Republica National Daily
Aug 9: The agreement signed three months ago between private schools, student unions and guardians in the presence of top government officials to withdraw the illegally-hiked tuition fees at private schools remains unimplemented. The three sides had signed a 5-point agreement on May 5 to refund illegally hiked fees after continuous pressure from joint students unions.
However, nothing has been done to implement the agreement except for forming a monitoring team, said Pushpa Kumar Shahi, vice-president of the Nepal Students Union (NSU).
"The sub-committee comprising representatives of guardians, student unions and government official monitored the situation and found that schools have neither slashed the fees nor have they refunded the already collected fees to the guardians. We submitted a report to the Department of Education about a month ago," he elaborated.It was an agreement on paper only and remains confined to paper, said Suprabhat Bhandari, former president of the Guardians Association Nepal.
"Signing agreements and not implementing them is a norm here," he added.The agreement promised to return increased fees; ban selling of stationery materials and uniform from schools; implement the fee structure in line with the Private Schools Directives, 2072; and increase transparency in scholarships set aside for those who cannot afford among other things.According to the agreement, the Ministry of Education would initiate return of the increased fees in coordination with the local units.
The agreement was signed between PABSON and N-PABSAN representatives and student and guardians organizations in the presence of Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Khagraj Baral, secretary at the ministry, Baburam Paudel, director general of the Department of Education and chiefs of local bodies in the Kathmandu valley.The private schools increased the tuition fees by up to 30 percent and charged up to Rs 200,000 as admission fees for the current academic session that began from April 14 against the existing rules.
In addition, the private schools have also charged the readmission fees in the name of annual fees from the students in breach of the Fee Restructuring Directive 2072 BS. There are about 1.5 million students in around 6,000 private (institutional) schools across the country.Representatives of the ANNFSU, affiliated to the then CPN-UML; NSU, affiliated to the Nepali Congress; ANNISU-R, affiliated to the then CPN (Maoist Center); ANNFSU-Sixth; and Nepal Democratic Students Union affiliated to Nepal Majdur Kisan Party had staged a series of protests against fee hikes at private schools since the beginning of the current academic session.
Baikuntha Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said that he was unaware about non-implementation of the agreement. "It is the responsibility of the Department of Education to monitor the situation and implement the agreements," he claimed.