A positive start
- Government’s recent decree to private schools comes as a relief to parents
Jun 15, 2015-The Ministry of Education has finally issued a directive to all private schools in the 14 districts worst- affected by the quake to waive half of the total fees for the Nepali month of Baisakh. This directive has come a week after a meeting called by the MoE between the representatives of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation (Pabson) and N-Pabson and student union members ended without any agreement.
This is a positive decision as it will benefit the children studying in private schools in the worst-affected districts. Children are the most vulnerable group in times of crisis and it is in them that the scars of disasters are more conspicuous. But despite knowing this, concerned stakeholders have always displayed a lukewarm attitude towards the future generation.
Kids have displayed immense courage by attending classes just weeks after the disaster. Even when aftershocks are still rocking the country on a daily basis, it is not hard to see young children trundle to their schools every morning. But the fact that this decree was reached after much consternation and tussle between the two parties should make us question if we are doing enough for them.
The unions’ demand of waiving a month’s fees was impractical and unjustified. It would be wrong to assume that all private schools have enough resources to tide over the disaster. And individuals running private schools in the quake-affected areas are as much the victims of the calamity as those around them. Further, although teaching and learning activities might not have taken place for over a month, these schools had to pay their teachers and staff salaries for that month.
Similarly, it would not have been suitable for the two private schools organisations to stick to their argument that they could only waive hostel and transport fees in the present situation when thousands of parents of school-going children are bearing heavy financial losses due to the disaster and countless kids are facing mental trauma.
The agreement takes into consideration the grievances of the parents as well as that of school operators. But now we need to ensure that all parties stick to the decree. Given that these two organisations have around 90 percent of private schools under their umbrella, almost all the private school operators in the affected areas will be bound to follow the directive. Further, the two organisations have said that they would readjust this year’s academic calendar by reducing summer and winter vacations and festive holidays to meet the academic schedule without charging additional fees.
Many children are still facing various psychological problems. Thousands have lost their homes and families. Let this be the start and not the end of what we can do for them.
Published: 16-06-2015 08:10