The Nepali Supreme Court issued a verdict demanding that educational authorities devise reform programs to better regulate the private school sector. The Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Education, Department of Education (DoE), Curriculum Development Board, Private and Boarding School Association of Nepal (PABSON), and N-PABSON must regulate fees, deny the sale of unregistered and over-priced textbooks, and limit the number of private schools gaining accreditation. In addition, the private sector cannot raise fees for three years.
Private schools aren’t approved to charge more than Rs 2,500 in admission fees at secondary schools. And even though the primary tuition should be much less than that, some primary private schools charge up to Rs 20,000. Private college fees range between Rs 100,000 and Rs 180,000. Many Nepali families are unable to afford such expensive rates, which is causing greater social and economic disparity between working and middle classes.
With the staggering difference in quality between the private and public sectors, lower-income groups began actively protesting back in April. Government school students are last to be distributed textbooks – sometimes as late as July. Teacher training is not largely supported, and attendance is not monitored. As a result, many students drop out to work for their families. In the Kathmandu Valley, 24 public schools were forced to closed due to dwindling enrollment rates. 37 more schools may be at risk of closure by the next academic year. Meanwhile, some reports indicate that around 10,000 private schools are currently being run.
“It is a result of government´s inability to act tough against the law breakers in the education sector. The government should have shown enough courage to punish those who have industrialized the education in the name of service,” states educationist Mana Prasad Wagle. “The entire system has been highly commercialized at present.
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