School learning will continue from June 15: Education Minister

Kathmandu / June 9: Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokhrel has said school learning will be continued from Asar 1 (June 15), so as to not let the academic session go unproductive during the coronavirus pandemic.

In his replies, in a meeting of the House of Representatives today, to queries raised during the deliberations on the ‘Appropriation Bill, 2077 BS’, the Minister said recommendations of a High Level Committee (formed by the Ministry) had been sought for immediate, mid-term and long-term plans for education sector in the wake of coronavirus impact and the implementation had begun.

As he said, there is coordination among the Federal, state and local level governments to go with online, remote or distance learning, radio or television classes or operation of classes from other alternative means from June 15 by issuing a guideline relating to learning facilitation being based on the recommendations.

”Time has sought a shifting to self-study and technology-based education from formal education system and the guideline addressing those having less access to facilities and with different abilities to conduct learning activities as time demands, making them contextual,” he said. ”A decision in regard with alternatives to the adjourned exams including the SEE will be taken soon,” he informed the House.

It may be noted that all academic institutions have remained closed since March 24 due to the lockdown and SEE exams as well as higher education board exams have been postponed owing to the growing risk of COVID-19.

According to the Minister, the constitution has guaranteed the right to education as the fundamental rights and for the first time the state has issued a socialism-oriented education policy and because of this, budget has been increased for transformation of community schools.

Adequate budget has been allocated for mid-day meal for school children up to primary level (class five) and distribute free sanitary pads to girls from grade six to ten under the government’s efforts to encourage enrollment, retain students and make teaching-learning activities effective.

The provisions for teachers teaching grants and volunteer teachers were meant for addressing teachers’ shortage issue, he described. He refuted the possibility of entry of ‘cadres of political parties’ in teaching field through the hiring of volunteer teachers as a procedure for the recruitment had been already prepared, he added.

He pledged the effective implementation of the ‘President Educational Improvement Programme’ and ‘Public School Strengthening Decade Programme’.

In his response to why it was decided to hand the responsibility of community schools’ improvement to private schools, he said the Finance Minister had already hinted that that was not happening. ” Private schools will not be given the responsibility of community schools’ improvement against the constitution and education policy.”

As he said, funds collected from private schools will be spend for the improvement of community schools through a set procedure. However, discussions for other suitable options are open, according to him.

Lawmakers Gagan Kumar Thapa, Prem Suwal among others put cross questions to the Minister. RSS

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