Local governments ignore anti-graft body’s directive to stop teacher hiringVacancies were announced based on the statutory authority the local level enjoys, they say.
The dispute over teacher appointment at the local level has refused to die down, as local governments have started the recruitment process ignoring the directive from the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
The constitutional anti-graft body last week barred the local governments from appointing teachers at government schools, citing the absence of a legal provision for the same. Acting on a complaint registered against the appointment of teachers by the Jagarnathpur Rural Municipality in Parsa, which said local governments were not following the education regulations, the watchdog took a corrective decision and notified the federal government about it.
The rural municipality chairperson had appointed two teachers—Pramod Ram and Nausad Aalam. During their service tenure, they had received Rs241,700 in remuneration in four months. But the District Treasury Office, Parsa, categorised such payment as arrears and promptly lodged a complaint with the anti-graft body.
Based on the directive from the commission, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration on October 16 notified all the local governments about the views of the anti-graft body. However, a week after the directive, the local governments have started the recruitment process.
Madhya Nepal Municipality, Lamjung, on Monday issued a vacancy notice for seven teachers on contract for the secondary and lower secondary levels.
“The vacancy notice was published based on the constitutional authority we enjoy,” Raj Kumar Shrestha, deputy-mayor at the municipality, told the Post. Schedule 8 of the statute gives local governments explicit authority to manage school education, which means the local governments can hire and fire teachers, develop curricula and hold examinations up to the 12th grade. The federal government has, however, been taking several steps to curtail their authority.
Shrestha said they were not bothered about the directive as the decision fully adhered to the constitution.
In its directive, the commission had asked the local governments to follow the Education Regulations which says the school management committee appoints the teachers only after certification from the District Education Office that those positions were vacant. Representatives of local governments say while they are open to follow the due legal process before the appointments, they are against any directive that compels them to seek the federal government’s permission. “We are not against following the due legal course but any sorts of imposition are unacceptable,” said Hom Narayan Shrestha, president of the National Association of Rural Municipalities.
Recruitment by public schools has been one of the most disputed issues between the federal and local governments.
The Centre for Education and Human Resource Development, under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, in April asked its offices in the districts to hire teachers on contract basis in the positions that fell vacant after temporary teachers, who failed the test for permanent posting, retired. The local governments took the federal government’s move as a breach to their constitutional authority and an attempt to continue its monopoly at every level of government.
The associations of local governments, Municipal Association of Nepal and National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal, the umbrella bodies of local governments, had even issued a statement and met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and ministers to remind them the spirit of the constitution.
A writ demanding clarification of the jurisdiction between the local and federal governments over the management of school education has been sub judice in the Supreme Court for the past 10 months.