Sunday, December 25, 2005

New Education Act Needed : PABSON

Biratnagar, Dec 25-Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON) has pointed out the need for a new Education Act that will address the problems of private schools.

Announcing the decision of the second full-bench meeting of PABSON at a press conference Umesh Shrestha, president of the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal, accused the government of not cooperating with the private schools.

In a press statement, PABSON said the Education Act (seventh amendment), 2058 BS and Education Directives, 2058 BS did not clearly mention the fee structure of the private schools. “Categorisation of schools not only divides the learning zones but also the students, teachers, guardians and the whole society,” the statement said.

“There are two committees Board of Directors and School Management Committees in the schools which are associated with company and trusts respectively. This will create confusion.”

Stating that the private schools are playing a vital role in the development of education in the country, Shrestha said: “Private schools are facing difficulties due to the Maoists and the government.”

PABSON’s central committee has also decided to publish textbooks with an aim to help in the academic development. About 1,500,000 students are studying in 8,500 private schools in Nepal. Private schools are providing employment opportunities to about 150,000 people.

mainwhile,The dearth of teachers holding permanent teaching licence, the mandatory provision to be a school teacher in the country, is expected to come to an end soon.

The schools had to face scarcity of licence holding teachers in the gone days, said Mahashram Sharma, administrative chief at the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC). “With the results of the licensing exams published by the TSC recently, the problem will come to an end,” he added.

According to the TSC, the permanent teaching licence is compulsory to each teacher who teaches whether in the public schools or in the private ones as per the existing Education Act, which was enacted eight years ago.

The candidates who have completed at least one-year course from the Faculty of Education or have one-year teaching experience or working as teachers are eligible to sit for the licensing exams.

Immediately after the introduction of the Act, the TSC issued temporary teaching licence to the prospective candidates. The Commission has started issuing permanent teaching licence since 2004. Last year, some 123,200 candidates passed the licensing exams. Women were allowed to take the exams although they didn’t have any experience and degree from the Faculty of Education.

A total of 325,000 candidates, including the recent pass outs and 80,000 permanent public school teachers, have received the permanent licence. “Among 129,825 examinees this year alone, 104,588 have got through the tests,” said Sharma. “Seventy-four per cent candidates of the primary level, 88 per cent of the lower secondary and 93 per cent of the secondary level have passed the exams,” he said.

The government introduced the licensing tests as a screening tool in order to promote the quality of education in the schools. The candidates who do not own a teaching licence are not allowed to take the TSC exams for the permanent positions in the public schools.

However, the disparity in the results of the School Leaving Certificate examinations between the public and private schools still looms large. The pass percentage is 20 per cent in state-owned schools where 50 per cent teachers are trained and 80 per cent in private ones.

There are some 110,000 teachers, 80,000 permanent ones, teaching in approximately 27,000 public schools with six million student enrolment. Besides, more than 60,000 teachers are involved in about 8,500 private schools with 1.5 million students.

“Almost all the teachers in the public schools have been issued the teaching licence,” Sharma said. “There will be no scarcity of licence holders even for the private schools.”

Karna Bahadur Shahi, general secretary of the National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association Nepal, said that more than 70 per cent teachers working in the private schools are licence holders.

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