Parliament passes Edu Act (Ninth Amendment) Bill

  • Some lawmakers say move will further ruin public education sector
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Sep 20, 2017-Despite serious reservations from lawmakers, including those from the ruling parties, Parliament on Tuesday endorsed the ninth amendment to the Education Act-1972, paving the way for hundreds of temporary teachers to get permanent status without sitting in competitive tests.

The amendment has cleared the decks for announcing internal vacancies for temporary teachers who were drafted in before August 6, 2004. These temporary teachers now will be eligible to get the permanent status if they secure just 40 marks, the minimum pass marks. Similarly, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will open vacancy allocating 75 percent reservation for the temporary teachers recruited between August 6, 2004 and July 29, 2016. The rest will be hired through open competition.

Education experts and cross-party lawmakers have long been objecting to the amendment, saying this will bar fresh candidates from getting into the education sector and that the move will further ruin the already ailing public education sector. 

The ninth amendment has also opened the door for temporary teachers to get state benefits even if they fail the TSC test for permanent teachers. This is the second amendment to the Education Act in the last two years. 

The eighth amendment to the Education Act in June last year had given the teachers two options—taking part in an internal competition or choosing a retirement package. It had called for 51 percent of hiring through open competition, which would have ensured as many as 19,000 new faces in the public education sector. With the fresh amendment, only a few thousand teachers will be joining the public education sector now. 

“This move will ruin the public education system and the country will have to face grave consequences,” said Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa, objecting to the bill tabled by Education Minister Gopalman Shrestha, who is from his own party. Similarly, CPN (Maoist Centre) lawmaker Janak Raj Joshi and CPN-UML lawmakers Rabindra Adhikari and Rameshwor Phuyal said that by amending the Act, the government was but trying to further deteriorate the public education sector. 

Among the 26,000 temporary teachers, some 16,000 were for taking the test while the rest had sought golden handshake.  However, after a hunger strike, the government had reached an agreement for the ninth amendment. Now all of them are likely to face the TSC test, as a golden handshake has been ensured even if they fail. 

“This Act will permanently resolve the decades-old problem related to temporary teachers,” Minister Shrestha told Parliament while defending the bill. 

Published: 20-09-2017 07:40

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