PABSON gets new executive body

KATHMANDU: Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON) today made public its 14-point Rupandehi Declaration, five days after wrapping up its three-day national convention which unanimously elected a 53-member executive committee led by Rajesh Khadka.

Organising a press meet in the Capital, the professional union of institutionalised schools stated that it would make every effort not to pay the one per cent service charge, which the incumbent government revised in its budget for the current fiscal year. The Maoist-led government had announced to levy the same five per cent.

“The impractical and irrelevant charge should be immediately revoked respecting the children’s fundamental rights and international practices,” read a statement issued by Khadka. “The government should put an end to pressures exerted on schools on the pretext of not paying the tax while running higher grades, transferring students and holding examinations.”

PABSON has sought a constitutional guarantee of the right to operate private educational institutions. It has asked the government and political parties to commit to making schools free of bandhs, strikes and politicisation. Scholarships provided by the state and non-state providers have been sought even for students studying in private schools.

The organisation has demanded its representation in all committees and bodies concerned formed by the government. Chairman Khadka asked the government to urgently introduce Institutional School Education Act, reasoning that there was no specific law to govern 8,000 plus private schools operating across the country while there is one to govern each university.

PABSON has also sought training, seminars and foreign visits for private school teachers on the government expenses on par with their public school counterparts. Relief for schools victimised during the decade-long Maoist insurgency and halting permissions to conduct new schools where they are not feasible are other demands. Soft loans as well as support on building educational and physical infrastructure for private schools have been sought as well.

Former chairman Umesh Shrestha said unity will be forged among organisations promoting cause of private educational institutions. He added that the new team will make efforts to purchase land and construct a building for its central office.

“Ninety per cent private schools are facing financial crunch. They have not been able to pay the teachers adequately,” Khadka told The Himalayan Times on Wednesday. “The remaining schools are ready to assist the government by helping public schools in other reasonable ways. We have expertise in managing educational institutions which the government can cash on.”

On the talk of nationalising private educational institutions by some political outfits, he dismissed the idea as unproductive. “The government is unable to manage public schools, the schools show poor performance every year. I don’t think it can take extra burden by acquiring private schools. Even if it were to do so, it will not be productive,” he clarified.