From Hindustan Samachar
Maoists rebels have destroyed educational facilities in Nepal. With current incidents of abduction of students and teachers and unauthorised control of schools, difficulties are being faced in making the educational system run smoothly. Furthermore, with the recent threat by Maoist student organisations of launching an agitation for countrywide closure of schools, Nepal'sentire education system is liable to collapse.
It may be recalled that the Maoist students? organisation of Nepal, called the All Nepalese National Independent Union Revolutionary (ANNISUR), declared countrywide closure of schools sine die from June 6, 2004. The organisation is demanding that the tripartite agreement reached between them, the government and the educational organisations should be brought into immediate effect.
Under the agreement reached on June 29, 2003, the govern-ment and educational institutions had agreed to a reduction of 25 per cent in the fees of higher secondary level education. The government had agreed that free education would be given till secondary school level. But now the government is saying that it cannot bear the burden of providing free school education.
The Maoists, after kidnapping the teachers and students, forcibly induct them into their campaign. Recently a number of students who managed to escape from such Maoist camps, revealed to the security forces that the Maoists were employing children in their various activities.
It may be noted that Nepal has altogether 25,194 secondary-level schools and 854 higher secondary-level schools. The Nepal government will have to bear the burden to the tune of 26 crore rupees annually as subsidy in providing free secondary education. The government says that instead of providing free education to all children, it would be better to impart school education to Vanvasis, Dalits and the physically challenged. Even the students? guardians feel that a cut in the school fee is not the answer to solving the problem. A system needs to be established, though a working group is already in existence for fixing the fees for private schools, but actions like strikes can become an obstacle in their activities. Heads of private and boarding schools are considerably worried at the situation and feel that if attacks on educational organisa-tions continue like this, then they would have to face a complete close down.
On the one hand, the Maoists are trying to win over the peoples? sentiments by agitating for free education from the government, on the other, by kidnapping teachers and students to forcibly enrol them as terrorists into their fold, they are misusing the schools for establishing their camps. On May 24, the Maoists had kidnapped 700 students and teachers from a higher secondary school in Dailekh district. Prior to this also, the Maoists had kidnapped students from a different school in the same district. In this manner, thousands of students and teachers have been kidnapped from Bheri-Karnali and Seti-Karnali regions.
The Maoists, after kidnapping the teachers and students, forcibly induct them into their campaign. Recently a number of students who managed to escape from such Maoist camps, revealed to the security forces that the Maoists were employing children in their various activities. During the attacks, the Maoists use these children as shields to protect themselves from the security officers. The Maoists have taken control over many schools in the inaccessible mountainous regions of Nepal to run their training camps over there.