Nepal: Massive mobilisation of teachers denounce education law which aims to restrict their rights

published 20 September 2023 updated 27 February 2024

Education International fully supports the thousands of teachers and members of its affiliates in Nepal demonstrating to demand a respected and valued teaching profession in the face of a new law that seeks to curb their trade union rights.

EI member organisations in Nepal, the Nepal Teachers' Association, the Nepal National Teachers' Association and Institutional Schools' Teachers' Union have joined hands with 12 other teacher organisations to protest the New Education Act.

More than 50,000 teachers gathered in Kathmandu from all over the country to protest the New Education Act. The new Education Act severely restricts the trade union rights of the teachers, making it illegal to organize, protest and demonstrate.

The unions call the Act draconian and in direct contradiction with the constitution of the country, which provides trade union rights to all working people.

“We fully support our colleagues in Nepal as they mobilise to defend quality education for their students and stand up for the right of education workers to organise as a collective voice. Their voice must be heard! We urge governmental authorities, in Nepal and around the globe, to invest in public education, a fundamental human right and public good, and to invest more in teachers, the single most important factor in achieving quality education,"' stated David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International. "This includes ensuring teachers are paid, respected, and valued as professionals, and that their expertise and experience are brought to the table when creating education policies."

The law also decentralizes appointment of teachers to the local governments. The unions assert that the move will destroy the quality of education and breed nepotism, cronyism, and favoritism in the appointment process. There will be no uniformity in quality, working conditions and salaries of teachers in Nepal which will destroy national unity and quality of education.

The unions are demanding that the Act make provisions to end temporary and contract appointment of teachers and establish a system in which all teachers are permanent and licensed teachers.

The unions are also worried that all local governments may not have enough resources and end up terminating teachers' contracts. Among other issues raised by the unions are social security for all teachers, a reasonable time bound count of service years for promotions and social security.