KATHMANDU, April 10: Utter negligence of District Education Offices in the Kathmandu Valley has encouraged private schools to arbitrarily raise their tuition fees, flouting the rules.
The private schools should get their new fee structures approved by two-third majority of guardians and take permission from the Fee Restructuring Committee and the District
Education Office (DEO) for the fee hike at least three months ahead of the beginning of the new academic session.
However, the DEOs are yet to hold meetings to assess and approve the fee hikes even as just four days are remaining for the new academic session to begin.
"This is utter negligence on part of the DEOs," said Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the Guardians' Association Nepal. "As per the rule, these things should have been sorted out three months ago. The government offices have encouraged the private schools to violate the rules."
While the Bhaktapur DEO has not yet held its meeting, Lalitpur met on Monday to discuss the issue.
Dilnath Puri, chief of the Lalitpur DEO, said the fee structure they have determined is largely in line with that of Kathmandu. "It's slightly higher compared to Kathmandu's fee structure as there are some big schools in the district," he said.
Arjun Bahadur Karki, chief of Bhaktapur DEO, said they have called a meeting for Tuesday.
Disregarding recent Supreme Court direction not to hike the fees for three years, the schools have reportedly increased monthly tuition fees by up to 60 percent, besides raising the rate of admission form to Rs 1,000 from Rs 125, and charging up to Rs 60,000 in re-admission fees.
Depending on their categories -- A, B, C and D based on quality, facility and infrastructure -- the schools can charge a monthly fee of Rs 1,838 to Rs 3,675 for secondary level, Rs 1,350 to 2,700 for lower secondary level and Rs 1,181 to 2,363 for primary level, according to the recommendation of the fee determining committee of Kathmandu.
There are more than 5,000 private schools in the country, including over 1,500 in the Kathmandu Valley, according to private school organizations. They have around 1.5 million students with them.