House committee set to discuss billAs Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children and Social Welfare prepares for discussion to finalise amendment in Education Act-1972, the private schools operators have raised strong reservations over provisions of the bill.
As Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children and Social Welfare prepares for discussion to finalise amendment in Education Act-1972, the private schools operators have raised strong reservations over provisions of the bill.
The committee has called a meeting on Thursday for discussion on the bill. The Legislature-Parliament had forwarded the bill to the committee two months ago, but the committee has discussed on the bill only once due to a strong lobbying by the private sector against it.
The Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (Pabson) and the Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal (Hissan) are mounting pressure to change the provisions of registering schools as cooperative and providing free basic education.
With 87 amendments being registered on the bill, the endorsement process is set to be a complicated affair as the committee has to discuss every of them. A similar amendment bill had been registered to Parliament twice since 2009, but none of them could be endorsed due to pressure from the private sector. The School Sector Reform Programme, which was introduced in 2009, is on the verge of conclusion without implementing provisions that envisions restructuring the school education in the lack of legal provision.
Two weeks ago, the government had tabled a bill on the eighth amendment to the Education Act-1972, which envisions restructuring the school education, phasing out the School Leaving Certificate examination and cooperative schools. If enacted into law, the current practice of operating schools under private ownership with registration at the Company Registrar’s Office will be obsolete. Such schools will have to be mandatorily registered as cooperatives. However, it is only applicable to the new schools.
“The bill has failed to recognise the presence of the private sector,” said Pabson Chair Lachhe Bahadur KC. “We are against the provision of cooperative schools and free basic education.” Claiming that they have more than 20 percent stake in the school level education, the private school operators said the government could not implement any legal provisions without taking them into confidence.
As the Ministry of Education is preparing to adopt the provision of free and compulsory basic education, phase out SLC and convert Higher Secondary Education Board into National Examination Board by the next fiscal year, the amendment has to be endorsed through Parliament in a 15-day session scheduled to begin in the last week of March. More than 50 cross-party lawmakers have direct investment in various schools and colleges across the country.