Scholarships drive students to govt schools
By Manjima Dhakal
Kathmandu, May 15: Private schools are gradually losing their secondary level students over the years, thanks to the government’s scholarship schemes for the medical, engineering, agricultural and other technical courses for the students graduating from public schools.
Many guardians opt to enrol their wards to the reputed community schools with a hope that their wards will get scholarships to study medicines or other technical subjects.
Many reputed community schools, mostly of the city areas, are facing pressure from the students from grade seven to grade nine due to the government provision to provide scholarship to only the students who have passed the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) from community schools.
This is why many schools in the valley and even outside have more students in higher level grades than in the lower grades.
Gyanodaya Higher Secondary School, at Bafal, for example, has three sections in each class from grade nursery to grade six but it has four sections in each class from grade seven to 10.
Nati Kaji Maharjan, headmaster of the school, said almost all students of the new sections have comr from private schools.
He added that they were unable to enrol many students due to lack of infrastructure, teachers and other resources.
However, Maharjan denied the allegations that more students enrolled at his school only to get scholarships at higher level education.
He said the guardians wanted to enrol their children even in the community schools located far away from their homes once their wards become capable to take their own care.
Likewise, Vishwo Niketan Higher Secondary School was also unable to admit 30 students in grade eight this academic session.
Heramba Raj Kandel, headmaster of the school, said that 80 students appeared in the entrance examination held for 50 vacant seats in grade eight.
According Kandel, he confronted pressure from power to enrol the children in the secondary level.
These two are only representative cases. Many reputed schools outside the Kathmandu Valley have also faced pressure from students willing to get admission at higher grades.
The government has allocated 55 per cent quotas for general and 45 per cent for reserved quotas in engineering and medical, agricultural courses. The students who have passed SEE from private schools are eligible to fight for the general quotas but the students who have passed SEE from community schools will be eligible for both types of scholarships.
According to the data of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MOEST), last year 217 students were provided scholarship for medical courses. Likewise, similar numbers of students have been receiving in scholarship to study engineering and agriculture.
Besides the government scholarship, private colleges have to provide certain per cent scholarship for their total number of enrolled students. Bishnu Prasad Misra, co-spokesperson of the Ministry said if the owner of the college is a Nepali it has to provide scholarship for 10 per cent students. And, if the owner of the college is a foreigner, 20 per cent students will receive scholarship.
Rituraj Sapkota, chairperson of the National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association of Nepal (NPABSON), said that due to the government policy the students who are studying in scholarship from grade one to grade 10 in the private schools are not allowed to contest for the scholarship allotted for the reserved quotas.
Many genuine students are also unable to get scholarship for their higher education due to the government discriminative policy, Sapkota said.
According to Sapkota, the government officials has committed to addressing this problem in the upcoming Federal Education Act.
Suprabhat Bhandari, coordinator of Guardian Association, said the government must be liberal to permit the students who have obtained school education under scholarship from private schools to appear in scholarship examination for higher education.
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