The Nepal Constitution has enshrined public education as a fundamental right. The statutory provision has specified that students from public schools do not need to pay any educational fee. However, this is yet to be transformed into practice in the public schools of dang district.
Students are being charged in different pretexts. Harka Bahadur Budhathoki, principal of Shreegaun Secondary School at Dangisharan rural municipality-6, said the school now is collecting examination fee from students. “We are raising Rs 50 to Rs 120 from each student as examination fee”, he added. Likewise, Khimraj Khanal, principal of Hekuli secondary school at Dangisharan-3, admitted that they have also collected Rs 60 to Rs 100 from each student above sixth grade.
These are the representative cases only. Majority of the public schools in Dang are charging students with certain fee in one or another pretext, which is illegal in itself. The amount collected from student is being spent for copy and paper required in course of examination operations, said Laxman Devkota, principal of Kauwaghari primary school. “We spend the money raised from the students in examinations”, he shared.
“If the spending is fulfilled from any sources, we would not intend to raise the money from students. Though illegal, we are compelled to raise fund from students”, he added. Most of the public schools are also charging students for marks sheet, principals further shared. Some schools are also raising up to Rs 500 as annual fee for teachers of private source.
On the other side, the schools are recruiting teachers on own private resources in the rural municipality and now are failing to remunerate the teachers. Binod Adhikari, chief of education section of Dangisharan rural municipality, stressed the need to merge the public schools being operated in the rural municipality. Statistics show that around 82 percent students are paying fees in public schools of Dang district.
A survey conducted by Nepal Evaluation and Assessment team in Dangisharan and Shantinagar rural municipalities revealed the situation in Dang. Likewise, 77 percent public schools are raising enrollment fee, 98 percent are charging examination fee and 10 percent are taking fees from students for salary of private teachers, according to the data