Jurisdiction row between local and federal governments continues—this time on appointing teachers

  • Some local governments have refused to employ teachers recommended by the Service Commission
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 19, 2019-

In yet another case of jurisdiction row between the local and federal governments, some local governments have said they won’t enroll in government schools teachers, who received permanent posting through a test recently, because they were not consulted before deploying the teaching staff.

Suryodaya Municipality in Ilam and Bhimad Municipality in Tanahun are among the local entities that have directed the schools under their purview to reject the teachers appointed by the federal government. Based on the recommendation of the Teachers Service Commission, the Education Development and Coordination Units under the Ministry of Education had deployed the teachers in schools across the country.

“Going against the spirit of the constitution and the Local Government Operation Act 2017, which authorise the local governments to manage school education up to the secondary level, the coordination unit is sending teachers without any consultation. The municipality, therefore, directs all the concerned schools not to appoint the teachers,” the directive from the Bhimad Municipality in Tahanun reads. The directive from Suryodaya Municipality is similarly worded.

The representatives of the Municipal Association of Nepal, an umbrella body of the municipalities, say the federal government continues to treat local governments as its subordinate bodies. “Hiring and managing teachers is an explicit authority of the local governments. We are free to reject the teachers deployed without consultation,” Bhim Prasad Dhungana, the general secretary of the association, told the Post. “The federal government is taking one step after another attacking our constitutional authority.”

The representatives of the municipal association and National Association of Rural Municipalities have already raised their concerns with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the top leadership of the political parties, asserting their constitutional authority.

Some of them say that the federal bills related to education and forest and land, in particular, contradict the spirit of the statute and have demanded immediate revision before they land in Parliament.

According to the representatives of local governments, the major breach of the statute is in the education sector. The constitution says the local governments will manage education up to the secondary level--12th grade--but the Federal Education Bill limits the local authorities’ power to hold exams only up to the eighth grade.

“All 753 local governments will take to the streets if the federal government doesn’t correct its wrong course,” Dhungana said.

An official at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, however, said that because the country is in transition, it is natural for the federal government to continue its activities until all the mechanisms are in place. The official also blamed the confusion on the lack of federal education law, which would define the roles of all tiers of governments.

“We need Acts to implement the constitution, which are yet to be ready. The existing laws authorise the federal government to recruit teachers and we have worked accordingly,” Deepak Sharma, spokesperson for the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development under the Education Ministry, told the Post. “I urge the local governments to wait until we have all the necessary laws in place.”

Published: 20-04-2019 07:00

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