March 29, 2017 09:46 AM NPT
By: Krishna Oli
Students of Gachhe Pani Lower Secondary School taking their annual examinations in the school ground in this recent photo.
BAJURA, March 29: District Education Office of Bajura has decided to provide Rs 200 to every student during admission or readmission into government run schools. This incentive scheme pitched as ‘motivation allowance’ by the DEO aims to bring hundred percent school aged children to school, the office stated.
“Despite implementing free education policy several years back, all school aged children don’t go to school. Parents lament that though education is free they have to spend for dresses and several other things when admitting or readmitting their wards. We feel the 200 rupees will encourage them. From this year, we are going to hand over Rs 200 to each student who are admitted in government run schools for the first time or readmitted,” said the district’s education officer, Nagendra Prasad Regmi. “Along with that we will ensure that none of the state run schools in the district raise funds from parents under any headings. Free education must be absolutely free,” he stressed.
Generally, state owned schools charge certain amount to students under the head of ‘support’. Lack of sufficient teachers’ quota and other factors, they claim, force them to seek such support. Some schools even charge examinations fees. Regmi stated that henceforth such activities would be strictly checked.
“We understand that some schools have problems. But we will have to find different solutions to resolve their problems. The motivational fund has been managed in coordination with government and non-government organizations that have been working in the education sector and it is important that we keep education absolute free,” he said.
According to a school inspector in the district, Bibiraj Soti, it is not just a matter of cash, but the incentive scheme is expected to be an effective way to bring parents to schools and have positive interaction with teachers on the need to educate their children. “The decision has been done at the district level and we are hopeful it will positively impact the existing school enrollment and drop out rates,” he said.
There are 248 community managed schools in the district out of which 40 schools don’t have government quota for permanent teachers. According to Regmi, those schools have been charging high fees to students as they have been paying teachers from their own resources. “That is why government’s free education policy is failing. In government school, students are forced to pay fees. We need to fix this problem mutually. The restrictions on imposing fees as well as providing Rs 200 to students are first steps towards actually realizing the policy,” he said.
He, however, did not share how his office aimed at resolving the issue of lack of teachers in so many schools. He only stressed that ‘cooperation and coordination’ from all stakeholders would help making education really free for all.
As per the data of DEO, school admission rate in the district is 93.5 percent. It claims that 255 school aged children are out of school. Regmi stated that ‘every effort’ would be made in order to bring all the children to school and ensure that they don’t drop out.