KATHMANDU, Jan 17: Private schools and guardians have come out against the idea of converting private schools into non-profit trusts as recommended in the report submitted by the High-Level Education Commission (HLEC) to the government.
The HLEC submitted its report to Prime Minister KP Oli on Tuesday. The report has recommended to the government that private schools be converted into non-profit trusts and that such schools should be at least 45 minutes walking distance apart.
Currently, there are over 5,000 private schools across the country, with about 1.5 million students. Almost all the private school have been operating under the Companies Act, as private entities with private investment.
“If this controversial recommendation is true, it is unacceptable to us,” said Bijaya Sambahamphe, president of the Private and Boarding Schools Organization (PABSON). “This is a topsy-turvy decision of the so-called experts. Instead of eliminating private schools, which constitute only 20 percent of all schools, the government should have worked to improve the 80 percent of schools that are in the public sector,” said Sambahamphe, adding that the report will never get implemented as it is irrational.
Guardians also criticized the spirit of the report, saying it takes an approach to the private sector that is counter to constitutional and legal provisions. “The report submitted by the commission comprising cadres of the ruling party has created a controversy. It is against global practices,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the Guardians Association Nepal.
According to the Ministry of Education the report includes policy guidelines for the education sector from school to higher level education. The report also calls for government investment in education, mainly in school-level education, for improving the quality of public schools.
A cabinet meeting held on November 26 had extended the tenure of the HLEC till January 8.