Government to regulate all religious schools

Bhaktapur, September 28

Nepal government is going to regulate religious schools running across the country.

A few weeks ago, Department of Education (DoE) directed all five Regional Education Directorates and 75 District Education Offices to prepare profiles of religious schools that are in operation in various parts of the country.

Currently, three types of religious schools namely Gurukul/Ashram for Hindu community, Gumba/Bihar for Buddhist community and Madarsa for Muslim community are in operation in various parts of the country.

According to DoE, there are altogether 895 registered religious schools in the country while many more are operating without registration.

Harka Bahadur Adhikari, chief, Alternative Education Section, DoE, today said the main purpose behind profiling is to collect data on religious schools across the country to bring them into the mainstream education system to properly regulate them.

“We aim to assess the current situation such as number of students, physical infrastructure, source of income, opportunities and challenges of religious schools so that we can intervene correctly and support the needy ones,” said Adhikari.

He stated that the government has been providing grants; Rs 168,000 for primary level schools, Rs 189,000 for lower secondary level schools and Rs 245,000 for secondary level schools annually.

“A religious school conducting classes at all levels will get Rs 620,000 grant annually for teachers’ support,” he added.

He further added that the government has been providing free textbooks and scholarships to students of religious schools to encourage them to continue their education.

Rajan Panday, section officer, Alternative Education Section, DoE, said that there were altogether 745 Madarasa (718 primary level, 14 lower secondary level, nine secondary level and four higher secondary level), 78 Gumba/Bihar (71 primary level, six lower secondary level, and one secondary level) and 72 Gurukul/Ashram (56 primary level, nine lower secondary, five secondary school and two higher secondary level) across the country.

“Many religious schools don’t want to register with the authority as they will have to make their source of income and other activities transparent,” he said adding, “Thus we want to collect data of all schools and monitor them closely to institutionalise good ones and discourage the bad ones.” He further stated that the government needed to learn about the quality and number of such schools in order to prepare policies and directives for religious schools.