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  • » 07/18/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Maoists and nationalists attack dozens of foreign-run private schools

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Young members of the Congress Party and Nepali Student Union protest against high tuition fees and foreign school names. Attacks began on 15 July, but Jesuit-run Catholic institutions were spared.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In protest against high fees, young militants from the Maoist and Congress parties have attacked dozens of private schools that rely on foreign funding and staff.

    On 15 July, militants from the rightwing Congress party and members of the Nepali Student Union attacked six privately-run schools, breaking furniture and destroying school material. Young Maoists attacked six more colleges, including the Rato Bangla School, Everest Florida College, South Western State College and the Kathmandu Institute of Science and Technology College. More attacks were reported this morning. So far, only the 33 Catholic schools (primary, high school and university) run by the Jesuits were spared.

    Ratna Dhakal, a member of the Maoist Student Union, said that his group attacked foreign schools and colleges to remove their foreign names and rehabilitate the country's national and cultural identity. "Ours is a symbolic act," he explained. "Now we want to draw the government's attention to schools that use foreign names and ask excessively expensive fees."

    According Dina Nath Sharma, Nepal's education minister, the government is doing all it can to keep things under control. "Over the next few months, we'll try to come up with common standards for private schools by adopting new fee rules, and ask schools to use Nepali names," he said.

    For their part, school officials blamed political parties for the attacks, done out of revenge in their view.

    Local sources say that various political parties have speculated on private school construction and management, asking for huge sums of money to guarantee regular activities and security to the schools. Those who did not pay were attacked and threatened.

    About 53 per cent of the Nepali people is literate. Private schools represent the backbone of the country's school system because only they have been able to provide quality education.

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    See also

    28/07/2012 NEPAL
    In Kathmandu, Nepali president and UN officials slam attacks against private schools
    Concerned with students' future, Ram Baran Yadav appeals to the government to guarantee security. UN officials, who share the same concerns, want schools to be considered 'Zones of Peace.' Catholics play a significant role in the country's education system.

    18/05/2007 NEPAL
    Teachers’ strike jeopardising students’ future
    Teachers launch strike for better job security, but job action really worries students across the country. More than 35,000 schools are shut down. Strike is set to continue until the government does not guarantee a contract and increases wages.

    18/02/2009 NEPAL
    Nepal’s Maoist government against private schools
    The government imposes a 5 per cent extra tax on private schools. Final exams will not be held unless schools pay up. Private school associations are up in arms against what they consider a “violation of the right to education.” Catholic schools are also affected but will pay the tax to allow students to complete their exams.

    12/05/2005 PAKISTAN
    Two nationalised schools handed back to the Catholic Church
    Islamic teachers and groups threaten nation-wide demonstrations. Some consider the decision illegal, calling it an atrocity.

    16/11/2006 CHINA
    300 private schools for migrant children to close down in Guangdong

    Local officials claim the structures do not respond to safety standards prescribed by law. An educator said the city order was a technical barrier to restrict private schools, which remain inconceivable for Beijing.





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