Time for coordination between local and federal government for better education system

education system
File: Girls head to their school in Madhesh.

Currently, the role of local government in education is of primary concern. There was a general complaint from political leaders to activists that the centralised governance system had delayed the entire development work including education and brought the country’s situation to a critical state.

Many young leaders would often be heard advocating for a democratic education system. These people are now in local government leadership roles and have failed to deliver on promised changes to the education system, leaving the public with false hope.

The lingering confusion

The practical side of the restructuring of the state is still in confusion. All government levels have access to the policy formulation and implementation for bringing change in the country. However, the provincial governments, which are directly related to the federal government at the centre, are as confused as crows in fogs.

Even now, a clear blueprint has not been prepared regarding what/how much the local government can do and what it cannot do. Regarding the education system, the 2015 constitution of Nepal has stated that education up to the secondary level is under the responsibility of the local government. In this regard, the Act does not seem to be mentioned in the law.

The rules and laws related to various thematic areas provided by the constitution have not been formulated. Therefore, in such a situation, the central, provincial and local governments cannot advance the education system by prioritising it in a coordinated manner.

Our constitution recognises education as a fundamental right. Free and compulsory basic education has also been taken as a natural right of citizens. There is a need for effective implementation of provisions and laws related to compulsory education. Our constitution has also divided the rights of primary and secondary education into a list of single rights at the local level.

The federal law has to do according to the constitution while distributing the rights of education. This Act should clearly define the role of which level of government is responsible for bringing change in the system. The government does not seem to be serious about the current issue of education. In particular, no attention has been paid to bridging the gap created between government and private schools. Arbitrary fee collection in schools is very much discussed. No matter how much we talk, both private and public schools should agree to improve education.

The need to take initiatives

File photo

As education and health are the basic needs of every citizen, it is the responsibility of the nation to fulfil them. The government has not become sensitive about the many evils that are piling up in the education and health sectors.

Economically weak citizens can neither seek treatment nor get quality education. Managers in education and health resorted to money-making get-rich-overnight schemes. The feeling of serving the people is nowhere to be found. In slogans, and speeches, leaders boast that they are for the people, but that is just pretence.

Politics is the root of all kinds of distortions that have appeared in our country now. The country cannot prosper until the increasing criminalisation in this area is stopped. For this, it is necessary to immediately improve the integrity and administrative capacity of the political leadership. Also, the local government should be made fully responsible by understanding the spirit of the region.

Article 39 of the Constitution of Nepal mentions that each child should be provided with proper education and health by the family and the state, as well as the right to nurture, care, sports, entertainment, etc., and the right to personality development.

It is necessary for the local government that holds the reins of education to take the initiative in this regard as soon as possible. For this, the Federal Education Act had to come soon and the local government also needs to be more knowledgeable in the matter of education.

Along with federalism, education up to the secondary level has come to be under the local government according to Article 57 (4) Schedule 8 of the Constitution. Keeping this in mind, complaints have started to increase when the local level makes education regulations and takes action against teachers in some places. It seems that the local level should not be more ambitious. Legal validity must be taken into account. Responsible education should act impartially without prejudice.

The local government must be empowered and decisive, but the tendency to make decisions without considering the legality while making decisions may cause disaffection towards the local government.

At present, although the necessary competence and capability of the teaching service of the teachers is seen to some extent, the morale is declining due to various political activities.

The government does not seem to have taken the necessary initiatives to raise morale. Morale should not be reduced by scolding the teacher. If the teacher is not enthusiastic, there will be no positive results in education.

No matter how good an education policy is made, without good delivery by teachers, its implementation may fail. Therefore, having teachers and teaching services is a mandatory requirement for quality education. While making the rules and laws regarding the conditions of teaching, it is necessary to take into consideration the shortcomings of the past.

The problem in the education system is not the lack of suggestions for laws and regulations. But it is the lack of political commitment to regulate the policies, the laxity of implementation of unreasonable policies and rules, the lack of awareness among parents about education and teachers are also indifferent to their work. If it is not resolved in time, the education sector will become more chaotic. Provincial and local governments must also act in terms of accountability in the future.

The federal government should not make local laws/regulations without consulting the provincial and local governments. The centre must recognise the existence of provinces and localities as autonomous governments.

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Yadav is a logistic officer at Rural Women Upliftment Association, Haripur.

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