedule 8 of the statute gives the local governments explicit authority to manage school education, from hiring teachers to allowing them to prepare their own curriculum. 

The central government last year had directed the local level to not prepare any new rules without its consent. The move has been challenged in the Supreme Court and is sub-judice at present. 

Shrestha said many local governments have already started recruiting teachers on their own, enjoying their constitutional authority. Jugal Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchok, where Shrestha is a chairman, has recruited 45 teachers on its own. “There are dozens of others who now have their own teachers,” he added. “Local governments are competent enough to recruit the teachers of their needs. The claim that quality teachers can be recruited only at the central level is fundamentally wrong.” 

Along with the teacher recruitments, the local governments are also adopting their own curriculum, making the public school teachers and government employees mandatory to enroll their children in government schools, in an attempt to improve in the quality they deliver.