‘Majority’ of preschools in Kathmandu not registeredLack of proper regulations that are placed on Montessori schools Has raised questions about the quality of education they provide.
In addition, the fact that only a few Montessori schools are registered at the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) shows many others are operating illegally in the city jeopardising their credibility. KMC records show that the number of Montessori schools registered at Ward Number 4 is just six while the number of such schools registered in Ward Number 3 is just two. KMC officials, however, claim that the number of such schools operating in the area could be much higher. “Every preschool with Montessori system has to follow the existing legal provisions and get registered with us at the Ward level,” said Ramji Shrestha, administrative chief at the KMC Ward Number 3 Office, adding that beside these preschools, many other entities also run their businesses without registration.
Montessori preschools are required to be registered at the concerned Wards instead of the District Education Office as the latter keeps a record of only schools that enroll students from grade one. Montessori schools, which claim to follow the education system that focuses on creating a stimulating environment for children’s development, have grown popular in Kathmandu in the past decade.
Ganga Lama, founding member of the Montessori Association Nepal (MAN), said the government needs to regulate Montessori schools in order to curb the emergence of bogus schools and ensure quality education.
Currently, MAN has been scouting different areas of the Valley, visiting schools, recruiting members, offering suggestions and conducting training programmes for interested teachers on the Montessori values.While unregistered schools have made it difficult to keep track of the growth of Montessori education system in Nepal, Lama said this does not necessarily imply that all the unregistered Montessori schools were bogus. “We urge all the Montessori school owners to register themselves at their respective wards,” she said.
However, it is difficult to estimate the exact number and location of all Montessori schools operating in the Valley. An official at KMC Ward Number 5 Office said seeking anonymity that though they had asked the Montessori schools to be registered at their respective Wards, their suggestion was ignored. “They don’t seem to pay heed to what we say. They don’t think we have the power to take action against them,” he said.
KMC officials claim that the Montessori schools will soon go through their registration procedures and be brought within the tax boundaries. “Like every other entity based in Kathmandu, it is mandatory for these preschools to be officially listed and pay tax” said Mahesh Kafle, chief of the Revenue Department at the KMC. “By September, we will bring all these preschools under our scanner as per the existing laws.”