Balen Shah’s firm stand against politicization in public schools receives massive accolades

Kathmandu Metropolitan City broke the padlock locked at its school department by a student union in protest of KMC’s depoliticization decision.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Balen Shah has firmly stood to implement his decision of not allowing political activities at the premises of public schools. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the KMC had taken the decision to prohibit political parties and their sister organizations from conducting political activities in school premises. In August, 2022, KMC had warned of actions against teachers of public schools, if found involved in any political activities.

Following the decision of the KMC to depoliticize schools, a communist party affiliated student union had padlocked the School Department of the Metropolis, protesting the mayor’s move.

The mayor got the padlock broken and, once again, appealed to all to develop schools as a place of learning. 

“School is a place of learning. We cannot imagine doing political activities in schools,” the Kathmandu mayor wrote on his social media post. “In this context, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has foiled the attempts of an organization associated to a party to padlock the school department in protest of the prohibition of political activities in schools taken by the metropolis.”

Kathmandu mayor has posted a video of metropolis staff breaking the padlock, along with this message.

Like his earlier decision to prohibit political activities in schools, breaking of the padlock has been welcomed by overwhelming majority of the people on social media.

Nepal’s traditional political parties have long been using schools as a base to conduct political activities, even to politically indoctrinate the young minds.  Nearly all the teachers working in public schools across the country are affiliated with one or other political parties. Top political leaders openly ask the teachers to be involved in political activities.

Education experts have been complaining against politicization in educational institutions and have called for its complete depoliticization. However, political parties in Nepal have rarely taken such advice in good faith.  

[Related: Depoliticizing schools: Kathmandu Metropolis decides to ban political activities at the premises of public schools]