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  OPINION
Learning Curve
REPUBLICA
The ambitious School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP) has not really taken off the ground. The five-year, US $2.6 billion project was to be implemented between 2009 and 2014. Its chief goal was a radical overhaul of schooling to bring it in line with international standards. Towards this goal, a two-tier school system was envisioned, with grades 1-7 comprising primary schooling and 8-12 secondary schooling. Moreover, new teachers were to be recruited as per the needs of the changed format. But five years down the line, the SSRP has failed in nearly all its goals. This was to be expected. Five years, and not even the first step towards its effective implementation—the amendment of Education Act (1971)—has been taken. As a result, schools have not been able to recruit new teachers. The supporters of SSRP like to point out pockets of success. There is now nearly cent percent enrollment of school-age children at the primary level. Likewise, many more girls are attending schools than they were five years ago. But these are extremely poor markers of success for such an ambitious program. Yet the donor community and the government have just agreed to extend the SSRP by another two years; an additional tranche of Rs 170 million has been pledged.
Welcome To Nepal
BISWAS BARAL
Distinguished SAARC delegates,  

If the preparations in the lead up to the eighteenth SAARC Summit so far are any guide, no effort will be spared to welcome you: 21-gun salutes, bedazzling motorcades, choppers showering marigold, heck, at this rate, we might even establish a new branch in Foreign Ministry to cater to the whims of the First Ladies (or the First Gentleman in the case of Bangladesh). But let me with your permission jump the gun and extend a heartfelt advance welcome to you all to the new and improved federal democratic republic of Nepal.
Letter To Modi
Hitesh Karki
Mr. Prime Minister of India,
Namaste!

Greetings to you and a very warm welcome! Who am I is pretty irrelevant. I am the one who is neither likely to stand on the roadside hoping you would make a sudden stop to shake hands and perhaps even take a selfie with, nor the one who is likely to meet you in the hallways of either the convention venues or the hotel lobbies! Hence, I have opted to communicate to you through this medium.
Land Of Buddha
Netra Acharya
Prime minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, who is committed to a more inclusive G20, has proposed to include Nepal in it. He said, “Nepal is the center of spirituality, how can we exclude it? It has to be a part of the process”. Davutoglu could see the importance of integrating least developing countries to the global economy. Surely, limited financial issues cannot be enough criteria for addressing the interconnected world. Sooner or later, the whole world will realize the peculiarity of every country and the importance of being connected with all. In this context, let me pose a query: Do we realize the spiritual importance of our country? 
Sex And Space
REPUBLICA
For the past three years, NASA scientists have been examining the differences between how male and female astronauts’ health is affected by spaceflight. The results are fascinating. Here’s a summary of the major findings:

The inability to stand without fainting for protracted periods, is more prevalent upon landing in female astronauts than in their male counterparts. Women have greater loss of blood plasma volume than men during spaceflight.
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