Deal on reducing hiked school fees in limbo

Published On: May 26, 2017 12:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

On April 28, various student unions and the Ministry of Education (MoE) had agreed to reduce within 15 days the fees illegally increased by various private schools.
KATHMANDU, May 26: An agreement signed a month ago between the government and the student unions to reduce illegally increased fees in the private schools has yet to be implemented.

A meeting between the agitating student unions and the Ministry of Education (MoE) on April 28 had agreed to reduce within 15 days the fees illegally increased by the private schools. Signing a four-point agreement, the ministry had expressed its commitment to scrap the licenses of those schools that refuse to roll back the fees hiked in violation of the Education Regulations. 

“So far as we know, the agreement has been shelved without implementation,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the Guardians' Association Nepal. “Only a few schools nominally decreased fees under a few heads instead of withdrawing it,” he added. “Some schools had increased the fees up to 60 percent.”

The student unions, which protested the arbitrary fee hike were Nepal Students' Union, All Nepal National Free Students' Union, All Nepal National Independent Students' Union-Revolutionary, Tarai-Madhes Students Front, ANNFSU-Sixth, Rastriya Prajatantra Students Union, ANNFSU-Fifth and Naya Shakti Students' Union.

Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of the Nepal Students' Union, said that they are unaware about the status of implementation of the agreement. “We are busy in local elections. We will follow up on the implementation process seriously after the second phase of the local elections scheduled for June 14,” he added.

According to the Education Regulations 2069, schools can hike the fees only after due approval by the guardians and the District Education Office. Apart from this, the Supreme Court had ordered the schools to increase the fees not before three years. However, private schools have been found hiking the fees arbitrarily every year.
On April 28, both the student's unions and the ministry agreed to form a panel for monitoring fee hikes and hold talks with the stakeholders. The panel headed by joint-secretary of the MoE will take initiatives for resolving the disputes. 

Following the agreement, the student unions withdrew their protests for the time being. 
Various private schools arbitrarily increased the fees for the new academic session which started from April 14. 

MoE spokesman Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal claimed that the Department of Education has already started its work. “However, the committee has yet to be formed by the education minister because the government's attention has been drawn toward the local election,” he added.

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