13 Kathmandu private schools fined over fee hike

Published On: June 27, 2016 02:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, June 27:The government has taken action against 13 private schools in Kathmandu district for increasing fees without meeting set criteria.

According to the the District Education Office, Kathmandu, almost all private schools in Kathmandu district have violated the rules while increasing their fees. The government can impose a fine of up to Rs 25,000 to each school found hiking fees arbitrarily.

“We have taken action against 13 schools in Kathmandu district for increasing fees without meeting the set criteria,” said Shankar Gautam, District Education Officer, of Kathmandu. “We fined 10 schools Rs 5,000 each, while three schools were fined Rs 25,000 each,” he said without naming the schools.

All private schools in Kathmandu district have increased fees under different headings including school building repairs, sports, extracurricular activities, primary aid, computer, library, transportation and so on, according to the District Education Office of Kathmandu.

There are some 1,100 private schools in Kathmandu, and about 400 in Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts.

According to the Education Regulations, a private school should submit its fee hike proposal to the concerned District Education Office by January 15 each year and the office should decide on the hike by February 15. The new academic session begins from April 15.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) in March issued directive that says private schools can increase fees including tuition, transportation, food and residency with the approval of the two-thirds majority of the assembly of guardians and teachers. The directive also provisions construction of earthquake resistant school building including ramps and dual exits within three years. Schools failing to implement the directive will lose their license, according to the directive.
Fees Management and Monitoring Central Committee (FMMCC), which has the director general of the Department of Education as its coordinator, asked the MoE on May 31 to seek clarification within two weeks from the private schools for aribtrarily increasing fees. “We are going to take action against many schools soon. We will publish the names of the schools that have increased their fees without justification,” said Gautam.

As per the Education Regulations, private schools can review their fee structure as per their classification. B category schools can charge fees up to 25 percent higher than C category schools while A category schools can charge fees up to 50 percent higher than C category schools, by taking permission from the District Fee Determination Committee, headed by the district education officer. The average monthly tuition fee for C category schools is Rs 1,700.

Although the Education Act allows actions including scrapping of the licenses of private schools violating the rules, there is no record of any private school losing its license because of fee hike.

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