Education Ministry issues circular, asking local governments to stop teacher hiringLocal governments say the move infringes upon their constitutional mandate.
The federal government has put a brake on the initiative of the local level to hire teachers on their own. Issuing a circular on Tuesday, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology asked all the local governments to stop the recruitment of teachers for now.
The local governments have been appointing teachers in public schools as mandated by the constitution. Schedule 8 of the Constitution of Nepal gives local governments explicit authority to manage school education, which means they can hire and fire teachers, develop curricula and hold examinations up to the 12th grade on their own. The federal government has, however, been taking several steps to curtail their authority.
“The education units at the local level are asked to stop teacher hiring,” reads the directive.
With the powerful local governments coming into being two years ago, they have been making attempts to transform the school education.
Appointment of fresh graduates to replace old teachers is one of their steps. For instance, Changu Narayan Municipality in July introduced a retirement package for teachers above 50 years of age. The municipality is preparing to recruit freshers in their place. The initiative of the municipality will be hampered by the ministry’s recent directive.
The association of local governments says the directive infringes upon their constitutional authority to manage the entire school education.
“We ask the federal government to revoke its directive,” Bansa Lal Tamang, general-secretary of the National Association of Rural Municipalities, told the Post. “Even if it doesn’t, we won't follow it.”
He said a majority of local governments have formulated their own laws to clear the way for teacher management and that the hiring is in accordance with that. Tamang said the federal government has taken steps one after another in curtailing the authority of the local level.
There are 753 local governments—rural municipalities, municipalities, sub-metropolitan cities and metropolises—across the country.
The constitution provides them with an independent status, and they don’t come under the federal or provincial governments.
“We want the federal government to let us function independently,” said Tamang. Local governments in December last year submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, urging him to ensure that the federal government doesn’t encroach on their authority.
Their move came after the federal government asked them not to formulate any laws without its consent.
A writ filed by advocate Sunil Rajan Singh claiming that the federal government’s circular to stop local governments from formulating laws is unconstitutional. The case is sub judice in Supreme Court.