Just like Schools, Capital of Nepal is Also Closed

Depriving Children’s Rights to Education in Nepal

By Conflict Study Center
Contributed by Dr. Bishnu Pathak and Chitra Niraula. Assisted by Shankar Poudyal, Rushma Shakya and Prem Prasad Pathak. (Source: Media Monitoring and Field Observation)

Today, Kathmandu is closed down again. No vehicles are running, no shops are open and no business is operating. People are scurrying hurriedly on their feet to their destinations for fear of mis-happenings. The smoke of the burning tires in crossroads has choked the neighborhood. In many places, not only public and private vehicles, but also ambulances have been stopped.

Factor for the closure

On May 25, 2007, Educational Republic Forum (ERF) that is close to Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Institutional School Teacher’s Union (ISTU) organized a sit-in at the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) on the eight day of the strike of all public and private educational institutions at and below Secondary level. Police charged with baton and fired tear gas, where more than 76 people were injured. Many have severe wounds in the head and many others have fractured hands and legs. Protesting the brutal treatment to them, they called for transport strike within Kathmandu from the afternoon. This has further aggravated the environment for talks.

Educational Data

Schools-8,500 (Private) 27,500 (Public)
Students-1,500,000 (Private) 63,00,000 (Public)
Teachers/Staffs-150,000 (Private) 600,000 (Public)

On May 26, 2007, ERF and All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary), Maoist Student’s Wing, demanded for a public apology from the Education Minister Pradip Nepal for his order to inhuman and cruel treatment and abuse to the demonstrators, and compensate expenses for medical treatment to the injured. Almost 7.8 million students across the country have been affected by the strike. Both the organizations had jointly organized rallies, processions and meetings throughout the country, and called for an indefinite strike. Their original principal demands were: all the agreements done by earlier governments should be immediately implemented; and the private schoolteachers and staffs should be availed remuneration and facilities equal to the civil service.

Existing complexities

• Educational sector has been a wrestling ground of political parties.
• Significant differences exist in private and public schools in terms of policies, strategies, curriculum, etc.
• The private schools charge high admission fees annually and monthly fees compared to public in the name of better education. Similarly, there are discrepancies concerning fees in different private schools.
• The salaries and benefits to teaching and non-teaching staffs of private is less compared to public; whereas there is discrepancies amongst private schools in these regard too.
• Textbooks are not available in the remote areas on time.
• Many public school teachers have not been availed permanency albeit their long services (some even more than 20 years) so that their occupation is not secure.
• Civil Servants and officials along with public school teachers send their children to private schools. The leaders of political parties and senior bureaucrats send their children to schools abroad. Whereas, they are the prime investors and investing heavily on the private schools.
• Education although a foundation to economic, physical, social and cultural phenomena, has been less prioritized in the government policies, plans and programs. The agendas included in the programs are not implemented on time.
• The MoES in drowned in corruption and commission.
• The Asian Development Bank and World Bank have been imposing educational reforms that are not compatible in Nepali perspectives.
• No educational materials developed by the government on mother tongue for the ethnicities and nationalities despite of government’s repeated commitments.
• Illiterate parents/guardians also have ‘inkling’ towards English and send their children to private schools.
• Discrimination: The children of the rich families study in rich private and better schools and become doctors and engineers, whereas those from the poor families are bound to study in poor public schools to become their workers.
• Parents impose their wishes on the children while selecting the subjects or schools.
• There is no forum to share and discuss the issues relating to education among students, teachers and parents.
• The Nepali media has not given due response to this critical issue, but exclusive coverage on politics.
• Priority to money, muscle and mafia instead of mind.

Conclusion

The government had formed a talks committee, the same day the strike was announced, headed by a Joint Secretary of the Ministry, without consulting with the agitating forces. The teaching and administrative staffs, who had been involved in talks with that level and suffered a lot due to lack of implementation for eight times, rejected to participate in the talks. Therefore, they demanded a Minister level Talks Committee to execute the previous agreements, because the Joint Secretary is not authorized to take decisions but mere parroting.

The Minister Nepal responded to media that he was not in the position to lead the talks team since the agitators had utilized the maximum right of the trade union by calling a strike and insisted on the agitators to talk with the Team led by the Joint Secretary. After that giving an interview to Radio Nepal, he abused the agitators by accusing that they were terrorists and it was not feasible to talk with the terrorists. Then, the agitators planned to sit-in at the MoES and appealed the Minister to take back the term ‘terrorist’ and create a conducive environment for talks. The agitators have questioned publicly if Minister Nepal was a minister of the autocratic regressive force formed by Gyanendra.

This is not the first problem in the MoES and it will not be the last, because the leaders of political parties when not in power ‘purr as a cat’ advocating on behalf of people, but ‘turn into a lion and roar’ against the people after attaining power. The vital factor is that they have no academic horizon and vision, albeit are guided by money, muscle and mafia. Such persons are far from the democratic processes of dialogue, consensus and cooperation rather indulge in coercion and force.

UNICEF/Nepal, Civil Society, Private School Organizations, Teacher’s Unions, and so on have called both the sides to hold talks. The meeting initiate by the Guardian’s Association with the Minister of State could not continue since the Minister had not apologized for the incident of May 25, 2007.

Education is the wealth for a nation, which must be universal. It must reach all the commoners ensuring free and compulsory. It plays significant role to produce patriotic, progressive, disciplined and skilled human resources.

Literacy to children opens the door to higher education and an educated youth can properly lead the country in the right direction through the right path. Education ensures intrinsic empowerment of the people, which uplifts their personal, social and progressive role in the society and nation. Depriving children from education is a violation of the basic right of a child. The State, political parties and society have no ground to make education a tool to fulfill their interests and ambitions. Today’s children are the helmspersons for tomorrow’s nation and education is the backbone of a society. A society can develop when human beings are aware on problems and their solutions. Therefore, education and children are complementary and their rights should be respected, protected and promoted even in time of war. No one has the authority to deprive the children to education, a basic component of their right to development.

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116 thoughts on “Just like Schools, Capital of Nepal is Also Closed”

  1. Life is Good When You Are a Nepali Intellectual Elite
    (Courtesy: Mr. Ripley)

    When self-absorbed Nepalese elites dictate their vision of the “how-things-should-be” to the Nepalese , it’s the masses that ultimately bear the burden.

    Whether dying in a suicidal frontal attack on an army outpost for the “people‘s“ liberation army; taking a couple 0.303s from an Enfield Rifle with no body armor for a pre-modern monarchy that still lives in a 17th century cocoon; having to keep THEIR children home due to bandhs; suffering the failures of culture and society and waiting forever for clean drinking water, sewers, roads, or basic justice – its that abstract concept that we call “the people”, the beasts of burden, who quietly and desperately carry this burden on a daily basis.

    Mr. Kanak Mani Dixit, who is emblematic of this biased elite group-think, offered us this piece in the Nepali Times: “Enter the Politician – Charting the Course Back to Pluralism (http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/246)” served to demonstrate how much garbage our blow-hard elites can generate in just 1,000 words.

    The basic thesis of his attempt at spinning the politicians and the UN to undeserved glory and the whiny tone against any well-intentioned diplomatic efforts (their evil imperialist nemesis Moriarty) are worthy of reading only to validate how elites can say what they want with no worries about anyone calling them on it.

    In the fast moving world of the news, few really bother (or have the time) to check up on facts, analysis, or even basic logic – so, much like oil-painting, one always has the opportunity to deliver correcting brush strokes, overlaying the previous color as if it never existed. Skies become sand and trees become snow.

    Following up on the above piece, Mr. Dixit, evidently stoked by his democratic zeal during the April 2006 uprising gave us an even more verbose analysis of 5,000 plus words in Himal Magazine (http://himalmag.com/2006/march/cover_story_1.html), a publication that can only be described as a reflecting pool for South Asian narcissistic leftist intellectual bores.

    He gores King Gyanendra as the all-time villain and indulges in contradictory statements about the-then RNA. On the one hand, the RNA are bad because they never took the offensive, and then later to prop up another position, he argues:

    “With the army refusing to engage them in the field, the Maoists could not hope for firefights and battles to show their fighting mettle. All in all, for the last few years the rebel fighters have been reduced to clandestine ambushes of security forces, laying down improvised explosive devices on public roads, as well as blockades and highway closures.”

    Later in the same piece, he offers up this ridiculous lament:

    “Due to domestic, regional and international considerations, therefore, the Maoist decision to come to a ‘safe landing’ is convincing to all players. All players, that is, other than some diehard members of Kathmandu’s royalist elite and the American ambassador, who in mid-February conducted a frenzy of meetings, speeches and letters-to-the-editor trying to convince whoever would listen of an impending Maoist takeover of Kathmandu, and of the need to reject the Maoist siren calls that the 12-point understanding and the Maoist interviews represented. Lacking a nuanced understanding of the fast-changing Nepali political discourse, and obviously running to the dictates of his own administration’s ‘fight against terror’, the ambassador managed – it is hoped momentarily – to deflect the debate and the search for peace. Whereas a civil cautionary note to alert the political class of the dangers of Maoist doubletalk would not have been untoward, the ambassador was acting very much the American cowboy in a Nepali china shop. As the royal regime’s detainee, civil-society leader Devendra Raj Pandey said from jail on a mobile phone, “The ambassador’s statements are designed to take the country back to civil war, more bloodshed, and away from a political solution.”

    While he is correct about the need to make the incredibly stubborn King Gyanendra heel, Mr. Dixit’s over-the-top attempts to show us why the Maoists should be trusted and his juvenile anger against more centrist diplomats are now completely off the mark.

    More than one year later, the Nepalese “people” can see how his thesis is playing out. From what one can observe, the facts appear to be as follows:

    1. Basic security is non-existent in many parts of the country. Bandhs are back and schools and businesses are taking a hit – keeping yet another generation of Nepali middle and lower-class kids from opportunity.

    2. The YCL is becoming entrenched, metastasizing into many seams of Nepalese society.

    3. Mr. Dixit’s beloved politicians have reverted to true character.

    4. Economic growth is almost at a standstill – even as India and China are both clocking near double-digit economic growth rates.

    5. Armed groups are multiplying. And why not? If the Maoist cause has been sold as “legitimate”, why isn’t the Madhesi cause or a Hindu cause or any other cause “legitimate”?

    6. The Nepali Army is sidelined. The same Army who Mr. Dixit has denigrated over the years (what exactly, Mr. Dixit, is a Maoist “activist“? ) as 90,000 royalists hell-bent on preventing democracy. Never mind that this is the very army that demonstrated great restraint last April despite Maoist hopes of drawing them in to kill a few hundred of the “people.” Mr. Sitaula, the weasel of a Home Minister of “New Nepal” has created more “martyrs” than Jana-Andolan II.

    7. Political “inclusiveness”, instead of the promised palliative, appears to encourage fragmentation along ethnic, tribal, and caste fault lines.

    But Mr. Dixit need not worry. He can continue to pontificate, show up at rallies to demonstrate he is a man of the people, commune with like-minded international Brahmin elites, and sell the masses his vision of how things should be. He can sleep easy that if he is wrong, he can say something else the next day, and if that is wrong, tweak it a little more another day – and ask the “people” to be patient.

    Every day is a new day in New Nepal where you have nearly 30 million suckers who will pick up the tab.

    If you’re a “Mr. Dixit,” life is indeed very, very good.

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  2. scoop-the sad thing about people like you, noname and DOA is that you guys actually put the monarcy before the country (but you can never accept that). you guys probably aren’t even direct beneficiaries of the monarchy but that’s how blinkered your thinking is. no wonder this country is in the sh!t it is in. this country is full of your types either blindly supporting the monarchy, spa or the maoists-making excuses for their chosen ones all the time.

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  3. scoop-funny, I just realised that trying to convince you of KGs screw ups is just like trying to convince a Maoist or a SPA supporter of their own parties misdeeds and shortcomings-all of you guys are so stubborn and with such closed minds that the truth just becomes a lie if it relfects badly on your beliefs.

    It can be easily argued that the same problems your beloved king faced while trying to run the govt. the SPA faces right now as well. So if you can make such elaborate excuses for your king why do you come down so bitterly on the SPA-M? When you see YCL goons and SPA hoodlums on the street and in the govt. remember you are just like them albeit with different political beliefs. It’s people like you with your warped mindsets, be they a Maoists, Royalists or SPA supporter, that is bringing this country down.

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  4. Kirat,

    First, I’m sorry to dissapoint, but no matter how hard you try to state otherwise I don’t put the monarchy before the country. You are now going off on a tangent, when my question was very specific pertaining to how as you seem to believe the King’s rule could have been a success, one which I said was not a move to be taken.

    Secondly, you don’t have to convince me of the Kings screw ups (are you bothering to read what I write at all), I have already said it was a screw up and added that it was a move he should not have taken. It is people like you who keep insisting that the King could have done better, had his chance, should get another chance albeit with less authority blah blah blah.

    I’m afraid the only one being stubborn is you here. Again I repeat incase you missed it, I know the King messed up I am not arguing he did not, and so have everybody else – am I not allowed to talk of SPAM screw ups?

    I have also said in case you again missed it that we have to now go along with what we have instead of more “great” ideas from people like you to place not one but a whole bunch of screw ups together in tackling the situation at hand. I’m afraid Kirat the maoists are not going to just go away, and even if they are subdued somewhat what of the whole new crop of groups coming out of every nook and corner. It is too late to contain anything, it is time to accept this reality and work towards order in the best ways possible.

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  5. P.S. The obvious answer, if anyone is interested is everyone working towards holding the CA elections. I think we the public have to pressure from every facet for this one demand and not let political parties take the lead on this.

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  6. Kirat- loud and clear is this- you are an expert at seeing from the hindsight and making it your agenda. You offer no solution except recriminate and expose your tunnel vision. You turn the topic on a dime and spew your one track sound bites as if you “know better than the rest.” Now you tell me who has got the sense of megalomania like the SPAM.

    Country is always supreme, who do you take us for? people who just walked out of a jungle with one story, one view and one act! you seem a person which are good at nitpicking but have no foot in the ground where you can take stand or something you can stand for. Its easy to say this should have happened, this should be done and I told you so. Man, your two pence worth of advice is plenty round here and that is the problem- aren’t you aware of that. You are the kind to whom it does not matter where the chips may fall because the way you were arguing about marginalization of your creed few months ago is your safe bet. Think of nation, you say, damn right do it.

    I have always spoken for Multiparty system with Constitutional Monarchy- now if you want to me to expound more- I see no need.

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  7. DOA,

    You see Kirat knows ‘everything’ ‘about everything’ and he can argue about ‘anything’ … he is walking, talking, living and breathing Encyclopedia of this blog… You can find another Mr. Know-all in this blog … he is the one and only one …

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  8. Kirat,

    Again you really take the cake for being stubborn as an ass. I did not want to know where the King screwed up – I already know that (I believe he screwed up by making the move, leave alone everything else). I wanted to know how according to you lot he could have been a success without being brutal. Do you really go through what people say here or do you feel smug at rereading your own comments only.

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  9. On the Unholy Alliance with Maoism
    (Courtesy: Bhisma R. Karki)

    First of all, I still call the Maoists terrorists and continue to do so in spite of the bonhomie between them and the government of Nepal. In this I am not alone; millions of Nepali people feel the revulsion for the inhuman crimes of the Maoists. The wound of terrorism is ever fresh.

    A war torn country is forced to make space for the Maoist terrorism. Nobody denies that peace is better than war. But the absence of towering figure to lead Nepal with a foresight to nip the Maoist terrorism in the bud is a very sad reality.

    Now the tide of the Maoist terrorism appears strong and unstoppable, thanks to the unscrupulous politicians switching sides and the bungling monarch making a mess of everything. The voice against the Maoist terrorism is disorganized, demoralized and mute.

    Yet it is no exaggeration to claim that this vast mass is the true majority. The democratic leadership has let them down most shamefully. The anti-Maoist majority lacks the fervor and hysteria which makes the Maoist terrorism so deadly a force. The Nepali chutzpah has yet to find its savior.

    One is awed by the power of the ugly Maoist ideology in enthralling a sizable section of the poor Nepali mass, which is embracing the Maoism in the great ecstasy of liberation. These people are gladly willing to make the supreme sacrifice of life and death in the name of the Maoism. The poverty of consciousness of this population makes them the blind instruments at the criminal service of the Maoist network.

    The charismatic leader of the Fascism, Benito Mussolini, said the supreme trial is the trial of life, to be ready to give up life. Although the fascist tactics are repugnant, the Maoists share its worst features.

    The Maoist mass shows the fanatical devotion to the Maoist party and is ready to die and kill. This mass idolizes the vicious terrorist leaders BabuRam and Prachanda who are also courted and feted by the government of Nepal.

    Some media are also seen fawning at the feet of Maoist terrorism, not to mention the servile intelligentsia. Even a columnist of fine caliber like Khagendra Sangraulla sees in Maoism a great promise. At the same time Mr. Sangraulla is ever happy to discharge the venom against the monarchy.

    The seeds of the Maoist terrorism were sown in the reign of democratic parties because the elected representatives failed completely to stand up to the ideal of public life. The deterioration of the image of the democratic government (in the public eye) made Maoism not only attractive but also made it possible for Maoism to expand into the popular democratic base.

    The decay of the political forces of post 1990 Nepal is so deep that the communism and its most brutal version Maoism, emerged as a credible alternative in Nepal. The Nepali people have to put up with the atrocities of the Maoist terrorism.

    The unholy alliance between the democratic parties and the Maoits is an opportunism of the worst kind directed against the king. Of course king Gyanendra himself bears some blame for his current plight.

    While the SPA-Maoist alliance has temporarily stopped the never ending violence and war, it is an action rewarding Maoist terrorism. In vain, so many people died. So many people are suffering. It was an unnecessary and tragic war. Nepal is not Peru. Otherwise Prachanda & Baburam would spend the rest of their life in a cage to pay for their crimes.

    The direct rule of the King of Nepal, Gyanendra, was a wasted opportunity with tragic consequences which are yet to unfold. The King, instead of building up the popular front against the Maoist terrorists, has sadly become the victim of popular backlash. The King turned out to be no better than just a fool who squandered the enormous goodwill. But Prachanda is a bloody criminal who dreams of usurping the throne.

    The political parties, ostracized by an inept and ambitious king, have stooped to the sinister force of Maoism whose rise to power has been paved by terrorism. In this age of the universal triumph of democracy, our country finds itself paralyzed by Maoist terrorism. The political parties like the Nepali Congress and UML who today rejoice in humiliating and insulting the king, will be the next to fall prey to the beast of the Maoist terrorism.

    After the tumultuous uprising of the year 2006, the king appears helpless. The choicest terms of abuse are hurled routinely against the Monarchy, while the horrendous crimes of the Maoists are barely uttered.

    On the scale of evil, the Maoists’ record remains incomparable. The Maoists are infinitely more cruel and evil than all the kings combined. It was and is easy to dislodge the king from power. The Maoist terrorists, once they come to power, can be overthrown only by violent means.

    All the governments, including the one headed by the King himself, never had faith in the strength of the cause against the Maoist insurgency. All the time there was wavering and confusion. Maoists were wholly focused and ruthless.

    Even with all the terrorism and violence perpetrated by Maoists over the past 10 years (and now), Nepali people have yet to understand the intensity of the ruthless Maoist machine. The rise and success of Maoist terrorism could not have been possible without the succession of the weak and incompetent governments offering half-hearted fights and confused retreats. Only in Nepal can a ragtag group of terrorist militia grow unopposed in some sense into such a powerful organization.

    Very soon the political parties will lose their dwindling mass-base. Maybe in the confusion, the populace will have to put up willingly with the curse of a Maoist takeover. The antagonism between the monarchy and democratic forces including the UML need not escalate into the permanent hostility, no matter how badly king Gyanendra was disrespectful towards the parliamentary parties. The king has already been punished for his misadventure. In the long run, the honeymoon between the democratic parties and the Maoist will be suicidal blunder for Nepal.

    In the current sordid political drama of Nepal, it is fashionable to trumpet the bugle of republicanism and accuse the monarchy of all the ills facing Nepal. Even the ex-panchas are deserting the king’s camp.

    But in the days and years to come, Nepal as a kingdom will surely look more benign in comparison with the terror and crimes committed by the Maoists. If the Monarchy is toppled now, the main beneficiary will be the Maoist terrorist. There will be no stopping the hordes of Maoists from taking over the country.

    The constitutional monarchy is a far more dignified system than the Maoist takeover. The fall of monarchy will hasten Nepal’s plunge into an abyss of anarchy. Where are the followers of the 1990 constitution? The constitutional arrangement of the 1990 is worth fighting for. Let Nepal not burn in the inferno run by the Maoist thugs. To the followers of the Constitutional Monarchy, I urge, rise up. We can save Nepal from the fiendish hands of the Maoist terrorists. If the people of Nepal see through the dark and ugly face of the Maoism, they will never side with the Maoism against the constitutional monarchy.

    Let us unite against the Maoist terrorism. To this end the silent contempt for Maoism alone is not enough. Only at the total destruction of the Maoist terrorist network will the sweet flower of democracy bloom in Nepal.

    The republic & the constitutional assembly are Maoist agendas. I am against the constituent assembly and the the formation of a republic. Both agendas may appear innocent demands on the surface. But they are only stepping stones for the totalitarian takeover of the Maoist terrorism.

    How can we let the murderer and criminal Maoists frame the constitution? The people drafting the constitution should come from the noble and ideal stock of the nation. When the cycle of hatred and violence completes, the mad force of the Maoist terrorism will meet an agonizing death. With the demise of Maoism will emerge a truly democratic Nepal.

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  10. In the real world as opposed to this space we can see people for the monarch, for the SPA and the maoists but this blog is mostly filled with fence sitters who criticise everyone. What good is it sitting on your fat asses on a fence and typing theoritical half paisa worth of suggestions (it’s worthless if your audience is yourselves and this joker of a blog host) AND criticisms of each and every one – King, SPA, maoists, Indians, madhesis, janjatis etc. etc. Either do something about it practically or shut up and put up! I tell you – you are the most pathetic bunch of jokers. It’s worse because you are all seemingly educated as well. Pathetic!

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  11. PArents imposing their wishes upon children that is an international problem….
    They should” work in factory”, ” marry ” whom the mother likes(no wonder they all abandon their wives) and so on.
    Practically childhood does not exist in Nepal. Between pampering and smashing up there should be a middle way, not where children fire their school teachers, but I knew somebody who went to a school for more than average intelligent, and they choose their own teachers, if it was a waste of time they could say we don’t choose this teacher. They interviewed the teacher, before contracting.
    From Chile latin america again.
    NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT NEPAL IS DOING TO CHILDREN SINCE A LONG TIME. BUT IT IS WHAT THEY LEARNED OR THEY THINK SEND AWAY GIVE AWAY IT WILL BE NICE.
    I remember I always used to want to grow up, because they seemed to have the right to talk and design laws, now I feel childhood is only once and most grown ups are pathetic children, balancing between other so called adults, children are so much better. My teacher in philosophy and psychology says we should allways remain like children. Jesus also said Let the children come to me. They are not yet rotten and into money matters.

    Make educational tv on KANTIPUR if we cannot go out of the country or design Special Homeworks for Bandhs we might as well accept it, send them to Kalmimpong or Homeworks.
    Beat the Parents.

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  12. well a nice and friendly question to you all

    WOULD YOU LIKE TO SLEEP WITH A DEGREE IN YOUR HAND AND AN EMPTY STOMACH OR
    WITHOUT A DEGREE IN YOUR HAND BUT HAVE HAD 4 SQUARE MEALS A DAY.

    get employment now so that your children get good education later.
    i have heard about educated people being unemployed, or employed at taxi drivers even.

    instead of closing these schools effort should be made on a sustainable employment plan.

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  13. I don’t know how my article appears here. I submitted my article to this blog but I received no response. The people running this blog did not have courtesy to reply even after my repeated queries. What an indignity.

    I object to my article appearing if was done by the people running this blog. If other participant did it, I can’t control them.

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