Private sector leads school educationWhile 90 percent of students from private schools passed the School Leaving Certificate examination last year, two-thirds of those who took the board exam from public schools could not get through it.
While 90 percent of students from private schools passed the School Leaving Certificate examination last year, two-thirds of those who took the board exam from public schools could not get through it. The success rate of private schools has never come down the 90 percent, but public schools have never been able to cross the 40 percent mark. In lack of proper evaluation method, SLC results are taken as the only indicator to analyse the quality of education. This has remained to be the pull factor for both parents and students to join private schools.
This has resulted in a significant rise in the numbers of private schools but the numbers of public schools have started decreasing they are either merged or being shut without enough number of students. Though there is no adequate research in place, the umbrella bodies of private schools claim that the private sector has made an investment of more than Rs120 billion in school-level education and it is increasing by 10 percent every year.
The boom in the investment of the private sector has two aspects; first, it reflects the government’s failure to make government and community-based educational institutions competent and, second, the lucrative economic dynamics associated with it. The private sector has tapped into the field of education, where the government has failed to score.
Private education institutions in the past have not just focused on teaching and learning but also in infrastructure development. From a startling ambience to playgrounds, library and laboratories, experts say these schools offer services that are at par with western standards. This trend is slowly shifting to other regions of the country, apart from Kathmandu Valley. Millions of rupees have been injected to do so and the trend is likely to continue in the near future.
Former Chairperson of Private and Boarding Schools Association and lawmaker Babu Ram Pokharel says that the investment in private school will likely increase as there is a need of converging the way of teaching and learning methodology so as to match with the global education trend in the 21st century.
Even though the role of private schools has remained instrumental in the development of the country’s education sector, these institutions are not free from several charges. The past decade has witnessed significant increment in costs of attending schools. Education, one of the most basic and essential necessities, has become very expensive. This has compelled those having financial constraints to compromise heavily. Once considered as a service sector, private schools now seem to be more profit oriented now. Chairman of Pabson Lachhe Bahadur KC, however, says all private schools should not be blamed. He claimed that some of the schools put the future of their students before profits. He says that apart from two dozens of schools from the Capital a majority of the private schools are affordable to a majority of the people.
According to Pabson, there are private education institutions teaching students at as low as Rs 150 per month, while some charge around Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. Some of the schools having foreign associates have been charging even up to Rs 60,000 a month for school level education. KC claimed that the expensive schools are tapping those who otherwise used to study in India. “Private schools have saved millions of rupees from being spent abroad,” he said.
Private sector promoters are of the view that the government should come up with a long term action plan for flourishing the school level education. According to them, Nepal has the potential to attract foreign students if the quality improves. “We should not just limit within theoretical approaches. We need to adopt dual education model where students are offered with vocational education as well,” KC said.