The Legislature-Parliament whose tenure is less than one month hastily passed the most controversial Education Bill (ninth amendment) Tuesday dashing the hopes of new aspirants who have already passed the teaching license exams. There are over 700,000 teaching license holders who will have to sit for open competition exams only on 25 percent seats available in the community schools where the quality of education has been low compared to the private schools. The new bill passed by parliament is more regressive than the Education Bill (eighth amendment) which had proposed hiring 49 percent teachers at community schools through internal competition and the rest through open competition. The new bill to be endorsed by the president has proposed hiring 75 percent teachers from internal competition and only 25 percent of the vacant seats through open competition. There are 26,151 temporary teachers working at various community or public schools mostly in rural areas where the quality of education is pathetic, because most of the teachers are either cadres of various political parties or are incompetent. The bill was designed in such a way that the temporary teachers get better chances to become permanent or get a golden handshake even if they failed to score the minimum marks set by the Education Service Commission.
It is learnt that in the beginning the main opposition CPN-UML was opposed to the bill proposed by the Ministry of Education which had proposed hiring 75 percent teachers from internal competition. But the UML lawmakers in the concerned parliamentary committee agreed to the education minister’s proposal after top leaders of the major political parties “agreed to it”. Although some lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties opposed the contents of the bill on Tuesday when the bill was being passed, it made no difference as the political parties had already agreed to this provision. Interesting to note is that there were only 155 lawmakers present when the bill was passed, and it was 26.22 percent of the total strength of the House. The Education Bill (ninth amendment) has been amended while the eighth amendment bill endorsed last year had yet to be implemented. The eighth amendment bill has also barred people from opening up new educational institutions creating a syndicate system of the existing educational institutions.
Education experts and even some lawmakers have warned that blocking the open competition in the teaching profession will further degrade the quality of education at community schools for 20 years to come as the existing temporary teachers who will become permanent will stay put at the schools till that period. The Education Bill has not only barred the new aspirants from entering the teaching profession but has also denied children from getting quality education at public or community schools. Education Minister Gopalman Shrestha’s argument that qualified teachers will pass the exams is illogical. If 75 percent teachers are hired from among the temporary teachers how can one expects quality education when only 25 percent teachers are hired through an open competition? This is injustice to the new aspirants, children and guardians and is also against the principle of meritocracy. A law should not give special preference to a group of people over others.
Cases of burglaries have been reported to be more during the festive season. The burglars are usually repeat offenders. Over 40 per cent of the burglars turn to this crime after they have been released from jail. Since during the festivals many Valley dwellers return to their home towns the capital is virtually deserted. Burglaries take place mostly in unattended houses when the tenants and house owners leave for work. The police now intend to interrogate those in prison for burglaries. The information provided by them about other burglars who are free would enable the police to arrest them before they can carry about the criminal activities.
The number of burglaries has been increasing while the police report reduction in other crimes such as trade in small arms, extortion, forgeries, fraud and kidnapping and the like. The people are advised to place their valuables in banks and as far as possible to not leave their house unattended. The police plan to deploy extra police personnel in the deserted residential areas to discourage burglars who usually make off with gold and electronic gadgets.
The Himalayan Times, September 21, 2017
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