Align Academic Session With Fiscal Year: Stakeholders

By Manjima Dhakal

Kathmandu, Dec. 31: A discourse has begun in education sector whether to begin the new academic session of school education from the new fiscal year. At a time when the current academic session is not likely to end in April as earlier amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakeholders suggested to extend it to June and start the new one from mid-July.

If the academic session starts from mid-July together with the new fiscal year, it will be easy to manage academic and administrative work of school education, the stakeholders stated.
Now, the academic session of grade 11 and 12 also starts from mid-July. Therefore, if the academic session of other classes of school education start from July, the academic session of all levels will begin at the same time, they said.

Surya Ghimire, head master of Pragati Shikhya Sadan, Lalitpur, said it would be appropriate to extend the courses up to June and July because many community schools have just started classes for children. Ghimire also asked the government to decide about the academic session and upgrading process as soon as possible.

Suprabhat Bhandari, chairman of the National Guardian Federation, said that prior to concluding the academic session, it must be assured that children attend the classes at least for 175 days in an academic year and there must be minimum learning achievement. “Therefore, it will be better to start academic session from mid-July to ensure all these things,” he said.

Bhandari further revealed that a taskforce was formed in 2053 (1997) to recommend about changing the academic session when the session used to end in February. The taskforce suggested starting the new academic session from mid-May or Baisakh, Nepali New Year, and another session from mid-July along with the new fiscal year.
As per the recommendation, the new academic session then began from Nepali New year but it was never shifted to Mid-July thereafter due to governmental change, Bhandari, a member of that taskforce, said. COVID-19 has given an opportunity to implement the recommendation of that taskforce, he added.

Shiva Raj Panta, founder of LRI School, Kalanki, said due to the delay made to take decision by the government regarding the evaluation method and time, schools were facing difficulties to plan classes. He also suggested extending this academic session till June.

Likewise, at a time when the government is liberal to upgrade students from grade 10, 11 and 12, there is a dilemma whether other school children could be promoted like earlier. In school education, students are promoted to senior classes from continued assessment system till now.

Deepak Sharma, spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said they are yet to decide about it. So, he asked schools to continue their academic activities for now. He, however, denied commenting about the time and method of final evaluation of school education.

The stakeholders said they were fed up with the failure of the authorities to decide vital issues of school education. Future of seven million school children has become uncertain after the government remained undecided about academic session and the final evaluation method to be adopted for school students.

Though the guardians, students and stakeholders of education are expecting special decision from the authority because classes in schools across the country couldn’t run smoothly from April while academic activities in physical presence are completely halted for more than nine months, they have not received good response from the authorities.

In the last two months, many schools across the country have started running classes in physical presence and virtually after the Ministry paved the way by issuing guidelines for school operation. Though the schools started running classes, they are unable to make clear framework of course due to uncertainty regarding time and method of final evaluation.

– The Rising Npeal

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