Political parties block community school merger and teacher adjustment plan in RolpaRolpa district education unit says efforts to improve community schools have been stymied by political parties.
Several local bodies in Rolpa district have prepared a framework for the merger of community schools and the adjustment of teachers. However, people’s representatives haven’t yet implemented the policy due to the pressure of political lobbying, says the education unit in the district.
The education unit of Rolpa Municipality collected necessary data, prepared a policy regarding the school merger and adjustment of teachers, and put forward the proposal to the elected representatives for implementation. But nothing has come off the proposal yet.
“All the necessary preparations have been made. But the elected representatives and higher-level leaders of various parties are yet to reach a consensus on the issue. As a result, our plan to merge community schools with fewer student numbers and adjust teachers’ posts is in limbo,” said Mahendra Parajuli, chief of the education unit. He said it is challenging to work towards enhancing the quality of education in community schools in the present scenario.
“There is an acute shortage of teachers in several community schools of Liwang, the district headquarters of Rolpa. But the plan to merge these schools has been on hold,” said Parajuli.
One hundred sixty-eight teachers are serving 66 community schools—nine secondary, 14 basic and 43 primary—in Rolpa Municipality. Out of these teachers, only 102 are on the government payroll; the rest have been hired by the schools themselves on a contract basis. Since the government has hired fewer teachers than required in community schools, the quality of education in these schools has been compromised.
“The elected representatives understand the need for school mergers and teachers’ adjustment, but they are reluctant to move ahead with the process. They are worried about their vote banks. Their party leaders and activists do not want to merge schools. Or if the schools are to be merged and teachers adjusted, they should be done as per their interest,” said a source working in the education sector in the district.
Purna KC, the municipality mayor, however, claimed that the local body has been preparing a policy to uplift the quality of education in its community schools.
“We will hold a discussion with stakeholders to formulate education policies and implement them soon,” he added.
Tribeni Rural Municipality in the district faces a similar ordeal. The local body had put forth the proposal of school merger and teacher adjustment, but the proposal was not endorsed due to a dispute among the representatives and party leaders.
“There are some challenges, but we are making efforts to implement the plans by holding talks with locals,” said Shanta Kumar Oli, chairman of the rural municipality. Oli opines that the authority of school mergers and post adjustments should be granted to the education ministry rather than to the local units. “There is always political party interference when we try to move forward with the plans.”
There are 10 local units, including a municipality, in Rolpa.