Kathmandu, February 15
Nearly 200 parents of students from Grades 1 to 3 of Shuvatara School are worried about the future of their children, as the school management has decided to shut down its primary wing from the next academic session.
The school management cited lack of parking space and neighbours’ complaints against noise for deciding to shut the primary wing three weeks ago.
The decision means that students currently in Grades 1 and 2 will have to find new schools in the next academic session, while Grade 3 students will have to go to the Lamatar branch of the school for Grade 4. Management plans to run Grades 4 to 10 and all its academic activities from the school’s branch in Lamatar, nearly 10 km from Sanepa where the primary wing is located.
On January 27, the school had issued notice to the parents to seek alternative schools for their children.
“The school took unilateral action without prudently thinking about the future of our kids,” Suman Malla, a parent, told THT over phone.
He said reasons offered by the school management for shutting down Grades 1 to 3 were illogical since residents of the surrounding area had been cooperating with the school for the last 28 years. Malla said parents of affected kids wanted to collectively meet the school management but it had refused to meet the parents.
Affected parents jointly submitted a memorandum to District Education Officer of Lalitpur on Monday, requesting him to ensure children’s fundamental right to education. In the memorandum, the parents also mentioned that the school had decided to shut the primary wing without consulting them and it was now ignoring repeated requests made by parents to discuss the issue.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal said the school violated education laws by suddenly closing down the primary wing for which it had taken permission from the government.
He said the government authorities had the power to take action against the school for violating education laws and such action included revocation of permission for running the school. The school management is showing apathy towards children, he said. He added that the school had hiked fees by 25 per cent citing the need to repairing the primary wing buildings, partially damaged by the 2015 earthquakes.
“After collecting the money the school is telling parents to take out their children and send them to other schools. This is not fair,” he said.
School Chairman Shyam Lal Kakshapati told THT that the school had no option but to shut the primary wing due to lack of parking space and neighbours’ repeated complaints against noise.
Kakshapati said the decision to shut the wing was taken in the school board meeting that was attended by a representative from District Education Office.
Joint Secretary of Ministry of Education Hari Lamsal said the government had no clear policy on the matter but the school should have taken prior permission from
the government before deciding to shut its primary wing. “We’ll closely evaluate documents to ascertain whether or not the school management took a lawful decision,” Lamsal added.
A version of this article appears in print on February 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.