SC order on Fees, Textbooks: DoE to scrap 'defiant' schools' licences

2014-04-05

Ekantipur

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The Department of Education (DoE) on Wednesday announced that it would revoke the licences of schools that defy the Supreme Court (SC) order regarding tuition fees and the sale of textbooks and uniforms on school premises.

The full text of the order issued by the apex court on Sunday directed the prime minister and the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education, the Curriculum Development Board, PABSON and NPABSON to strictly monitor schools to ensure the people’s right to education.

In their verdict, a division bench of justices Tahir Ali Ansari and Baidhyanath Upadhyay directed schools not to hike their fees for three years. The verdict also said that the schools could not charge fees without approval from the concerned government agencies. Lack of government control in the education sector has raised serious questions over the public’s right to education, employment, social security and their right against exploitation, reads the court decision.

“The apex court verdict is very relevant and all schools should abide by it,” said DoE Director Tek Narayan Pandey, during an interaction organised by the Education Journalists Network, Nepal in the Capital on Wednesday. “The DoE can scrap licences of schools defying DoE directives.”

Responding to a writ petition filed by a group of advocates--Shree Krishna Subedi, Kapil Pokharel and Rabin Subedi—the SC ruled that schools should use only government-approved textbooks and refrain from selling uniforms and books from their premises. The government should determine a ceiling for school fees by classifying schools into five categories (A to E) as per the Education Act, the verdict stated.

The court also ruled that schools could not charge more than Rs 25 for admission forms and not more than Rs 100 as an entrance fee. However, private school operators have said that they cannot follow the court’s verdict.

“The court verdict is not mandatory. Schools will not be in a position to increase the salary of teachers and staff if they follow the SC verdict,” said Baburam Pokhrel, PABSON Chairman.  “The SC verdict contradicts Education Regulation Act 2001which allows schools to increase their fees with consent from District Education Office.” Pokhrel claimed that the SC verdict to charge Rs 25 for admission forms and Rs 100 as admission fees was not practical.
Responding to Pokhrel’s remarks, Pandey suggested that school operators choose another business if they cannot comply with the court’s verdict.

(Source: Binod Ghimire)