‘Govt discouraging private investment in education sector’

Kathmandu: Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal and National Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal  have demanded that the government encourage private investment in the education sector to improve the quality of education in the country.

Speaking at a joint press meet organised by PABSON and N-PABSON today, representatives of the organisations took strong exception to suggestions offered by the High-level Education Committee to the government.  “It looks like the government has made up its mind to completely discourage private investment in education. This undermines our five decades of efforts to improve the quality of education in the country,” said General Secretary of N-PABSON Subash Neupane, adding, “ This is not acceptable to us.”

The Cabinet on September 4 last year had formed an eleven-member committee to prepare a master plan for restructuring the education sector in view of the federal set-up adopted by the country.

The committee on December 21 had submitted its recommendations, which among other things, had said that private schools should not be allowed to keep more than 20 per cent of their total income. It had also recommended transforming private educational institutions into public institutions within 12 years.

PABSON and N-PABSON have accused the government of trying to eliminate their existence by imposing restrictions, which would make it impossible for them to run educational institutions. They have suggested that the mandatory 10 per cent scholarship that private schools are required to provide should be based on the merit of students and not on the basis of their ethnicity. They have also suggested that three per cent of the allocated 10 per cent scholarship seats should be provided to children of teachers teaching in the same school.

PABSON and N-PABSON have also suggested that the government scrap the provision of 45 per cent reservation seats for marginalised and needy. They said private schools should be allowed to enrol students through free competition.

Representatives of PABSON and N-PABSON also said that if the government forced merger of private schools, it should also take the responsibility of teachers and staffers who lose their jobs. They also demanded that schools be given the authority to fix the salary of teachers.

General Secretary of PABSON Rajendra Baniya said, “It’s not that we don’t want to abide the rule of the government. We are not against monitoring of schools by the government, but we cannot accept being controlled.” He also said that the proposed school ranking system would create a huge gap among students of different economic classes.

There are more than 10,000 private schools providing education to more than two million students in the country.