This article was originally published by the Kathmandu Post.
Panchthar District Education Officer Gyan Mani Nepal has been awarded with Nepal’s first ‘Integrity Idol’ on Sunday.
Accountability Lab, established with the purpose of promoting accountability and transparency, awarded officer Nepal for his contribution to hold local teachers accountable to their responsibilities for improving the quality of education in the district.
Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel awarded Nepal with certificate amid a function in Kathmandu. Poudel was picked among four other finalists selected from more than 300 civil servants in the country. Social worker Leela Bhattarai, Prem Bahadur Khadka, principal of Arniko School in Bhaktapur, nursing instructor Bhuwan Kumari Dangol and health worker Pawan Kumar Mandal were the finalists.
A selection committee headed by former Chief Commissioner of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had picked Nepal as the winner.
“Gyan Mani Nepal visited every single school in the 41 Village Development Committees, interacted with students and listened to their parents. He shared his personal mobile number with students and parents, who now often contact him to report if teachers are absent, arrive late, or leave early,” said Accountability Lab’s South Asian Representative Narayan Adhikari.
As a result, teacher attendance in the district is over 90%, and schools in the district run regularly despite frequent political protests, and lack of resources or government support, according to Accountability Lab.
“Pass rates in the district have risen from 14% to over 60%. His action has restored citizen trust in public schools, and as a result, many parents are taking their kids out of private schools and admitting them to public schools,” it stated further.
Speaking at the award announcing ceremony Nepal said, “I have not done anything different, I have just done things differently.”