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    » 01/30/2015, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Nepal government revokes license from "unofficial" religious schools

    Christopher Sharma

    The decision concerns institutions that are not run by religious organisations that can operate and finance them. For the authorities, "economic sustainability" and "suspicious fundamentalist activity" are the reasons for closure. Madrassas are affected.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepali government has decided to revoke the license of all religious schools that are not run by an official religious organisation. The decision has attracted a lot of criticism in the southern districts of the country, where numerous madrasas (Islamic schools) will be forced to close because of the measure.

    In motivating their move, Nepali authorities cited "economic sustainability" and "suspicious fundamentalist activity". However, the decision seems aimed at Islamic religious schools because most Madrasas are not operated by proper Islamic organisations.

    Conversely, the decision does not appear to have had any major impact on schools run by Hindus, Christians and Buddhists, which are operated by solidly self-financed institutions.

    "The Council of Ministers decided on 18 December to revoke the licence granted to religious schools that do not operate under the auspices of a religious organisation and with their financial support," said government spokesman Minendra Rijal.

    "The decision," the official said, "was taken because many of these institutions have become unsustainable from the economic point of view. In addition, some individuals were found to be misusing the schools." However, he declined to explain what the alleged "misuse" was.

    For Mohammad Shahjahan, secretary of the Madarsha Coordination Committee (Saptari District), "the decision is regrettable because it will only lead to the closure of thousands of schools where students can learn in their mother tongue."

    According to Mohammad Ali Anbar, chairman of the Muslim Youth Rights Forum, "instead of helping the schools, the government has nipped them in the bud."

    Interreligious Council Secretary General Nazrul Hussein is convinced that the government "should regulate and check if there are cases of corruption or wrong-doings; however, it should not close the schools. With this move, it seems that the administration wants to suppress the Muslim minority of Nepal".

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    See also

    28/07/2005 PAKISTAN
    In seven days 600 Islamic fundamentalists rounded up
    Many of them are thought involved in the growing sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

    29/12/2005 PAKISTAN
    Madrassas refuse to expel foreign students

    The decision, taken by the president in the wake of the London bomb attacks, should be carried out by the end of December. There may be an extension but the government is determined to push ahead.



    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.

    18/02/2008 NEPAL
    Government to recognise Muslim and Buddhist religious schools
    Hundreds of Islamic and Buddhist schools want recognition. Nepal’s government is set to provide financial aid as well but demands in return that such schools also use non religious books in English and Nepali. Some Muslim groups object.

    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.



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