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Nepal: Newsline

Commitment to girls' education

KATHMANDU, Nepal, 15 December 2008 - At a time when the country is in the process of building a 'New Nepal' through a new constitution, 197 women Constituent Assembly (CA) members have come together and expressed their commitment to girls' education.

The women CA members pledged to promote girls' education by signing a 15-point declaration vowing "to guarantee girls' education and ending gender inequality."

The commitment was expressed during a formal programme organized by the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education, the United Nation's Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), UNICEF and Educational Pages Fortnightly.

"A 'New Nepal' can be created only after the end of gender discrimination," said Finance Minister Dr. Babu Ran Bhattarai. He added, "Education is the first way to end gender discrimination and therefore the opportunity to have an education must be of primary importance for our country."

Schooling for conflict-affected children
At a time when the country is trying to heal the wounds caused by conflict, the government is planning to establish residential schools for conflict-affected children in all five administrative regions across the country.

"In order to reach more children with education, the government is planning to give free education until the 12th grade to children from Dalit, indigenous and other marginalized communities," said Director General of the Department of Education Janardan Nepal.

Education for all
UNICEF Representative to Nepal Gillian Mellsop, congratulated the Nepali government for its move to provide education to all in a diversified country like Nepal. "More girls are attracted to school when there is a female teacher. So there should be teachers from Dalit and indigenous communities as well," she said. "The government's commitment to the girls' education will give hope to the girls who make up half the population."

Meanwhile, Dr. Bhattarai said that the budget for the new fiscal year has given priority to educating girls. "I pledge to implement the commitment expressed by the women CA members today to promote education and end gender discrimination."


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