KATHMANDU, May 7: After persistent pressure from student unions, the private schools have finally agreed to refund the hiked fees to the guardians. The unions and stakeholders including the representatives of private school organizations signed a five-point agreement to this effect on Saturday.
The agreement promises to return increased fees; bar schools from selling stationery and uniform to students; implement the Fee Structure of Private Schools Directives, 2072; and make the process of awarding scholarships to students from low-income families more transparent.
According to the agreement, the Ministry of Education will coordinate with the local bodies to return the hiked fees to the guardians. Following the agreement, student unions have called off their protests. Representatives of Private and Boarding Schools Organization, Nepal (PABSON) and National Private and Boarding Schools Association-Nepal (N-PABSAN), student unions and guardians' organizations signed the agreement in the presence of Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Secretary at the Ministry of Education Khagraj Baral, Baburam Paudel, director general of the Department of Education and Kathmandu Metropolis mayor and mayors of municipalities in the Kathmandu Valley.
If the agreement is not implemented in a month, we will launch new protests. --- Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of the Nepal Students' Union
However, the agreement does not state when will the fees be paid back to the parents. "The agreement states that the fees will be refunded immediately. We hope they will respect the agreement this time," said Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of the Nepal Students' Union. "If the agreement is not implemented in a month, we will launch new protests," he warned.
The private schools increased the tuition fees by up to 30 percent and charged up to Rs 200,000 as admission fees from the current academic session that began on April 14. Additionally, the private schools have also charged the readmission fees in the name of annual fees from students against the Fee Restructuring Directive 2072BS. There are about 6,000 private (institutional) schools across the country.
The student unions of all major parties had launched a series of protests since the past few weeks demanding, among other things, revocation of the hiked fees.