KATHMANDU, March 10: Despite frequent commitments by the political parties not to shut down educational institutions and respect them as zone of peace, about eight million students across the country were affected by Friday's general strike called by the agitating Federal Alliance.
According to the Department of Education (DoE), there are about eight million students in schools, colleges and universities across the country. Among them, some 800,000 students are in the Kathmandu Valley alone.
Though the general strike did not cripple normal life as there was no obstruction in the movement of vehicles in the Kathmandu Valley, schools remained closed fearing insecurity due to incidents of attack on school buses during the bandas in the past.
“Both the government and private schools, and colleges also remained closed in the Valley on Friday,” said Keshav Puri, newly-elected president of the Guardians Association Nepal. “Neither the government nor the school operators dared to open the schools and conduct classes,” he said. “This is the result of sheer negligence of the political parties to fulfill their commitment to spare the education sector from their protests,” he added.
Almost all the political parties have on several occasions publicly expressed their commitment in writing to keep the schools as zone of peace and not to disrupt educational activities during their political strikes.
Baburam Paudel, Director General of the DoE, said that the political parties could not keep their word. “The government also could do nothing to protect the education sector from the political interventions,” he said.
Puri criticized the government for remaining mute spectator and the political parties for their excesses. “Both should be responsible towards the children and their study and rights to education,” he said. “The guardians are also affected equally by the school clodures,” he added.