Discussion starts on bill to amend Education Act

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 2, 2016-

Private educators have asked the Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children and Social Welfare to incorporate their concerns in the Eighth Amendment Bill on Education Act-1972 before tabling it in the Legislature-Parliament.

The leaders of various organisations of private academic institutions, along with cross-party lawmakers who have investments in private schools and colleges, have been pressing for changes in their favour.

Registering their views in a discussion over the draft bill in the parliamentary committee on Monday, they asked lawmakers to listen to the private sector, which has around 30 percent stake in the education industry.

The bill is currently in the committee for finalisation after preliminary discussion in the full House. Thirty-nine lawmakers have registered amendments to 182 provisions of the bill. The bill will be tabled in Parliament for endorsement after the committee revises it on the basis of discussion with the stakeholders.

The most contentious clauses are free basic education (grades 1-8), mandatory registration of new private schools as cooperatives and formation of the National Examination Board. Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal Chairman Lachhe Bahadur KC claimed that nothing comes free; the only question is who pays the bill.

“Presently, parents are paying for the expenses of their children at private schools. There must be clarity on how private schools will function after the Act is endorsed,” he said. Nepali Congress Lawmaker and Chairman of Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal Umesh Shrestha said the provision of new school registration as cooperatives only was impractical and the private sector was against it.

If endorsed, the bill will outlaw the current practice of operating schools under private ownership with registration at the Company Registrar’s Office. This, however, does not apply to schools that are operational before the law comes into effect.

The government two months ago forwarded the bill which envisions restructuring the school education and phasing out the School Leaving Certificate examination.

“The amendment will end multiple problems in school education. However, we have a tough task ahead,” said CPN-UML lawmaker Ganesh Man Gurung, who chairs the Education Subcommittee of Parliament.

Published: 02-02-2016 08:28

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