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Saturday, May 19, 2007

School strike idles 7 million students

More than 7 million children remained out of school for the second day Friday following the closure called by Nepal Republican Educational Forum seeking the fulfillment of their demands. The agitating teachers staged a sit-in at the Prime Minister's resident for several hours and after they could not meet the Prime Minister they handed a memorandum at his residence.

However, the Ministry of Education and Sports said it would hold talks with other groups Parents' Association, Nepal Teachers' Union and Maoist affiliated student union after the Republican Educational Forum refused to sit for talks with the team formed at the joint secretary level.

Spokesman at the Ministry Lava Prasad Tripathy and coordinator of the team formed on Thursday, said the Minister or the Assistant Minister will hold talks with the other groups than the Forum on the educational demands probably on Sunday.

The Republican Educational Forum was called for dialogue on Friday but they declined the offer.
General Secretary of the Forum, Bhim Kshetry said, "We will not talk with the team formed at the 'employee' level."

Meanwhile, in another development a team of PABSON and N-PABSON, the associations of private and boarding schools, met with Maoist leader Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai. After the meeting, Umesh Shrestha, president of PABSON said that Dr. Bhattarai assured them that their demands would be given serious consideration. "We are ready to fulfill the demands related to the teachers in private schools," said Shrestha.

Another member of the team Geeta Rana of N-PABSON, said Dr. Bhattarai told them that the issue would be put forth in the 8-party meeting as well as will be discussed within his party.