The objective of this law is to make schools service oriented
— Ministry of Education Spokesperson Hari Lamsal
Kathmandu, June 8
Newly passed Education Act (Amendment) Bill bars people from opening new schools as a company.
The bill states that people wishing to open new schools should state clearly that they want to open school as education guthi (trust). There will be two kinds of trusts – private and public trusts.
In the case of existing private schools established as companies, they can change their status as private or public trust if they so desire.
Nepali Congress lawmaker Radheshyam Adhikari said this was a worrying provision, as people would not be able to open new private schools. “This is in violation of the constitution’s provisions that guarantee citizens’ right to choose a profession and open business,” he said.
Adhikari said bar on opening private schools was also against the principles of pluralism. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Hari Lamsal said it would be wrong to interpret that the newly passed bill prohibited people from opening new private schools.
From now on, he added, people wishing to open new private schools should register their schools as private trust.
“The objective of this law is to make schools service oriented. As far as the existing private schools are concerned, the new criteria fixed for fees would help the government regulate these schools. In a few years, the existing schools would also be functioning much on the lines of private guthi schools,” he added.
Educationist Bidhyanath Koirala, however, said the newly passed bill was good, as it was aimed at making the private schools’ service oriented but it would have been better if a provision were incorporated to allow people to open higher education centres and training centres under company law.
“Education is not a business. It is a service. Government entities, however, cannot run training centres effectively,” he added.
NC lawmaker Adhikari said the transfer provisions of the newly passed bill could lead to politicisation of the education sector, as it gave authority to the government to transfer teachers every five years. He said the government could monopolise transfers of the teachers.
Adhikari said the bill’s provision about forming National Examination Centre was very centralised and hence it would be like a division of the ministry. “Seventy per cent of the office bearers of this centre will be from the Ministry of Education.
This is against the principle of federalism,” he added. Adhikari said if a teacher wanted to devote his life to his school, he should be allowed to serve that school as long as he wanted.
The bill shall come into force once the President certifies it.
A version of this article appears in print on June 09, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.