|Stationery shop owner: "We have everything you need for school, what do you want...banners, placards, mikes locks?"|
There is a positive correlation between education and the socio-economic development of a country. Countries with high quality education are ahead in terms of economic development. That is why most countries in the world never allow political instability to affect the education system. Even during the worst days of civil war in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the schools remained open.
Nepal is just the opposite. Education was affected during the royal dictatorship and even though peace has been re-established, schools are still being closed. Yet, there is no outrage or serious effort to resolve the prolonged closure of schools by the government or the political parties. And the groups that have enforced this strike, which directly affects half the country's population, seem to be little bothered about its impact. Some of their demands may be legitimate, but closing down schools to have them addressed is illegitimate.
It shouldn't just be child rights organisations that rise up with one voice against the closure of schools, but also guardians, teachers, civil society, and political forces. The state must also make sure that its investments in education are effective and regulate the commercialisation of the sector. This government may not be able to make education child-centred, but it must do more to reopen schools right away despite threats from the Maoists. Otherwise, no one will save us from the fate of being a failed state.