Centre tells local units to ensure students get textbooks on timeAs the new academic session got under way in the mountain districts on Wednesday, the federal government has asked the local governments to ensure students get their textbooks on time.
As the new academic session got under way in the mountain districts on Wednesday, the federal government has asked the local governments to ensure students get their textbooks on time.
Issuing a joint directive, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development have asked all the local governments to release the budget to the respective schools for purchasing the textbooks to make sure that all the students get their books on time. Although the government has been providing free textbooks, it has never been able to take them to the hands of students on time. The students mainly from the hills and mountains are forced to complete their academic session without even getting to see their textbooks till their final examinations. The new academic session in Dolpa, Humla, Jumla, Manang and Mustang commenced on Wednesday while it will start in mid-April in the rest of the country.
With three tiers of governments in place, and the constitution authorising the local government to manage school education, including ensure all the students have their sets of textbooks. “The required budget has already been dispatched to the local level units,” the Ministry of Education has said in the directive, asking the local governments to release the budget to the respective schools.
The budget has been dispatched, taking into consideration the number of students enrolled at schools under 753 local governments. The local governments have already started paying salaries to the schools teachers. There are some 29,000 public schools across the country with around 5.9 million pupils.
According to the MoE, the cost of textbooks for a student in grade 1 is Rs238, while Rs452 for grade 10 students.
Though the statute authorises the local governments to govern the education sector up to grade 12, under the newly introduced Local Level Governance (LLG) Act the local government has its jurisdiction for classes up to grade 8. Among the 26 point guidelines provided to the local governments under the Act are curriculum design, teacher management, conducting examinations and evaluating students. Paymentsto the teachers and support staff, infrastructure building, issuing school operation licence, upgrading schools and monitoring schools also come under the jurisdiction of the local governments.
The LLG will work as an interim law unless the local governments are empowered to take up the authority up to the higher secondary level.
The 753 local governments will be conducting the grade 8 examinations next month.