Govt has PABSON foaming at mouth


Himalayan News Service

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KATHMANDU, JUL 11 - Handing out a 20-day ultimatum to the government to fulfil its five-point demands, the Private and Boarding Schools' Association of Nepal has demanded that the education service tax be scrapped.

Such a concern comes at a time when the government is busy preparing the upcoming fiscal year's budget. The government had reduced education service tax to one percent in fiscal year 2009/10 from five percent in 2007/08 introduced for the "empowerment of marginalised students".

Organising a press meet in the Capital on Monday, PABSON officials said the one percent education service tax has only added economic burden to the parents' woes and maintained that it was against the government commitment to free education.

"Ever since the tax provision came into implementation we have been demanding that it be annuled. But the government hasn't heeded our requests," said PABSON President Rajesh Khadka. "Our main concern is that the guardians mustn't be victimised in the name of tax."

The PABSON has also demanded its representation in every committee formed by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Department of Education, District Education Offices and other government bodies. Khadka accused the government of sidelining the private sector under which some 9,000 schools are in operation across the country.

He also took the government to task for restricting the students pursuing higher study from private schools from applying for 45 percent reservation scholarship quota. "A large number of students from the marginalised, Dalit and indigenous communities have been reading under 10 percent scholarship quota in the private schools," said Khadka. "The government must allow them to fight for the higher education scholarship in the reservation quota."

The PABSON has warned of protests if the demands were not fulfilled by July-end.

(Source: The Kathmandu Post: Published on July 12)