Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav and other prominent figures, including United Nations diplomats and school representatives, have condemned recent attacks against foreign-run schools. The president, who has been closely following the affair, issued a statement last night expressing concern for the violent acts committed by youth groups linked to nationalist parties. Officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO joined him to demand that schools be respected as 'Zones of peace' and that children's right to a proper and violence-free education be protected.
According to a report by BBC Nepali Service, the president of Nepal was "seriously concerned with such attacks and urged the Prime Minister and the Minister of Home Affairs to ensure security of schools children and their future."
UN officials in Nepal expressed the same concerns. In a statement, they said, that attacks have "endangered the lives of children and jeopardised their right to education."
Nepali political leaders and government officials slammed the fires and vandalism against school buses, calling them a violation of the notion that schools are zones of peace. Such acts of violence go against the basic principle that children have a right to an "education in a protective environment free from fear."
"Such activities traumatise students," said Mana Prasad Wagle, a psychologist and education expert, and because of them, "the education sector cannot grow."
Nepal's literacy rate stands at 53 per cent. Privately-run schools are the backbone of the system, providing students with the education they need. About half of the student population attend them.
The country's 33 Catholic primary, secondary and college-level education facilities contribute significantly to the Himalayan nation's education.