Private Schools vs Public Schools

Private Schools vs Public Schools

The quality of education in government schools is extremely disappointing. There has been a gradual downfall in the performance of public schools in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams.

The pass percentage of the students taking SLC exams from public schools is less than 20 percent. The pitiable performance in the SLC exam is the testimony to the fact that the present school education system has become a fiasco. Therefore, to continue with the present school education system is like flogging a dead horse. Unless the economic condition of rural people is improved, efforts of the government to educate more children of rural Nepal will not bear fruit. Therefore, in order to improve the education standard of the country, our government must work on two fronts: Poverty alleviation and implementation of new education system.
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Education system in public schools is in dire straits. As a result, much has to be done in order to improve its crumbling structure, which has become largely outdated. The whole education system right from Grade-1 to Grade X must be replaced with a new education system that ought to meet the requirements and challenges of new time. In fact, over the years, some experiments have been carried out to develop the existing education system, but such efforts could not make much impact. Now, it has become imperative to give a complete facelift to the existing education pattern for creating a better atmosphere of teaching and learning.

The new system of education must be based on broader level of opportunities available to all students who can be assured of a better future in the days to come. In this regard, the Ministry of Education and Sports must reform and restructure the present education sector; so that people from every stratum of the society could gain access to education. The government should be motivated with the spirit of education for all and a sizeable amount of national budget must be earmarked to meet the challenges that lay ahead.
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The government must prioritize the national education structure. Not all previous efforts of the government to uplift the sagging standard of school education have been much successful; the overall performance is extremely dismal and disgusting. Over the past several years, the government has used a lot of state machinery including a huge amount of internal aid to revamp the entire structure of the school education, but its achievements are far from satisfactory.

Due to lack of a pragmatic vision, misuse of budget, rampant corruption and political instability, there has been much damage to Nepali education system.

As a result, Nepali education is currently at the receiving end. There are more than 40 percent people in the country unable to read or write. And, a large number of children especially in the rural sectors do not go to school. This number is increasing every year instead of decreasing.

A large number of children in the villages do not even complete primary level education. Poverty-stricken families can’t afford sending off their kids to schools if no helping hands are available in the family. Seeing many educated people roam around with no job, many parents in the villages do not see a better prospectus for the kids even after acquiring school education. The plight of educated, unemployed youths has created a dint of feeling among them that education can’t guarantee a job. They would prefer to work in the field and grow seasonal crops and vegetables, that will at least keep them secure from the fear of being unemployed. So, many villagers do think that time and money spent on education will only go in waste.
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Our government must work seriously in order to create more employment opportunity in the country. This could be the only way to encourage poor parents to send off their wards to schools. As per a report, the dropout rates until Grade-III is 25 percent. In addition, the quality of education in government schools is extremely disappointing. There has been a gradual downfall in the performance of public schools in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams.

The pass percentage of the students taking SLC exams from public schools is less than 20 percent. The pitiable performance in the SLC exam is the testimony to the fact that the present school education system has become a fiasco. Therefore, to continue with the present school education system is like flogging a dead horse.

There is no reason why our government should stick to the present, faulty system of education in schools. Our politicians and high-ranking pedagogues at the helm of responsible posts must accept a flaw in our education system. In order to revamp the present school education system, it must be replaced by another system that must enhance the standard of education.
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It is strongly believed that as long as the ghost of poverty and unemployment exists, government efforts to enroll more and more number of children in schools will bear no success. Since poverty is widespread in rural Nepal, poor parents can’t afford sending off the children to schools.

Unless the economic condition of rural people is improved, efforts of the government to educate more children of rural Nepal will not bear fruit. Therefore, in order to improve the education standard of the country, our government must work on two fronts: Poverty alleviation and implementation of new education system.

Now more people in the country feel the heat of high tuition fee that grows every year. With the beginning of new academic session, parents must have to manage their budget for new dress, books, stationery, admission fee, library, games, music, building construction, maintenance, water, electricity, welfare and so on and so forth. The parents should not surprise if they are asked to pay more money under some new heads. In many schools, game fee is charged but the schools have no play ground, library fee is charged for no library, computer fee is charged where a few computers, mostly very old, available for four or five students in a group.

Transportation fee is charged even during holidays. When the students are supposed to pay so much fees round the year, many schools do not pay the winter vacation salaries and festival bonus to their teachers. Look at the bill of almost every privately running boarding school; you can notice one or two alien heads always crept in the bills. Many parents though upset, but can’t dare to question the school administration. But some parents do it. Whenever they make frequent complaints and ask for the clarification of those stupid heads, the school administrations conspire to expel the student instead.

According to the law of the country (Education Regulation 1992), managing committees of private schools ascertain tuition fees and are approved by the District Education Office. But it seems that this particular law is limited to the book of law only. Most surprisingly, Ministry of Education and DEOs have never taken any legal action against those private schools, which have increased tuition fees without receiving official approval.

The School Managing Committees must be bestowed with more legal authority to contain school owners’ monopoly. Since the school committee is comprised of parents in majority, they will never let school owners to charge unreasonable tuition fees. Until now, the school managing committees are only for namesake. Once the committee is formed, they are hardly called for any meeting, except to attend parents’ day. They do not have any legal authority to interfere schools’ internal affairs.

Private schools charge exorbitant fee in the name of quality education. Now question arises who checks the quality of education? The DAO does not give the certification of quality education, nor does the Ministry of Education. Then at what basis private schools rate Quality Education. Most private schools have set their own standard for quality education. And they declare that their schools are the best in the town.

For all the mishmash and irregularities seen in private schools, the government is largely responsible for its inability to execute necessary task. The pathetic condition of the government schools has become the subject of every body’s talk. Poor quality education, irregular classes, unqualified teachers, nepotism, politicization, and poor infrastructure have widened the gap between the public schools and private schools.

Most of the appointments in public schools are made through political influences; these teachers do more politics in schools than teaching. A principal has no right to command his teachers, because every teacher has a specific political connection. Due to massive irregularities in public schools, the education standard has been fast deteriorating. The private schools have grabbled this opportunity by both of hands. This fact is evident by the number of public schools closing rapidly due to lack of students, whereas more private schools have been opened across the country.

What an irony! The government vociferously boasts of free education, but at the same time, it has reduced the subsidy to public schools. This has put public schools in a difficult situation. Like private schools, public schools are not allowed to charge tuition fees. But in order to run schools smoothly, many public schools have started collecting some money from the students. This has compelled many poor parents to withdraw their children from the public schools. The slogan of education for everyone sounds mockery on the government’s education policy itself. Since the government has virtually failed to manage public schools, it has shut its eyes from the irregularity of the private schools.

The private school operators are taking the benefit of parents’ predicaments. Many parents living in urban area have no other choice than sending their wards to private schools. This is so due to poor quality education in government run schools. Had government run schools provide quality education, no parents would have sent their kids to private schools. Most surprisingly even after pouring in so much money in the education sector, the standard of education of government schools has made no significant progress…the money has gone down the drain.

Most interestingly there are so many schools across the country, but the fees schools charge is not completive…it is all time high. Normally when the number of business organizations increase, the prices should come down. But it seems that the law of demand and supply does not apply to private schools. No matter how many schools have been opened, but the overall expenditure on students is subject to be risen. Ultimately, poor parents have to withstand the worst of fee hike.

By LB Thapa, Pokhara
Frontline Magazine


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