Private schools told to roll back fee hike

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Apr 20, 2015-The government, under pressure from student unions, has asked private schools to roll back the fee hike decision and set a scientific method for future increments.

A meeting between Education Ministry officials, representatives of 13 student unions, private schools and guardian associations on Sunday night sealed a 10-point deal which includes rolling back the increased fee and refunding the surplus amount. However, the Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (Pabson) and NPabson have not endorsed the agreement.

According to the agreement, all the schools will have to admit the students based on the fee structure endorsed in 2012 as there has not been a formal increment since the Supreme Court ruling that year, allowing school fee hike once in three years.

As agreed in the meeting, a technical committee led by Director General at Department of Education will be formed under the Central Fee Fixation and Monitoring Committee comprising representatives from the student unions, guardian associations and umbrella bodies of the private schools to determine the criteria for increment. The ministry had taken an initiative after the student unions threatened to stage an indefinite strike in the private schools if the increment was not withdrawn.

According to Education Ministry Spokesperson Hari Lamsal, the ministry has owned up the agreement and directed the department for its implementation.

The ministry has agreed to hold a proper monitoring and take action against any erring schools. As per the deal, all the schools will have to refund the increased amount in 15 days and adjust the tuition fee as recommended by the technical committee. The technical committee will formulate an appropriate modality for the increment within a month.

Under pressure from the umbrella bodies of private schools, the District Fee Determination Committee had raised the fee between 11 and 41 percent in different districts. School fees in the Valley schools had been raised by 22 percent. Subsequently, the student unions launched a series of protests, forcing the

government to call on the schools to withdraw the increased fees.

Claiming the agreement as “bias against them”, the private school owners argued that they could not sustain without a double-digit increment in fees.

“With inflation hitting the roof, how can we sustain without increasing fee?” asked Pabson Chairman Lachhe Bahadur KC, adding that they are not in a position to withdraw the increment.

But the ministry has said the private bodies have no authority to deny the government decision.

“There will be increment based on the new modality if necessary. Therefore, its illogical to deny the agreement,” said Lamsal.

Published: 21-04-2015 09:47

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