KATHMANDU, April 29: Five student unions affiliated to different political parties submitted a two-point memorandum on Sunday to Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, demanding allocation of at least 20 percent budget to the education sector for the upcoming fiscal year.
Representatives of All Nepal National Free Student Union (ANNFSU) affiliated to CPN-UML, Nepal Student Union (NSU) affiliated to Nepali Congress, All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) of CPN-Maoist Center, All Nepal National Free Student Union- sixth (ANNFSU) and Nepal Democratic Student Union affiliated to Nepal Workers and Peasant Party, submitted the memorandum to the finance minister on Sunday.
"We demanded Finance Minister Khatiwada to allocate at least 20 percent of the total budget to the education sector in order to improve the quality of public schools and guarantee access of free education up to secondary level as enshrined in the Constitution of Nepal 2015," said Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of NSU.
"The budget allocated for the education sector shrank to 10 percent in the current fiscal year from 17 percent of the total budget," he added.
The memorandum submitted to Minister Khatiwada also urged the government to manage loan for educated people by keeping academic certificates as collateral from the coming fiscal year.
"More than 1,000 youths go abroad everyday to work due to absence of employment opportunities in the country," said Shahi. "If they are provided loan easily, they will be able to begin their own work in the country," he added. The student unions have also planned to call on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli regarding these issues and control the fee hikes in private schools. "However, PM Oli has not provided us time to meet him since the last two weeks," said Shahi. "If he does not listen to us, we will organize a press meet in front of the PM's residence in Baluwatar on Wednesday," he added. "We will also organize protest rallies in restricted areas recently declared by the government.”
The private schools have increased the tuition fees by up to 30 percent and charged up to Rs 200,000 as admission fees for the new academic session that began from April 14. Additionally, the private schools have been charging re-admission fees from the students against the rules. There are about 6,000 private schools across the country.