think many of us are yet to be conversant with SSRP. The SSRP is a continuation of the on-going programs such as Education for All (EFA), Secondary Education Support Program (SESP), Community School Support Program (CSSP) and Teacher Education Project (TEP). Establishment of School Sector Reform Program (SSRP) has been expected to be a wind of change in the traditional educational system, which was set up in the year 2009. The government of Denmark has agreed to provide grant assistance of DKK 125 million (equivalent to NRs 1785 million) to the government of Nepal for the continuation of the SSRP. This is a seven year (2009 to 2015) strategic plan. At present, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is working out to reconstruct the basic education system i.e. standards 1-8. In accordance with the old structure, basic education in Nepal is standard 1-5. These plans of the MOE are praiseworthy. Nonetheless, a lot needs to be done. The MOE is likely to commence the restructuring standards 9-12 at the outset of 2012. Every year one grade had to be merged to the new secondary school system. In the year 2009 the MOE implemented new curricula for grade nine and will continue it until new curricula will be implemented for grade 12 in 2015 as per the SSRAP.
The aforementioned issues reveal threat the final examinations if grade 12 will be held with a new format. Till now, standards 9-10 are known as secondary level whereas 11-12 are known as higher secondary education controlled and monitored by a separate body, HSEB. These two levels are being controlled by two different departments. Though the HSEB has issued a notice to all the higher secondary schools that were not running classes 9 and 10 to integrate standards 9 and 10 to stand-alone 11 and 12 by 2014, they have been turning deaf ears. To develop and systematize the educational system the HSEB seems to be supportive, so it has already stopped affiliating stand-alone 11 and 12 (10+2) schools since 2008.
According to the new education bill, grades (9-12) cannot be split into divisions like 9-10 and 11-12; this is the main reason why the government has been preparing the new curricula on the basis of vertical integration. If the secondary level goes to two pieces as before then there will be no use of the restructuring of educational system. At international level, school means 12 years education as a whole without breaking. The government is endeavoring to do what international education system requires.
Nearly 3500 higher secondary schools in Nepal are affiliated to the HSEB. Of them less than 3 per cent schools are running only grades 11-12. The new rule has stated clearly that these sorts of schools must either extend two grades downwards or close their schools. Indeed, 10+2 schools are run by business minded people who are reluctant to extend downwards. But some businessmen and trade-unionists have been expressing their anger and reprimanding the government. They say that they will close down all the higher secondary schools to create havoc if they are compelled to extend two classes downward i.e. 12-9.
Are these people serious about the system of Nepalese education? Is this what they had mentioned in their proposal before getting affiliation to the HSEB? Is closure of higher secondary schools a solution? Such private educational institutions are set up in the name of social purpose but run for business purpose. About 25.16 per cent people, according to the Third Nepal Living Standards Survey-2011/12 are below poverty line who cannot afford to send their offspring to costly 10+2 schools. Withdrawing decisions due to banda, strike and closure of institutions is a loophole of the government. Trade unions –PABSON and N-PABSON were set up in 1991 and are still reluctant to pay one per cent tax to the government as provided for in the law but the schools affiliated to these unions have been deducting certain amount of money from the salary of schoolteachers in the name of tax. Teachers themselves don’t know whether the schools where they teach are paying tax to the government or not. Regardless to say, the Ministry of Education (MoE) itself has been unable to enforce regulations and penalize the so-called schools.
Likewise, there is one issue associated to the one discussed above. There are mushrooming three dozens of GCE-A level schools equivalent to stand alone grades 10+2 of Cambridge University in Nepal are running at the private sector aiming at imparting quality and international standard education. The government can’t exercise discrimination to the stand-alone (10+2) schools which are affiliated to Nepal’s education board (HSEB). The government should close down al the stand-alone 10+2 schools, A Level schools or IB to be just. These institutions have been casting shadow over the national graduates. The MoE and stand the stand-alone schools must follow whatever t has planned under SSRP and ask the A Level and IB (International Baccalaureate founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland which offers three educational programs for children ages between 3 to 19) institutions to phase out and stop enrolling students ahead of 2014, the year when the government is to introduce new curricula in grade 11 with the new structure of secondary education equivalent to international level.
If the government is certain that the program they are going to lunch is the most beneficial to Nepalese, it should strictly phase out all parallel systems in regard to grades 11 and 12 whether it is A level or 10+2 or IB otherwise the effort of the government to bring reform in the history of Nepalese education will be no less than the futile effort made by Sisyphus. Systematizing improvement in education and replacing the traditional formation/structuring are painstaking effort t make and all the denizens of Nepal should be united to strengthen the praiseworthy plan of the government to unlock the door to new educational structure. We ourselves can assess that highly commercialized and heavily profited 10+2, A level and IB institutions are not in favour of economically backward people. I recommend that the government make a decision without hesitation taking the problem of poor people into account. As a Nepali citizen and teacher, I am keen on seeing the new incarnation of Nepali education system by utilizing the grant assistance of Denmark. .
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amar sherma (limbu)