Teachers quit job to contest polls

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Since teachers are taken as respectable personalities in villages and they are in touch with the locals, parties favour them for their poll candidates

Apr 19, 2017-Gandaki Thapa Adhikari, 37, was a permanent school teacher at a public school in Baglung district. With a master’s in Nepali, she had been teaching up to the secondary level though her posting was as a primary teacher. She got additional payment for teaching in the higher grades in addition to the government salary as a primary teacher. Had she worked for a few more years, she would have retired as a pensioner.

However, the future benefits could not retain her in the profession. She resigned from the job on March 20 and joined the league of many public school teachers who have quit their jobs to contest in the local polls scheduled for May 14.

Seven teachers including Adhikari have either quit or are in the process of resigning lately in Baglung alone. According to District Education Officer Bishnu Prasad Mishra, the number might increase as there are still 10 more days to file the candidacy.

“My party has assured me of candidacy for the Badigad Village Council. I don’t want to miss this lifetime opportunity to start a political career,” Adhikari told the Post over the phone. Adhikari, who has been a local leader of the Nepali Congress women’s wing, says that the inclusive provision in the Constitution of Nepal has given women plenty of opportunity to emerge as leaders, which she believes could be a milestone in preparing women for leadership. Records at the DEO show five of the seven teachers opting for politics are women.

One of them is Gyanu Sirish, who is preparing to contest as the vice-chairperson for the NC in Kathekhola Village Council in the district. “I am still lobbying for the chair but I’m also okay with the VC,” she told the Post, criticising the prevailing patriarchal mindset that women should not be in the leading role. 

Stating that there has been a remarkable progress in accepting women as leaders, with the President and the Speaker, who are both female, setting examples, Sirish claims that women themselves need to come forward to claim leadership positions.

The School Teachers Record Office has got notifications from nearly 100 teachers, most of them resigning to contest the election. As the Post has gathered, five have quit from Dang, two from Chitwan and one from Manang. Chitwan DEO Govinda Prasad Aryal said he had heard that a few more teachers are awaiting candidacy confirmation from the parties to quit.

Since teachers are taken as respectable personalities in villages and they are in touch with the locals, parties favour them for their poll candidates, something that was evident in the 1997 local polls as well.

Many top politicians including Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and former PM Jhala Nath Khanal worked as teachers before jumping into politics.

Published: 19-04-2017 07:38

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