At a time when the Maoist party is threatened by a serious rift, its fraternal student wing has once more poised to target and destroy the country's education system. It has threatened all private schools outside Kathmandu Valley with closure from the next school year and has warned schools not to enroll any students after 1 Baisakh. It also wants private schools to hand over information on board of directors, capital, running costs and pay scales. Their intention seems to be to raze the country's education system with the slogan:
'Let's set fire to the education supermarket'. The Maoist call has been strongly criticised by schools, students and guardians. It is clear that this anti-people move will further alienate the Maoists from the public. Parents and guardians of children outside the Valley have been seriously worried about the future of their children. The private school association, PABSON, has instructed all schools to enroll and open as usual. But this hasn't assuaged the fears of private schools. The Maoists' threats have also psychologically affected the 250,000 students appearing this week in SLC exams because of the Maoists' call for a 10 day nationwide strike from 2 April. There are more than 8,500 private schools all over the country with 1.5 million students enrolled in them. More than 150,000 teachers and staff are employed in these schools. Private schools say they have raised the quality of education and saved billions of rupees from going overseas by allowing Nepalis to study in Nepal. "If there are problems, these should be regulated and solved, not close down the entire school system," says education expert, Tirtha Khaniya.