Local govts find it hard managing education sectorSix months after the local level elections, the elected local governments are still in dilemma over managing the education sector, mainly due to lack of staff, infrastructure and unclear law.
Six months after the local level elections, the elected local governments are still in dilemma over managing the education sector, mainly due to lack of staff, infrastructure and unclear law.
The Constitution of Nepal authorises the local governments to govern the education sector up to grade 12. The task includes curriculum design, teacher management, conducting examinations and evaluating students. Payment to teachers and support staff, infrastructure building, issuing school operation licence, upgrading schools and monitoring schools also comes under the jurisdiction of the local governments.
“We don’t have resource, staff, infrastructure and the existing legal provisions are not clear,” said Prahlad Aryal chief of education department in Kathmandu Metropolitan City. “How can we work in such environment?”
Currently, the Local Level Governance (LLG) Act which guides the functioning of the local government has listed 23 points that the local governments can do in the education sector. The spirit of the constitution is to dissolve District Education Offices and transfer the authority of developing education sector to the local governments. But the local governments have accused that the District Education Offices themselves are causing a hindrance, and their functions have been limited to allocating salaries for teachers and the school staff.
The officials from the Ministry of Education, however, say the local governments can perform all functions mentioned in the LLG Act. “We agree that are some practical problems, but nothing is stopping the local government from working as envisioned in the Act,” said Hari Lamsal, the ministry’s spokesperson.
He also informed that the ministry was formulating three bills for the Acts which will make clear the roles of local, provincial and federal governments.A team is working on the drafts of Local and Provincial Education Act, Federal Education Act and Act for Compulsory Education.
The jurisdiction row between the three levels of government is expected to end after these Acts come into effect.Education expert Bidhyanath Koirala said, “The statute has authorised local government to manage the school education. They are commencing their works and it’s our role to encourage them.”
Experts say as the local bodies bear the sole responsibility to maintain the quality of education, they must have every authority to manage the education the way they like. As around 90 percent of the budget goes to salary, the local federal units will have to generate their own resources to invest for quality education.
The Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer Act endorsed by Parliament in the first week of October authorises the local level bodies to use 25 percent of the royalty collected from natural resources. It also permits them to levy tax on vehicles, housing registration, rent, land revenue, entertainment, advertisement, business and hoarding boards.
They can collect revenues from tourism, service tax and natural resources, among others. Excise duty and value added tax raised in each local unit will be deposited in the federal fund, 15 percent of which will be given back to the local bodies.