» 07/28/2012, 00.00
In Kathmandu, Nepali president and UN officials slam attacks against private schools
Concerned with students' future, Ram Baran Yadav appeals to the government to guarantee security. UN officials, who share the same concerns, want schools to be considered 'Zones of Peace.' Catholics play a significant role in the country's education system.
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."
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."
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
Maoists and nationalists attack dozens of foreign-run private schools
Young members of the Congress Party and Nepali Student Union protest against high tuition fees and foreign school names. Attacks began on 15 July, but Jesuit-run Catholic institutions were spared.
Government to recognise Muslim and Buddhist religious schools
Hundreds of Islamic and Buddhist schools want recognition. Nepal’s government is set to provide financial aid as well but demands in return that such schools also use non religious books in English and Nepali. Some Muslim groups object.
Teachers’ strike jeopardising students’ future
Teachers launch strike for better job security, but job action really worries students across the country. More than 35,000 schools are shut down. Strike is set to continue until the government does not guarantee a contract and increases wages.
Kathmandu, high risk of attacks against Christians
The government under the Maoists blackmail has not yet appointed a new interior minister. Police warn of increased activity of Hindu extremist groups, but has no money to continue operations. Christians are afraid to go to church and prefer to pray in their homes.
Maoist rebels end unilateral truce
Global pressure to stick to the truce proved useless. Accused of not respecting the truce, King Gyanendra said it was only a subterfuge of the rebels. Blasts have gone off in three cities.
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