Although the government has guaranteed free education to the disabled children by introducing Disable Protection and Welfare Act 1982, the children with disability are still required to pay fees to the schools and colleges.
The failure of the government to enforce the act effectively had compelled the Supreme Court to issue instructions to the government for the effective implementation of the act in 2000.
Drawing attention of all stakeholders on the ineffective implementation of both the act and decision of the Supreme Court, the people advocating for the rights of disabled people appealed the state to secure free education rights to the disabled children, at all private and public schools.
Shedding light on the problem faced by the disabled children in getting free education, Advocate Sudarshan Subedi said that the disabled children should get free education at all sorts of private or public educational organisations.
Subedi said, "The private schools and colleges must be committed to provide free education to the disabled children and for this the government must grant some sort of assistance for them."
Advocate Subedi said that still in many parts of the country, the disabled children even belonging to the poor family are forced to pay fees at their schools and colleges.
Stating that the private educational organisations are failing to abide by the regulation and are therefore overlooking their social responsibility, Subedi asked the state to play positive role for guaranteeing free education rights.
He said that the state should conceptualize clear provisions of assistances that should be provided as a relief to those private and public educational organisations which provided free education to the disabled students.
Jaya Prasad Lamsal, Under-Secretary of Education Department informed that the government was committed to secure free education rights for all the disabled children.
Lamsal said "The government has also been providing full scholarship with facilities of boarding houses to the disabled students who have had difficulties in moving from one place to another."
These students are provided scholarship under the category A that entitles them to get Rs. 1700 to Rs. 2,000.
Informing that the disabled children were categorised in four grades, he said the students of B grade gets scholarship worth Rs.5, 000 who need the help of others to reach their schools.
Likewise, children of C category who need the help of wheelchairs and crutches get Rs.3000 and those who fall in D grade with simple disability gets Rs. 500 as scholarship.
He further said that a total of 400 schools around the country had been provided with such facility for the disabled children. However, the government had been coordinating with private and public educational organisations for implementing the act.
Ramesh Silwal, Secretary of HISAN, expressed his commitment to provide free education to the disabled children if the government authority made coordination with them through a specific polity.
Bijay Sambahamfe, General Secretary of PABSON, said that due to the lack of a clear policy of the government, the private colleges couldn’t make any standard rules for free education to be provided to the disabled children.
(Source: The Rising Nepal)