Kathmandu, April 3:

Even as the government has launched ambitious educational programmes, the state of educational facilities in remote regions of the country remains dismal.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Education Journalists’ Group today, Umesh Shrestha, president of Higher Secondary Schools’ Association of Nepal (HISAN), said it would send a negative message among the public if the private institutions failed to support the government in providing better educational facilities in remote areas.

Shrestha said, “Over 11 per cent children in the rural areas do not have access to schools and there still is a dearth of 62,000 teachers. However, the government has not been able to address the problem due to the lack of sufficient resources.” He further added that the budget allocated for education was not sufficient and it was the responsibility of private schools to chip in on behalf of the government.

Gita Rana, president of National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association of Nepal, however, said, “The government’s practice of taking decisions without adequate research is playing the spoilsport.”

“Besides all kinds of taxes, the government imposed Education Service Tax on schools without consulting with the schools,” she said, adding, “We would have been more willing to pay the tax had the government disclosed that its intention was to support the needy children.”

TR Dhakal, General Secretary of Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal, said they had already set up an Education Development Support Fund to support the education of needy children.

Chitra Devkota, director at Department of Information, urged private schools to financially support the government to improve education in remote areas. He said, “The budget allocated by the government is only sufficient for forty per cent of the government’s education programme.”

However, guardians refused to pay any kind of additional tax to the private schools. Suprabhat Bhandari, president of Guardians Association Nepal, said any kind of extra tax imposed on guardians would be unacceptable.