While the country remains undecided over restructuring of the state and its provinces, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has readied a draft setup for the education system of Nepal under federalism.
“The draft is based on the principle of ´centre attracts periphery´, and builds on the achievements of the first CA,” said MoE Joint Secretary Hari Lamsal. The second CA has already owned up the achievements of the first CA.
The draft lays out the powers and responsibilities of the central, provincial and local bodies for operating the academic system in a federal Nepal. The provinces are free to pass their own laws and implement programs based on their specific needs. However, their powers are controlled by national policy formulated by the centre.
As per the objective of federalism to decentralize government facilities and bring them closer to the public, the MoE draft transfers significant powers to the provinces. Likewise, the implementing mechanism would be transferred to the local level, Lamsal said.
A central body would be preparing a national education policy from school to higher education level and within this framework the provinces and local bodies would prepare their own education policies, states the MoE draft. However, policies would be formulated in a joint effort with the respective provinces.
Lamsal added that the draft needs to reach out to the masses for open discourse on power-sharing between the central and provincial governments in the education sector. “The ministry will get going as soon as the constitution fixes the various provinces of Nepal, and intense discussions and modifications in the draft will be fundamental,” Lamsal added. National policy would guide the provincial and local bodies on crucial issues, including textbooks and teaching-learning methods and these will be in line with international conventions and treaties. Similarly, the federal provinces cannot collaborate with international donor agencies or receive loans outside the parameters of national policy.
As the postings of teachers currently in service will become a major challenge after state restructuring, the provinces would be given more powers to take decisions in this regard, the draft states. The local bodies would be authorized to implement, regulate and monitor government programs at ground level. “Discussions over the draft would help create an environment at the bureaucratic level for making up their minds on dissemination of power, Lamsal added. Tirtha Raj Dhakal, joint secretary at the National Planning Commission, said that most of the ministries are preparing similar drafts for forwarding to the CA. A five-member experts committee has been formed at the Ministry of General Administration for discussions over redesigning of the education system.
After the discussions, a common document would be submitted to the CA for further discussions regarding every sector, said Dhakal.