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Nepal teachers protest against education reform bill

THOUSANDS of teachers in Nepal protested for a third day today, shutting down schools in the capital, against plans to reform the School Education Bill.

Teachers have been demonstrating in Kathmandu since Wednesday against the Bill while teachers’ groups negotiate with government leaders over changes to the legislation.

The teachers oppose provisions that would shift government-run schools to local control, saying it would lower their status, and that would scrap many temporary teacher positions.

Today, teachers blocked the main street leading from the parliament building to key government ministries, disrupting traffic in the heart of the capital.

Hundreds of police in riot gear blocked the road leading to parliament with barbed-wire barricades.

The teachers have threatened to bring more protesters to Kathmandu if their demands are not addressed.

Protester Badri Dhungel said: “Our key demand is we teachers should be kept under the central government like any other government professionals and not in the control of local authorities which are all controlled by politics.

“We should get equal pay, status and other facilities and benefits like civil servants.”

The protest led to the closure of about 29,000 public schools attended by millions of students across the country.

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