Supreme Court directs authorities not to implement grade 11 new curriculaCourt rules federal government should not be enforcing the curricula when local governments have the authority to manage school education.
Amid a dispute between the government and private schools over the adoption of new curricula for grade 11, the Supreme Court has asked the government not to implement them for now.
Responding to a writ filed by Bhagwata Aryal, a representative of guardians, the court directed the government on Thursday to keep its decision to adopt the new courses on hold. The ruling comes at a time when the new academic session has already started.
The court argued that it was not justifiable for the federal government to prepare the curricula when local governments have the authority to manage school education. Schedule 8 of the Constitution of Nepal entrusts local governments with the responsibility of managing basic and secondary schools.
“Put the implementation of the new curriculum on hold until a further decision,” reads the order. The petitioner had moved the court against the decision of the Ministry of Education to implement the new curricula from the ongoing academic session citing problems in the new arrangement.
The curriculum has been dragged into a controversy for keeping mathematics an optional subject.
In the new academic set-up, students will have to study six subjects each in grades 11 and 12 instead of the five at present. Three of these subjects are compulsory—English, Nepali and Social Studies in grade 11 and Life Skills Education in grade 12—and three others students can choose as per their interest. There are 80 elective subjects divided into four groups.
Mathematics is one among the 80 optional subjects the students can choose from. Guardians and academicians have been objecting to the arrangement while private schools too demanded a serious discussion among the stakeholders before implementing it.
The new courses, according to the Curriculum Development Centre, have been designed to switch to a single-track curriculum for grades 11 and 12 from a system of four disciplines currently in practice. Students after grade 10 Secondary Education Examination are currently enrolled in Science, Management, Humanities or Education, studying five subjects in each discipline.
Private school operators are reluctant to adopt the new curricula despite repeated directives from the Education Ministry.
The ministry on October 20 reminded schools across the country that the government has already introduced new curricula and asked them to devise teaching-learning activities accordingly. It also asked guardians to ensure before enrolling their children that the respective schools have adopted the new curricula.
“It’s good that the Supreme Court intervened in the government’s wrong decision,” said Lok Bahadur Bhandari, general secretary of the Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association, a grouping of private schools running grades 11 and 12.
“The ministry should now put off the curriculum and implement it based on consensus among all the stakeholders from next year.”
Urban centric private schools have already started virtual classes for grade 11 based on the old courses.
As per the Secondary Education Examination results published by the National Examination Board on August 17, some 450,000 students are eligible to join grade 11 this year. Of the 482,986 who had registered for the exams, the exam controller’s office had received the marks for 472,078 students from their respective schools.
Government officials, however, say since it’s an interim ruling, the court will revoke the decision while delivering its final judgement. “We expect the court to make a rightful decision,” said Ganesh Bhattarai, director at the curriculum centre.