During the meeting between the Association of Private Schools and the government attended by private schools and officials from the Ministry of Education, the Prime Minister announced that for 2020 academic session, about 2,700 or even less students will be allotted to private schools and students will be allowed to choose the school of their choice.
The Prime Minister also informed that the private schools can accept the students at a rate approved by the Ministry of Education but if they want more than what is approved by the Ministry, the increased amount should go directly to the teacher’s pay increment.
The association of Private schools has requested the government to increase the free structure from Nu 30,000 for day scholar and Nu 50,000 for boarding that was approved last year to Nu 40,000 and Nu 70,000. However, the Ministry said that the Ministry can increase it to Nu 35,000 to 60,000 and if they want more increase, the increase amount should directly be transferred to the teacher’s pay increment.
Lyonchhen said, “If there are more than 2700 students opting for private schools, then it is a really good indication that there is more demand for private schools. But at the same time, we cannot give more than 2,700 students because we have seats in government schools and we cannot let government schools go vacant and private schools get overfilled. “
The proprietor of Desi School said that students should be given a choice to choose the schools buteven if schools are given around 4000 students, each school will get 190 students each as there are 21 private schools. After the school receives 190 students, the school will not take up any more students.
In response to this, Lyonchhen said that the government cannot give 4,000 students and can only give 2,700 students.
He said, “If we give 4000 students just like that then there is no possibility to know which schools are doing well and which are not, so let the market forces decide and let there be competition so that better schools will survive and one to two schools will be definitely be out of market because the policy is changed.”
The only way is to make the quality good, Lyonchhen said.
Another private school owner said, “We had discussion among ourselves and we decided that we should work closely with the government because we are all on the same side and same business of educating the children. We will focus on the quality of education and not on our business interest. There will be few schools that will collapse.”
He said, “To help our friend that are under huge distress that we have decided to put a cap on the number of students that we will take and we will equally distribute the number of students among ourselves.”
Lyonchhen said that the government knows that the fee structure that was decided last year was less and increase will definitely be there but they have to decide whether to keep it to Nu 35,000 to Nu 60,000 or Nu 40,000 to Nu 70,000.
“If private schools decide to keep it to 35 to 60, then there is no issue but if it is more than that I have one condition that the increased amount should directly go to teachers pay increment,” he said.
Regarding the fee structure, most of the private schools said that they have asked for the increase because the fee approved by the government last year was less and if they are asked to pay the increased amount to pay the teacher’s salary, it will be difficult for them.
One of the private schools said that, there are government schools that are overcrowded and they hope that the government will not reach a situation where it will not be able to manage the number.
Private schools also said that not even a single teacher has asked for pay raise as they are already aware of the situation of the private schools.
Few private schools decided to stick by Nu 35,000 to Nu 60,000.
Since the private schools could not come to the decision and since few private schools were absent, the private schools will have a discussion and inform the government on their decision.