Private schools pushing own interests in education regulations

Published On: November 5, 2016 01:10 AM NPT By: Bishnu Prasad Aryal

KATHMANDU, Nov 5: After they succeeded in incorporating two types of private schools- as companies and  as trusts- under the Education Act, the private schools are now advocating against inclusion of the provision for approval of school fees by a two-thirds majority of the guardians. They are also pressing for waiving the one percent education tax and for the active involvement of the schools in vital committees formed by the government.

As per the existing education regulations, rules and directives, private schools are obliged to determine their school fees through approval by a two-thirds majority of guardians and the district education office. They have to pay one percent education tax to the government as per the company rules.

By virtue of the influence exercised by private schools on the law-making process, the eighth amendment to the Education Act, which came into force a few months ago, has provisioned two kinds of private schools in the country. 

The existing private schools were brought under the company act and new ones are to be registered as trusts. As per the company act, the property of schools are under private ownership while property held under trust  becomes public property.

“After they succeeded in bringing private schools under the company act or turning them into trusts, they are now exerting pressure to not include provisions for approval by a two-third majority of guardians to determine school fees, for waiving the one percent of education tax and for the active involvement of schools in vital committees formed by the government,” said the sources. “The government is currently working to finalize the draft of the Education Regulations.”

Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at the Ministry of Education, said that everyone has the right to express his or her opinion when the regulations are being drafted. “However, we have never before faced such pressure to include their agenda,” he claimed.

DK Dhungana, general secretary of the Private and Boarding Schools Organization, denied the allegations of  pressure being exerted in favor of their agenda. “We have definitely objected to the government directives brought in last March and provisioning for a two-thirds majority of guardians determining the school fees. It is the schools that should be given the authority to determine the fees,” he said. “We certainly  have to think of making the private sector strong and quality-oriented.”

Suprabhat Bhandari, president of the Guardians Association Nepal, said that they would raise their serious concern against what he referred to as such malpractices. “The laws and regulations must be made in the common interest of the public and the stakeholders.

We will object strongly if the government yields to the pressure of private schools while bringing in the regulations,” he added. 

MoE, as part of its action plan,  started working from mid-July on the formulation of the Education Regulations, in a bid to incorporate the changes envisioned by the new Education Act.

The amended act provisions two categories of private schools-new ones under trusts and old ones under the company act, free education upto class 12, conversion of teachers into civil servants, and evaluation and promotion of teachers on the basis of school results, according to MoE. It also scraps the Higher Secondary Education Board, integrates the Plus Two level into School level education and deals with the decades-long problem of temporary teachers. 

The new act has also made provisions for a National Education Council, a National Examination Board (NEB) and an Education Review Office. MoE formed the NEB about three months ago.

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