Soft loan announced for private schools that don’t charge students for a monthSome private schools don’t have savings to meet their expenses even for a month, say representatives.
The government shall provide soft-loans to private schools that don’t charge their students for a month, officials have announced.
The Cabinet decision, made public on Thursday, said the low- interest loan will be available to schools that can’t meet their expenses without charging students.
“Private schools will not charge their students for the month of Chhaitra or Baisakh, except for boarding fees,” said Finance Minister Yubraj Khatiwada, also the government’s spokesperson. “The government will provide a soft loan to a school if it has problems managing its expenditure.”
Although the education ministry last month directed schools to waive a month’s, they have been reluctant to implement the decision saying the measure was announced without consulting them.
The decision to waive school fees was part of the government's relief package to households hit hard by the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Ritu Raj Sapkota, chairperson of National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association Nepal, said the fee schools charge students is the only source of income for them. It is therefore necessary that the government makes such decisions after proper consultations.
“Announcing soft loans alone is not sufficient. There must be clarity on whether schools need collateral for such loans, and the pay-back modality,” he told the Post. He said hundreds of schools don’t have savings to manage expenses even for a month.
Sapkota said the government needs to decide keeping every kind of school in mind.
Around 8,000 private schools are in operation across the country. Education ministry figures show that of the 7 million schoolgoers across the country, 1.4 million attend private schools.