HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Private school operators and guardians have protested the government decision to impose one per cent tax on fees as Education Service Tax.
A meeting of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (PABSON) and Guardians Association of Nepal (GAN) yesterday decided to call on the government to scrap the ‘unconstitutional’ tax. Their demand comes as the government is preparing its budget for the next fiscal and deciding on tax rates.
Suprabhat Bhandari, president of GAN, said as education is a fundamental right in the Interim Constitution, the government should not impose such taxes on students.
“The government should not impose taxes in the education sector as education is a fundamental right as per the constitution,” said Bhandari. The tax should be scrapped at the earliest.
In 2008, then Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai had made it mandatory for private schools to pay five per cent of fees collected from students as Education Service Tax. The government had said the money collected would be invested in improving education standard in remote parts of the country. In 2009, after the schools protested the tax, the government had revised the rate to one per cent.
The meeting also called on the government to scrap its decision to deny scholarships to deserving students just because they attended private schools.
Bhandari said the meeting decided to push for formation of a separate mechanism to sort out problems in the education sector, take steps to boost coordination with teachers’ unions and improve education quality.
He said the guardians raised the issue of school fees and pay for teachers and employees.