KATHMANDU, Jan 16: If things go as recommended by the High-Level Education Commission (HLEC), private schools will be converted into non-profit trusts within the next 10 years. HLEC on Tuesday submitted its report to Prime Minister KP Oli.
The report has also recommended that the distance between two private schools should be at least a 45-minute walking distance. Currently, there are more than 5,000 private schools across the country, with about 1.5 million students.
A cabinet meeting held on November 26 extended the tenure of the HLEC till January 8. The original tenure ended on December 2.
According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), the report includes policy guidelines from school to higher-education levels. The report also includes government investment in education, mainly in school-level education.
After the tenure of the HLEC formed at the time of then deputy prime minister and education minister Gopal Man Shrestha ended, the government formed a 21-member new HLEC on June 18 last year. The previous HLEC came in for controversy as it included party cadres and representatives from private schools. The present committee formed by Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel has excluded private school representatives but includes leftist party cadres as members.
The cabinet meeting on June 18 last year decided to form the 21-member committee under Minister for Education Science and Technology Pokahrel. After assuming office, Pokharel pledged to form the HLEC within a month. But he failed to implement on time one agenda item under his five-year road map.
The HLEC formed by the present government was assigned to submit its report within four months. However, it failed to draft the necessary policies and rules within the stipulated time.
The new HLEC includes as members former education ministers Dhani Ram Paudel from then CPN (Maoist Center) and Ganga Lal Tuladhar from the then CPN-UML, educationist Dr Bidya Nath Koirala, Shusan Acharya, Tanka Nath Sharma, Min Bahadur Bista, Bimal Phuyal, then UML-affiliated teachers association president Babu Ram Adhikari, then Janamorcha-affiliated teachers organization president Nanda Kumar Thapa and then CPN (Maoist Center)- affiliated Shyam Shrestha.
Similarly, the other members are Kathmandu University Dean Manish Pokharel, agro-expert Krishna Paudel, public health worker Sujan Marahattha, Dalit movement activist Chakra Man BK and Ram Awagat Raya. Education Secretary Khaga Raj Baral, National Planning Commission Member Usha Jha and a joint-secretary at MoEST are also included.