World Assembly Inaugural speech: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nepal

Inaugural speech: HE Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nepal

Hon. Min. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali is the Minister of foreign affairs, Nepal elected 2015 as the member of house of representatives. You served also the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation from 2006-07. You were one of the key members of govt negotiations with Maoist rebels and your role has been very highly appreciated in Nepalese peace process.

Let me convey deep gratitude for NCE Nepal for hosting 6th WA in Kathmandu. Pleasure to be here, welcome you all to Nepal. Proud to say that Nepal is a fountain of Eastern philosophy, education, knowledge, wisdom and culture, which are inherent characteristics of our civilisation. Our ancestors draw the conclusion that without knowledge, there will be no emancipation and symbolised it in the scriptures. They invented the mantras – that means from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth. The profound wisdom of this land has been immortalised in in Vedas and Upanishads, Yoga and Ayurveda, grammar and linguistics and many more. Hosting the WA is of special importance.

 

Distinguished delegates, education is the light of life, source of civilisation and origin of knowledge, wisdom and awareness. Education is foundation of development and progress. Education in 21st century should not only spur creativity, innovation and exploration but should also cultivate culture of peace, harmony and tolerance. Education should be for serving self-interest and also for nurturing greater good of larger society. It should cultivate compassion, respect diversity, accommodate differences and foster moral values and shared benefits. Education should be a common faith that connects people and uphold feelings of togetherness. It should be a process of enlightenment that illuminates person and society. It should contribute to development of society and nation. It should enable us to bridge the gaps between haves and have nots and ending deprivation and backwardness, which will contribute to defeating social tensions, discord and conflict. It should be the building block of peace and prosperity. Particularly public education should be a means for equality, inclusion and social justice.

In this context, theme of WA, transforming public education for equality, inclusion and justice is highly relevant. I am happy to know that GCE is continuing to strengthen CS voice in education and ensure education for all in countries with greatest need. This ultimately helps govt to deliver the right of everyone to free and equal education.

 

NCE Nepal is also representing CS in Nepal in education. I believe that partnership between Government and NGO including CSO is, important to enhance public education system in Nepal. Constitution in Nepal has ensured right to education is a fundamental right, clearly spelling out that right to get free compulsory upto basic level and free until secondary level from state. The Constitution has provision to make higher education free, quality and accessible gradually. Government of Nepal attaches high importance to public education. We have education policy and programs to enhance equitable access to education at all levels and enhance quality of improving public education. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the remarkable achievements of Nepal in education:

 

1)     Adult and youth literacy rates are estimated to have increased 13 times in last 60 years from 5$ in 1961 to 65.9% in 2011

2)     Primary enrolment 66.8% in 1998 to 96.9% in 2015, growing at the rate of 4.5 per year.

3)     Gender parity index in school enrollment in primary level has reached 1.08 in 2016 from 0.17 in 1973.

4)     We have expressed commitment to allocate 20% of national budget and 6% of GDP in striving to meet it.

5)     Passed bill to free and compulsory education. Which will pave the way to implement education-related fundamental rights in constitution.

7)     School sector development plan after SDG.

 

Despite all efforts, our public education is not free of challenges. Particularly enhancing quality and reducing disparity between public and private education are big challenges. Ensuring effective management of educational institutions and Reducing dropout and higher education are challenges among many. Effective coordination among federal, provincial and local levels of policy and programs regarding education not easy. Extraordinary awareness among parents to send children to school. All sections of Nepalis including Dalits, Janjatis, marginalised people and women – everyone is eager to educate their children. Basic educational infrastructure has been increased at all levels. Use of Educational information systems and educational good governance and unprecedented expansion use of Information Communication Technology in public education are some opportunities available.

 

In terms of education, we are living in an era of contradictions. On one hand, literacy has risen, on the other hand, social crimes like rape and gender violence are reportedly growing. Why are we not getting an opportunity to be proud that rising level of education and awareness and substantially reduced corruption and embezzlement? Sometimes I am disturbed to read about the increasing unemployment among educated youth. Why could education not create job opportunities? Why couldn’t education create entrepreneurs? Why could education not inspire them to work at home rather than go abroad?

 

I hope the world assembly will seriously contemplate on this. Your profound deliberations and recommendations will help the Governments to make public education more effective and qualitative. There are variety of challenges we face in public education. Today the challenges are interconnected more than ever. They are not confined to the boundaries of countries and continents. But confined to particular race and nations. Our collective efforts should further consolidated and strengthen us to tackle our common challenges and problems.

 

Nepal Government is ready to go hand in hand to all stakeholders with all elements. This govt with overwhelming mandate of people is determined to accelerate drive for prosperity and sustainable development, guided by the vision of prosperous Nepal and happy Nepali. To realise this goal, our priority is to ensure equitable, inclusive, quality public education that would contribute to creating decent jobs and get full employment for our working age population and achieving lasting peace, prosperity and happiness. Your deliberations will be an important boost for us to ensure not just education for all, but quality and equitable education for all. I wish the success of this assembly.



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