KATHMANDU, Sept 13: The government has recently introduced amendments to the compulsory registration requirements for private schools under the Educational Trust, pivoting toward a voluntary registration system. Education, Science, and Technology Minister Ashok Kumar Rai formally presented the School Education Bill of 2080 in parliament.
These amendments, according to the ministry, aim to rebuild and consolidate the existing school education laws, specifically by relaxing the obligatory requirement for private schools to seek approval from the Educational Trust for their operations. With the bill now registered in parliament, private schools have the option to voluntarily choose the Trust for registration, as opposed to their current registration under the Companies Act.
Following the bill's registration in parliament on August 1 by Minister for Education, Science, and Technology Ashok Kumar Rai, contentious elements within the Act sparked controversy. Subsequently, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal engaged in discussions with dissatisfied parties, temporarily halting the bill's progress to incorporate improvements into the draft. This led to the formation of a problem-solving committee under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka, which engaged in extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including the Prime Minister, Education Minister, Education Secretary, Finance Secretary, Law Secretary, Chief Secretary, and other key figures.
The bill's first paragraph outlines provisions for the establishment and operation of schools, empowering local authorities to base their decisions on the mapping of both public and private schools. In the case of public schools, the law mandates that the local governments provide necessary investments and resources, while private investment schools are not obliged to operate under the educational Trust system.
RB Katuwal, the General Secretary of PABSON, has voiced satisfaction with the Bill, stating that it successfully addresses PABSON's demands. Katuwal noted that the Bill has been thoughtfully revised before being officially registered in parliament. He highlighted the Bill’s introduction of a voluntary framework, making it more appealing for private chartered schools to opt for the Trust system.
Chapter 8 of the Bill introduces stringent regulations governing teacher conduct and departmental proceedings. These regulations explicitly prohibit teachers from joining any political party, engaging in political activities, running for political positions, soliciting votes or donations for any candidate, and accepting donations, gifts, or contributions that could compromise examination integrity. The Bill is designed to safeguard the educational quality of schools and preserve their independence from external influences.
Moreover, the Bill emphasizes that school management committees must operate in accordance with local laws, aiming to ensure the quality of school education. Their responsibilities include conducting school mapping, facilitating student learning achievement assessments, enhancing teacher capabilities, coordinating school education efforts, and maintaining records of public school assets and properties on behalf of the Government of Nepal.
Additionally, the Bill defines the responsibilities for conducting specific examinations. It stipulates that local governments will oversee the class 8 examinations, while schools will manage the class 10 examinations. The class 12 examinations, on the other hand, will be overseen by the National Education Board. This distribution of examination responsibilities aims to streamline the educational assessment process at different levels.
Deepak Sharma, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, highlighted that the School Education Bill has been tailored to align with the federal structure. The Bill’s primary objective is to serve as a critical tool for establishing national standards and norms within the sphere of school education, thereby promoting equality, uniformity, and quality across essential aspects of education.