Private schools hike fees unreasonably, local govts act mute spectators

Published On: May 25, 2023 08:00 PM NPT By: Ruby Rauniyar

KATHMANDU, May 25: The private schools in all the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley have increased their fees unreasonably without the approval of the local governments, which have acted as mute spectators. Though the private schools in the valley have hiked their fees significantly without the approval of the local governments (municipalities, sub-metropolis and metropolis) which are supposed to oversee schools within their jurisprudence as per the law, the local governments have remained indifferent.

The parents complain that the local municipalities are silently supporting private schools’ decision to hike the fees without.

Matribhumi School in Madhyapur Thimi of Bhaktapur district increased the fee by 50 percent. The parents filed a complaint against this in the Bhaktapur Guardians’ Association. A team including Bhaktapur Guardians’ Association Chairman Ram Krishna Prajapati filed a complaint against the arbitrarily hiked fee at Madhyapur Thimi Municipality.

After that, the municipality formed a monitoring team with the participation of the guardians and proceeded with the monitoring work and a decision to slap the school with a fine of Rs 25,000 was also made at the meeting of the monitoring team, said Prajapati.

According to Prajapati, there have been complaints that all the schools in this municipality have increased their fees by up to 50% and accordingly they have come under public scrutiny. But he said that since the monitoring report has not come out, he cannot speak about the further developments.

According to the parents, Galaxy School in Gyaneshwar, Kathmandu has also increased its fees by 10% this year. But the founder of the school, Geeta Rana, admitted that she only increased by 5 percent as per the rules.

“A fee proposal has already been submitted to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Education Department. However, the department cannot determine the fees on time,” Rana told Republica, “It would be better if the department could scientifically fix the fees on time. But since they couldn't do it on time, we increased the fees by five percent.”

Rana, the former president of N-PABSON, said that the government has increased the salaries of teaching staff in July and the fees have been increased according to the additional grades.

"Not only Galaxy school but all private schools have increased their fees according to their own rules," added Rana.

Bela Pokharel, the head of Matribhumi's administration, said that the school has increased the fees by a few percent, and she claimed that the school has increased the fees according to the rules. 

Due to the fact that the local municipalities did not pay attention to the fee determination of the private schools in time, the private schools increased their fees unreasonably. Private schools in all the municipalities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts have increased their fees by 20 to 50 percent without the approval of the local governments.

According to Ram Chandra Subedi, general secretary of the Institutional School Parents' Association, according to the Education Act, private schools must submit a fee proposal to the committees of the metropolis two months before the start of the academic session. The education committee should hold a meeting of stakeholders and decide the fees. And the schools should put this fee proposal on their website.

"All the private schools within the Kathmandu Metropolitan City have increased their fees by at least 20 percent and are collecting fees from the parents; we have submitted a petition to the Education Committee based on the complaints received from the parents' association. Due to the fact that the local government is not active and the schools are not responsible, the financial burden of fee increase has been put on the parents’ shoulders,” he added, “Private schools have not been monitored due to a conflict between union and municipal employees. It was seen that the municipalities have silently supported the schools’ decision to hike fees without justification.”

Ram Krishna Prajapati, chairman of Bhaktapur Parents' Association, said that the municipality has become a mute spectator even after the schools within Bhaktapur's Madhyapur Thimi Municipality have increased their fees by as high as 50 percent.

After the schools in this area submitted a written complaint to the municipality about the 50% increase in fees, the municipality decided to form a monitoring committee to monitor and impose a fine of Rs 25,000 each on the schools that had increased fees without approval.

"During the monitoring by the monitoring committee with parents, it was found that the schools in this area have been increasing fees year on year without explaining the fee details," Prajapati told Republica, “The municipality has given silent support to the unreasonable increase in fees.”

Due to the conflict between the association and the local staff, the schools have not been monitored. Taking advantage of the weakness of the municipality, private schools have increased their fees by up to 50 percent.

“Private schools have not increased the salaries of teachers. The services provided to the students have not been increased. No new scholarships have been announced apart from the present 10 percent. However, according to Suprabhat Bhandari, the president of Guardians’ Association Nepal, it is not a valid reason to increase the fees arbitrarily. "According to the complaint submitted to the association, private schools in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts have increased their fees without the permission of the local governments. Distortion has increased,” Bhandari said.

According to Sitaram Koirala, head of the Education Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, the private schools have submitted fee proposals from May 9. He said that everyone has submitted proposals with increased fees.

“There are a total of 504 private schools in KMC. Each of them has submitted a proposal to increase the fee,” Koirala told Republica, “There is no justification for the proposed fee increase. The education department has called the principals of private schools for a discussion with the justification of the increased fees.”

Education Department Head Koirala did not give any answer to the question why the metropolis did not fix the fees on time.


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