Monday, February 7, 2011

    Students must pay extra rupee

    KATHMANDU: Around 2.5 million students in 9,000 private schools across the country have to pay the government one rupee every month to collect funds for the Rural Education Development Fund (REDF).
    This has added to the burden on parents, who not only have to pay tuition fee but also the one per cent Education Service Tax (EST).

    One rupee per student per month is a new provision in the recently passed Education Regulation-2010 (Sixth Amendment).

    As per the amended regulation, every institutional school will have to collect a rupee from each student every month and submit the total amount of one year to the government within the first month of the new fiscal year.
    The concerned sectors have come down heavily on the decision calling it neither a wise move nor something implementable. They allege that the government was adding on the financial burden on students and their guardians under various titles.
    The government is already taking one per cent EST to spend on education in rural areas. This decision itself had kicked up controversy with around 50 per cent private schools not complying.

    Suprabhat Bhandari, president of Guardians Association of Nepal expressed anguish against the government for publishing such a provision in Nepal Gazette without discussing the matter with the concerned. Bhandari has refused to pay one rupee each month.

    He said, “We are paying tuition fees along with other fees and some guardians are also paying the one per cent tax. In such a situation, another one rupee per child is completely unethical .”

    He stated that on the one hand, the government advocates democratic norms and values in the country as mandated by Janaandolan-II, while on the other, the same government resorts to undemocratic practice by imposing such decisions.

    Rajesh Khadka, President of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal said, ”If the government imposes one per cent EST and this new provision simultaneously, we won’t accept it.”

    He also stated that they would have contributed willingly to the REDF if the government had urged them.
    Ritu Raj Sapkota, general secretary, National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association of Nepal said such decisions would turn the academic sector into nothing but money collecting institutions and they would divert from the purpose of academic institutions.

    He said, “This provision is likely to bring confrontation with the guardians.”
    Private schools are already paying 25 per cent from their profit to the government. Some schools are also paying one per cent EST. Another rupee from each student is unrealistic and unreasonable, he noted.
    “New provisions that are being introduced have become a headache for school owners, guardians and students,” he said.

    Janardan Nepal, spokesperson, Ministry of Education said the provision was brought to collect funds to support students in rural areas as part of the social responsibility of private schools. Nepal said, ”We had established REDF a few years back, urging private schools to provide 1.5 per cent of their total transaction, but they failed to comply,” adding, ”Therefore we had to bring the provision this time to make it mandatory.”
    This provision will be implemented from the next academic session.

    source:The Himalayan Times