Sumana Shrestha’s Contribution to Education Reform in One-month Tenure

Sumana Shrestha

Sumana Shrestha is the current minister of Education, Science, and Technology who has been serving as a member of the federal parliament in the House of Representatives of Nepal (representing the Rashtriya Swatantra Party) since  December 14. 2022.

Shrestha graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Mathematics in 2007 and earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.

Shrestha has worked as an analyst at Citigroup Inc., a Project Coordinator at Antenna Foundation Nepal, a Consultant at Boston Consultant Group (BCG),  the Head of Global Operations and Strategy in Fusemachines, and worked with the World Food Programme during the emergency context of post-earthquake 2015.

Shrestha founded Medication for Nepal and Carpool Kathmandu to address the fuel crisis and persistent inequalities as a result of an earthquake. She also worked as a management consultant and executive coach until she entered politics.

Following the drastic changes in Nepali politics, Shrestha has been Nepal’s Education Minister for a month. Since taking on this post on Falgun 23, she has been actively involved in making significant changes in the plans and politics of the Nepal government.

In a one-month tenure as the Education Minister, Shrestha has made much progress in the field of education.

You may also like this: Unveiling Nepal’s History: A Conversation with Dr. Rajaram Subedi

Sumana Shrestha’s Contribution to the End of Politics in Universities

Politics involving students and teachers in Nepali universities has raised concerns. But in the name of politics, vandalism, and violence have been going on for a long time, disrupting studies.

Sumana Shrestha has raised an issue to end the politics in colleges and universities to make the field of education free of politics as there has been a misuse of politics in the education sector. Education Minister Shrestha issued a policy decision to take action up to the removal of teachers belonging to the political parties.

However, it is quite difficult to uproot the misuse of politics from the education sector in a span of one month but it is in progress.

For more information, you may check this: Teachers’ union challenges Sumana Shrestha's policy on political affiliation

Different Facilities in Schools/Colleges

The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has instructed the local-level government to arrange free education by providing the provision of scholarships in private and public schools. To make the students of public schools feasible, it is in the process of making the scholarship funds available directly in the bank account through e-transfer of funds.

Career counseling for students studying grade 10 is given in the schools as per the instruction of MoE to help them navigate the complexity of career decision-making, ensuring they have the required information, skills, and support to choose a meaningful career path.

Earlier, students were hardly receiving books in their hands before the start of an academic session. But after the appointment of Sumana Shrestha, within this one-month tenure, the problem has been solved in 63 districts and it is in progress in other districts as well. A new program to train students to handle academic books with care is in progress so that those books can be reused by new students.

Sumana Shrestha has made sure that the need for sanitary pads for students is met in the schools. Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has started to run smart classes in public schools. To make it easier for students, the government is trying to withdraw the money that the National Education Board (NEB) charges for certificate re-verification to the students.

Carelessness of Tribhuvan University

The TU has been irresponsible in publishing the results of the exams on time. Similarly, there is no implementation of an academic calendar. There has been an issue with the exam question paper as well. Minister Shrestha has instructed TU to take accountability for its carelessness.

Sumana Shrestha has stated that an investigation committee has been formed to investigate the issue of missing answer scripts of the examination conducted by Tribhuvan University (TU) and the committee is conducting a study on this. She has instructed TU to create exam question papers in both Nepali and English languages so that it can be easy for all the students.

Shrestha is issuing new standards related to teacher placement and school establishment and operation which is in progress. However, new standards for employee placement have been issued.

For additional information, you may check this: Education minister announces probe into missing TU answer scripts and educational reform initiatives

CTEVT and National Identity Card

The full form of CTEVT is the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training. But people with only 4 weeks of training are sent to teach the students. Instead, people who have experience in the industry or who have taken pedagogy training should be the ones to teach vocational training. So, Shrestha is trying to create an environment to recruit teachers with industrial or vocational experience in the CTEVT.

To bring ease in the process of a No Objection Certificate (NOC), Shrestha has instructed to investigate problems in the database and it is in the process of integrating a National Identity Card (NIC) in Application Programming Interface (API) instead of using citizenship for this.

Re-establishment of schools and colleges

Although the Presidential Reform Program is halted for now, the budget provided for this program is to be used in the re-establishment of schools and colleges destroyed by earthquakes in Jajarkot and Bajura districts. Furthermore, these budgets will be used to improve the livelihoods of the Chepang, and Musahar people next year.

We know that the development of the education sector eventually leads to the country’s improved economy.

Attempts to Creating a Paperless Government

Since the websites of government offices were in poor condition beyond improvement, new websites are to be made within the end of Chaitra. Along with this, social media accounts of government offices will be created for the easiness of the citizens of the country.

In addition, different motivating programs are implemented inside the ministry officer for the employees. Shrestha has instructed all the officer-level employees to take continuous information from at least two schools they have studied in.

Sumana Shrestha has done excellent work thus far and has the potential to do far more to improve the educational system.

Conclusion

As Nepal’s Education Minister, Sumana Shrestha’s one-month tenure has made significant progress towards education reform. Notably, she has made progress in addressing the issue of political influence in universities, introduced career counseling programs in grade 10, and tackled issues such as book distribution and sanitary pad provisions in schools. She has also taken steps to increase the efficiency and transparency of government processes and the re-establishment of schools and colleges. Despite facing different problems, her openness and desire to reform promise future improvements in education.

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