Last month the Ministry of Education signed an agreement with agitating teachers' unions in the presence of major political parties and speaker Subhas Nembang. The agreement aimed to end frequent strikes which had paralysed Nepal's education sector for several months and the government finally seems serious about addressing the concerns of the teachers. If the agreements are implemented sincerely, it will benefit public school teachers who have been in service for more than five years but have not received permanent status. Teachers will be entitled to pension plans like other government employees and can go through fair and standardised promotion process.
But educationist Tirtha Khania feels the agreement is just an excuse and will not improve the quality of public education. Khania blames frequent protests by teachers' unions for degrading education standards and says there has been no serious debate on the types of policies needed in Nepal. "The unions have unwarranted influence over the country's education policy. But their demands only reflect their narrow self- interests and do not help upgrade our education system," laments Khania.