Pvt schools going above govt ceilingThe top schools in the Kathmandu Valley, including those owned by lawmakers, have been found charging several times higher than the government ceiling in tuition and admission fees.
The top schools in the Kathmandu Valley, including those owned by lawmakers, have been found charging several times higher than the government ceiling in tuition and admission fees.
A report by a joint monitoring team led by officials from the Ministry of Education, which also had representatives from private schools and parents and student associations shows that some of the schools in the Valley are charging as high as Rs 28,000 per month and that the admission and annual fees for grade 1 stand at around Rs 120,000.
According to the report, Bhaktapur-based Rajarshi Gurukul has the highest annual and admission fees at Rs 117,000, while its tuition fee stands at around Rs 17,500 per month. The fee is the students from grade 8. Among other expensive schools are Ullens of Khumaltar, Lalitpur which charges Rs 28,000 as monthly fee but unlike others it does not charge annual and admission fee separately.
However, Principal of Ullens School Medin Lamichhane denies his school is charging exorbitant fees. “We at Ullens determine the school fee following consultations with the parents," Lamichhane said.
“Ours is a not-for-profit organisation and part of the fees goes to fund scholarships that we award to needy students across the country.
“Besides, we have been duly informing the Ministry of Education about our fee structure. But it has not said that it is above the government ceiling,” he claimed.
The report shows Rato Bangala as another school which has been charging more than the government-declared fee ceiling. The Patan Dhoka-based school charges upto Rs 25,000 in monthly tuition fee. “The schools have been found charging fees under several headlines to justify the exorbitant fee,” said Bal Bahadur Karki, under-secretary at the Department of Education (DoE), who was a member of a monitoring team.
None of the 19 most sought-after schools was found abiding by the government ceiling, according to the monitoring team. As per the government ceiling, the private schools can charge Rs2,575 (for primary level), Rs2,631 (lower secondary) and Rs2,981 (secondary) for the ‘C’ grade schools. The ‘A’ grade can increase it by 50 percent while grade ‘B’ schools can charge 25 percent more than the ceiling.
The inspection report shows the schools of lawmakers Umesh Shrestha and Geeta Rana too have flouted the rules. Shrestha’s Little Angles’ School and Galaxy Public School owned by Rana have been charging more than double the government ceiling. “It is the utter failure of government’s regulatory mechanism. Also, the cartel system works quite wellwithin these schools,” said Kedar Bhakta Mathema, an education expert.
“This is completely unacceptable. Parents should also start raising voice against such exorbitant fees.” In the lack of proper mechanism in place, former vice-chancellor of the Tribhuvan University Mathema said, “the private schools have been commercialised so much that average Nepali parents cannot afford a good school for their children.”