As KMC jumps into action, schools rush to provide scholarship detailsThe provision, if implemented strictly, would benefit nearly 15,000 students from 515 schools.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City on Tuesday morning published the names of 342 private schools within the metropolis that failed to provide details of the scholarships they have given to students up to grade 10.
This is the second time the City published a notice regarding the scholarships. Earlier, on May 24, it had published a notice seeking details.
However, out of 515 schools within the metropolis, 342 had not submitted the name list as of Tuesday morning.
According to Moti Khanal of the education department of the KMC, around 149,000 children are currently studying in private schools within the city. Nearly 15,000 students can benefit from the scholarship scheme.
As the schools didn’t abide by its directive, the City office published the notice naming them. Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah subsequently posted the long list of schools on his social media platforms. Afterwards, the defaulting schools started to respond because the City had warned of scrapping the permits granted to the schools based on the Education Management Regulation-2018. As a result, as many as 208 schools submitted their scholarship details through email by Tuesday afternoon. They informed the KMC that they have been providing scholarships for poor and needy students.
Educationists, guardians’ associations and other stakeholders have welcomed Mayor Shah’s action but are doubtful of school administrators providing scholarships to genuinely needy students.
“This is a good initiative from the KMC. All the 753 local units should seek the information and monitor it strictly,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, chair of the Nepal Guardian Federation.
“But we have found that the school administrations provide scholarships to those who have a political link. The KMC should strictly monitor those malpractices as well.”
It’s not only KMC’s Education Management Regulation but Rule 151 of Education Rules 2002 also requires schools to provide scholarships to at least five percent of the total students including girls, children from poor backgrounds, those living with disability and members of oppressed groups.
“In more than two decades, even these rules have not been implemented,” Bhandari said. “We can’t be assured of the KMC decision’s implementation without strict monitoring.”
Rule 58 of Chapter 10 of the KMC’s Education Management Regulation 2074 (2018) published in the local gazette states that schools should provide scholarships to 10 percent of the students, mainly to those who are from poor economic backgrounds, disabled, from a marginalised community, insurgency victims, and children of martyrs. Fifty percent of the scholarships should go to women.
Also, Rule 59 of the regulation states that all schools should make public the age, names, and parents’ names of the students who are given scholarships on their website and the list should also be sent to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
“If you look closely, none of the poor or marginalised students has got the scholarships as mentioned in the law,” said educationist Binay Kumar Kushiyait. “The KMC should make its monitoring mechanism strong.”
He expressed concern over the possibility of private school organisations pressuring the KMC against implementing the decisions.
“It’s yet to be seen if the City can break the monopoly of organisations under which the schools are grouped, or the City may even get threats from them,” said Kushiyait.
DK Dhungana, chair of the Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (PABSON), however, ruled out the possibility of his organisation pressuring the KMC. “We will help the KMC in its initiative,” Dhungana told the Post. As many as 180 schools within the City are associated with PABSON.
“We didn’t know about the KMC’s notice earlier,” Dhungana said. “But I have instructed all the schools under PABSON to provide the details of scholarships to the City office.”
As there are questions and doubts over how the KMC would check the lists provided by the schools, Sita Ram Koirala, chief of the Education Department of the metropolis, said his office has already formed a team to examine the scholarships to see if they meet the criteria.
Koirala said the city has made a five-member taskforce that comprises the chair of the ward where the school is located, principal of the school, representative of the guardians’ association, municipal official and a representative of school management committee.
However, the City still appears unclear about the procedure for choosing the recipients of scholarships.