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Education shut-down in Nepal; 2m students hit
Publication Date : 04-03-2013
Thousands of students in Nepal from pre-primary to university levels at private academic institution were barred from study on Sunday owing to a shutdown call by the Association of Private Educational Institutions Nepal (APEIN).
After frequent pressures from stakeholders, the government on May 25, 2011 had declared schools as 'zones of peace'. APEIN, an umbrella organisation of 10 associations of private academic institutions, announced the closure call for the day demanding security for all private institutions and stringent action against those involved in the arson of a bus belonging to Goldengate College last week.
A group of the Unified Communist Pary of Nepal (Maoist)- affiliated All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union- Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) on Thursday set the bus ablaze after the college administration stopped the union from expanding its branch in the college.
“Our shutdown call was highly successful,” said Yubraj Sharma, coordinator of the 25-member APEIN struggle committee. “The private sector has long been terrorised in the name of unionism and donation drive. The protest is for finding a permanent solution.”
Over two million students are studying in around 10,000 academic institutions from the pre-primary to Masters’ levels, including Engineering, Medicine and Nursing streams in Nepal. While the private sector is adamant in its decision not to allow political unions in their academic institutions, the ANNISU-R has claimed that no force can stop it from expanding student unions in the private sector.
“The strike against our attempt to expand unions is an open challenge,” said ANNISU-R president Himal Sharma at an interaction in Kathmandu.
The union has also announced a counter strike against the APEIN move. Sharma said that the protest will continue unless the Goldengate College administration apologises and APEIN agrees to unions in all private institutions.
Meanwhile, Nepal's Ministry of Education has called both the sides for a dialogue on Monday. “We will try to find out a solution through talks,” said Education Secretary Som Lal Subedi.