Public school teachers have job security, pension benefits, bonuses and a decent salary. But despite all this, performance is much better in private schools. One of the reasons for this could be that private schools have the pressure to perform well to stay competitive in the market. However, public schools seem to be complacent, and thus don’t have the same drive to perform. According to a recent report prepared by the Education Review Office (ERO) under the Ministry of Education, 57 percent of the teachers in public schools were not punctual. Schools and teachers in general were also found reluctant to neither give assignments nor provide feedback to students hence preventing the students from boosting their achievement.
Public education is critically important yet, politicisation of education has long plagued this sector. To make public schools competitive, underperforming schools and teachers should be held accountable. Incompetent teachers usually find cover in party affiliation which makes it difficult for school management to reprimand them. Also, while according to global standards, 20 percent of the total budget needs to be allotted to the education sector, in the fiscal year 2016/17, but the government of Nepal (GoN) allocated only 11.6 percent of the budget for the education sector. This amount is not adequate since all the amount goes into paying salary or maintaining infrastructure; hardly any amount is left for purchasing additional resources. This should change.
Education plays an important role in the growth of any country. The challenge would be to make public schools competitive and attractive, while making them accessible. To do so, at the core are the teachers. And when they are held accountable, it will reflect in the grades too.