Centre for Education threatens to cut student facilities if public schools don’t update student dataLocal governments say they have been unable to update the data as they lack administrative staff.
With hundreds of public schools across the nation failing to update information relating to their students, the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development has threatened to cut off facilities and student scholarships if they delay any longer.
Issuing a circular on Monday to local governments, the centre, under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, asked them to ensure that all public schools comply with its directives by Friday.
The centre had asked the schools to log all information regarding students into the Integrated Education Management Information System by June. With no response from schools, the centre had postponed the deadline three times, with September 17 as the final deadline. However, the centre still hasn’t received data from hundreds of schools from across the nation.
Local governments, however, say they are ready to share student data with the centre, but they lack the staff required to upload the data.
“Dozens of local governments are functioning without education staff. I ask the federal government to allocate the staff we require before expecting us to cooperate,” Hom Narayan Shrestha, chairperson of the Rural Municipal Association of Nepal, told the Post. Even Friday’s deadline could be missed as local governments may not be able to dispatch the information on time due to the lack of administrative staff, he said.
Under each local government, education departments, led by their chairperson or mayor, are responsible for overseeing school-level education. Each department is supposed to have either a section officer or an under-secretary to look after administrative work. However, two years since the local governments came into effect, dozens still lack administrative staff.
Local officials admitted that they had failed to meet deadlines due to a staff shortage but took exception to the centre’s threats, saying that education falls under the jurisdiction of local governments.
“The centre has no authority to bar our schools from any facilities under any pretext,” said Shrestha.
Officials at the centre, however, said that they felt the need to issue the threatening circular as education planning has been delayed due to a lack of data from the local levels.
“We were flexible with the deadline as we are aware of the lack of staff,” Shankar Thapa, deputy director at the centre, told the Post. “Stern measures had to be taken as the schools and local governments failed to comply with repeated requests.”
Education experts also believe it was wrong on the part of the federal government to threaten local governments, which are autonomous.
“Students will ultimately suffer if scholarships or other school facilities are withdrawn,” said Binay Kusiyait, a professor at Tribhuvan University. “It is also wrong to cut the privileges of students in the name of penalising schools and local governments.”
The centre should work as a facilitator, rather than issuing threatening circulars, he said.
Although the Constitution of Nepal provides explicit authority to local governments to make decisions regarding school education, the federal government is reluctant to devolve the power it has enjoyed for decades. The jurisdiction row between the local and federal governments has been going on ever since the three tiers of government were established.
In January, advocate Sunil Rajan Singh even filed a writ against the federal government, alleging that it had breached the jurisdiction of local governments in the education sector. The writ is currently sub judice at the Supreme Court.
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