The license of old schools has become a source of income for some as the recent eight amendment of the Education Act does not allow registering new schools under the company act.
KATHMANDU, Feb 5: Around 250 private schools in the Kathmandu Valley are found to be existing only on papers.
Some 200 schools in Kathmandu, 28 schools in Lalitpur and 20 schools in Bhaktapur are non-existent, according to members of the school monitoring teams formed by the Department of Education. Officials from the District Education Office of the respective districts and representatives of various school organizations and guardians are included in the team.
Though they are not in existence, officials claimed that political leaders continuously pressurize the authorities to renew license of such ghost schools just for making income by selling their license to those who want to run new schools in the Valley.
The license of old schools has become a source of income for some as the recent eighth amendment to the Education Act does not allow registering new schools under the Company Act making it mandatory to register new schools under trust.
The Private and Boarding Schools Organization Nepal (PABSON) claims that there are more than 1,500 schools in operation in the Kathmandu Valley. According to the District Education Office of Kathmandu, there are 1,185 schools registered alone in Kathmandu district. There are over 5,000 private schools across the country.
Lakshya Bahadur KC, president of PABSON, admitted that they have already got details of over 100 private schools that exist only on papers in Kathmandu while they are studying about other such possible cases. 'We are not the authority to look into matters of such schools,' he said. 'It is the government to deal with such issues.'
Additionally, several others schools are found to be running with less than the minimum required number of students. According to the District Education Office (DEO), Kathmandu, 62 among 1,185 private schools in Kathmandu are running with less than 25 students while district offices of Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are yet to find out the existing number of students in private schools.
Jaya Acharya, chief of the DEO, Kathmandu, said that though he wasn"t in a position to give the specific number of non-existent schools, he said there are such schools in a large number and the situation is serious.
'We are going to take necessary action against schools with zero students, non-existent schools or schools running with less than the minimum number of required students,' said Acharya. 'License of schools with less than 22 students running for three consecutive years will be scrapped as per the rules,' he added.
There should be at least 22 students in primary level, 33 in lower secondary and 40 students up to grade 10, according to the existing rules. If a school has less than 22 schools, it should either be shut down or merged with another school.
After implementation of the eighth amendment of Education Act about eight months ago, the private schools that are non-existent or with least number of students have started making business by selling license of such schools, according to the Guardians Association Nepal (GAN). As per the Education Act, the new schools must be registered under the trust while already registered schools can operate under the Company Act.
Bechan Kafar, president of Kathmandu chapter of GAN, said that the private schools keep on violating the rules under the protection of political leaders. 'The district education office decided to take action against the schools on papers two times in the past but failed to do anything,' he added.
Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at the Ministry of Education, said that the district education offices are responsible to take action against such schools that exist only on papers or run with less than the minimum number of required students. 'We will study on the matter. The schools which are not in operation cannot be sold or purchased as per the rules,' he said. 'If the schools do not have students, their license should be scrapped.'