| March 28, 2017
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SLC, 82, RIP

Changed school education
With the publication of the results of this year’s School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations, the certificates of millions of Nepalis who have over the years passed through the dreaded “iron gate” will start to look outdated. Their children will one day scan the certificates of their parents and wonder if their mothers and fathers didn’t belong to the Stone Age. The embarrassed parents will, for their part, have no option but to silently gulp down their humiliation. Perhaps they will be reminded of the saying that change is the only constant in the universe. For the SLC exams will now be scrapped, along with the Office of Controller of Examinations. Henceforth, the school-ending exams will no longer be taken at the end of grade 10 but at the end of grade 12; and they won’t be called SLC exams. Starting this year, the old system of ranking students on percentage basis has also been ditched. In the results published on Thursday, the 615,553 students who appeared for SLC exams this year have been ranked on a sliding scale of letter grades, from A to E. The new certificates with neat letter grades will undoubtedly offer a curious contrast to the old ones with a messy jumble of marks.

Grumblings of luddites aside, these are much-needed changes. The new grade system and redefinition of school system to include grade 11 and 12 bring Nepal’s school education system up to date with the education system practiced in much of the developed world. This is important. Nepali students faced great difficultly when they applied to good colleges and universities abroad as their mark-sheets would be hard to interpret for foreign evaluators long used to the letter grading system. They are also accustomed to thinking of school as ending in grade 12. The same with prospective employers of Nepali graduates wanting to work abroad; they will now have an easier time evaluating Nepali CVs. With more and more knowledge workers from Nepal looking to work abroad in this globalizing world, their job hunt will now be made easier. Also, by doing away with the “fail” category, the grade system has with one stroke removed the stigma attached to those failing in SLC exams; every year three or four of them committed suicide fearing they would be branded failures for the rest of their lives.  These are the positives of the new system.


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One South Asia

The region’s prosperity depends on the ability of its political leaders to mitigate differences and collectively focus on economic development
Poverty is pervasive and entrenched in South Asian countries. About 399 million people in this region—or 40 percent of the world’s poor—live on less than US $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. The region is also home to around two-thirds (more than 200 million) of world’s slum-dwellers. This region includes four least developed countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, a region where half a billion people still live without electricity. Thus there is a need for collective action to lift the bottom 399 million people out of poverty.
Economic growth is the most powerful tool to reduce poverty and improve the quality of lives in poor countries. In the past few decades economic growth achieved through well-known reforms have lifted millions of poor out of poverty in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Further, globalization and liberalization are a reality we must contend with; no single country on its own can achieve sustainable economic growth. Thus regional integration is the key to South Asia’s prosperity.

Why integration?
Generally, economic interests underpin regional integration. Its bottom-line is shared prosperity through accelerated economic activities. Regional collaboration contributes to economic growth and poverty alleviation. In the globalized world, South Asian regional integration is crucial for a number of reasons. First, it helps strengthen the region’s economic gains against vulnerabilities due to global shocks. Second, lack of decent and well-paid jobs remains a major challenge in South Asia. Regional economic integration helps create more decent jobs by promoting manufacturing sector.
Third, it helps individual countries to enhance their capacity in various businesses. Fourth, regional integration can be useful for small and poor countries to move up the value chain and maximize their growth potential. Further, presence of small and poorer countries in regional market via trade integration can help them respond better to business challenges and yield positive spillovers. Last but not least, it can contribute to the region’s long-term peace and stability by ensuring more jobs and sustained growth.


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Police arrest cheaters

KATHMAN DU, June 17: Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPDC) has arrested two persons accusing them of swindling earthquake victims. According to police, they cheated earthquake victims promising them of sending them to Japan. The arrested are Japanese citizen Hiroshi Morikawa, 55 and Bajra Gurung, a resident of Kathmandu Metropolitan -2, Lazimpat.
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Humbled by mountains

Whether I am on a bus or a plane, a seat by the window is always on my wish-list
At the end of a recent one-hour flight from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu, I thanked myself several times for not possessing a professional camera.

Now, who in this world of technological advancements would celebrate the lack of a camera that would capture life’s fleeting moments and help you walk down the memory lane when you reach a point when your feather-weight body tries hard to confine a rebellious spirit to a crumbling cage of ribs?     


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NPU honours nine journalist women

KATHMANDU, June 17: Nine journalist women were feted in recognition for their relentless contribution to country and people through write-ups here today. 

Bharati Silwal Giri, Babita Basnet, Bharati Upadhaya, Radha Chalise, Rita Gurung, Sharada Kumari Poudel, Dhan Lama, Amrita Lamsal and Shanta Poudel were honored. They have been writing for various publications for the last two decades. 


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Govt directed to ensure that remittance comes thru banking system

KATHMANDU, June 17: The Parliamentary Development Committee has directed the Ministry of Labor and Employment to make sure that the remittance sent by Nepalese workers abroad comes through the banking system. The committee also directed the Nepal government, the Ministry of Commerce and Nepal Rastra Bank to bear all the cost that workers need to incur while sending money through the banking system.
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Govt. to complete three responsibilities: Minister Rai

BHAKTAPUR, June 17: Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai has said that the incumbent government will accomplish major three responsibilities: election of local, federal and central bodies, implementation of the constitution and completion of the reconstruction projects. 

Speaking in a face to face program organized by the Rafat Sanchar Club here today, Minister Rai claimed that the government will accomplish these duties adding that there was no alternative to the incumbent government unless these responsibilities are completed. He claimed that this government was the strongest one in the history as it was formed on such coalition partnership. 

 

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Timber collection from SWR starts for reconstruction works

BHIMDATTANAGAR,June 17: Collection of timber from the Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve has started for the reconstruction of houses destroyed by the April 25, 2015 earthquake. 

The collection starts following the decision of the Cabinet meeting on April 1 to this effect.
As part of the drive, timber of around 4,460 trees felled by strong winds around two years ago would be collected for the purpose, said the reserve information officer Gopal Ghimire. 


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