Nepali Times
My Take
Question for Comrade Lohani


The teachers' wing of the UCPN (Maoist) has threatened to shut down private boarding schools owned by party leaders and members as a step towards closing down all private schools.

"Our campaign against private schools has not been effective because our party members themselves have betrayed the cause," chairman of the Maoist All Nepal Teachers' Organisation, Gunaraj Lohani, said. "We are compelled to create a moral base to bolster our campaign against private schools."

While it is nothing new for a Maoist wing to issue threats (after all, the mother party does it all the time), what makes it novel is this time the comrades are after brother comrades. The excuse behind shutting down private schools for the sake of "equality" is utter nonsense.

The timing of the threat is not so surprising, though. The new academic session of schools is just a couple of months away, a time when most private schools rake in a lot of moolah by way of annual and other fees to ensure profits. No wonder they attract a lot of attention, including those from Maoists and other parties.

But is it really about ensuring "equality" in education?

Assuming that it is, let us examine the path proposed by the Maoist teachers' union. It looks like they have strong opposition to private schools, something they view as bourgeoisie indulgence. I have a question to Lohani and his comrades. Can they force their party chairman to withdraw his granddaughter from an English-medium school in the capital? Bet not. Can they ask all their apologist commentariat to withdraw their children from reputed private English schools? No way.

Just like individuals and groups have the right to open and operate private schools, people like Lohani have simply no right to shut schools whether they are run by Maoists or others. Similarly, parents and grandparents have the right to educate their children wherever they want. Period.

Shutting down private schools, which usually have a better success rate than those run by the government, is no way to ensuring equality. Government-run schools have poor quality, so Lohani & Co would be better off trying to raise the standard of government schools. Instead, they harass the administration of even well-run community-managed schools where they can't exert control.

There are example of good government schools: Adarsha Soul Yuvak Secondary School of Sainbu of Lalitpur district, which according to Shikshak magazine has done so well that people are taking their children out of private schools to be enrolled there. Twelve private schools in the vicinity are so worried they have complained to the District Education Office, Lalitpur.

Of the 101 students of Adarsha Soul who appeared for their SLC exams last year, 11 passed with distinction, 50 in first division and 40 with second division marks. The medium of instruction is English, the facilities are as good as any private school but it is cheaper. It arranges special classes for 34 differently-abled students. It also conducts informal education for stay-at-home mothers, besides conducting 10+2 in Humanities, Management and Science and BBS and BEd.

Want another example? Sarbajanik Lower Secondary School at Sisawani in Morang. Shikshak reports that it has made a stunning turnaround in the last three years.

Simple question to Comrade Lohani: why don't you and your party work towards inspiring more schools to be like Adarsha Soul and Sarbajanik?

Dahal on war path again, EDITORIAL
Fork in path in Nepal, PRASHANT JHA

1. who cares
to improve govt. schools, teachers like lohani should be sacked and qualified teachers should be hired.

the main problem with govt. school is its awful teachers. 

2. Sunil Pokhrel

In this report the writer has erroneously glorified private schools for their SLC success rate. A bit of calculation on the unit cost on private and public child would have told a very different story on why there was a divide.

The report tells me that private schools should survive because they have better pass rate. Is that all?

The public at large have a lot of resentment over how private schools are functioning. When Maoists talk of shutting down of the private schools, it goes well in the public. It has to do with how they are pocketing a huge sum of money without paying taxes and still getting away with it.

 The private school owners are now mere monetary elites.  Most of the ones who run hugely profitable business of running school [s] have contributed nothing in adding value to the curriculum or the quality of the text books. Instead, they have tied themselves up with big publication houses and forcing children buy the book of very less quality.

The writer has undertaken a task to please the private school owners but has been very insensitive to the popular notion.  I think impartiality is the key to bring changes through journalism which the writer has chosen not to agree with. Singing the songs for the educational moguls of the present day Nepal will make them happy but highlighting their wrongs could bring positive changes to Nepal's failing school education.

3. Arthur
"Simple question to Comrade Lohani: why don't you and your party work towards inspiring more schools to be like [the best government schools]".

Simple answer, first they have to be in government. Schools need teachers and other resources, not just inspiration. While the current gang of looters are in government the Ministerial fish are surrounded by water to drink and there is no way to improve the government schools.

Where do you think the money for expensive private schools comes form? It comes from looting public schools and other aid projects by the people who are supposed to pass on the donor contributions but instead use it to just provide for their own families.

4. Guinthe

# 2 - The writer may have failed to give good reasons for why private schools be left alone, but it is not just not the pass rate why we need them. We need them because the public education system in the country is not at all at par. If anyone does not like the standard of education or any services provided by the private schools then they can always take their children out.

Regarding, the private school owners making money undermining quality: This is a question of regulations where the government needs to tighten its screw and this is where the Maoists and Com Lohani can come in to make sure that the private schools are providing what the people are paying them for. About text books and education standards - these are something the government can monitor. 

You can't stop people buying expensive cars when there are many cheaper models around. People who see the value of a commodity will pay for it as they deem fit. Same goes with education. If public schools provide better quality education then who will pay the private schools for their sub-standard or expensive product? Do you go screaming around that the expensive car manufacturers are cheating the public and forcing them to cough up more for a product that�s not worth it? What will you do next after the private schools are closed? Close all the private hospitals and nursing homes and forbid doctors from running their clinics because the quality of the public hospitals in the country sucks? Then after that will you say that all the private sector trading houses should close because salt trading is running at a loss?


5. K. K. Sharma

Perhaps comrade Lohini would respond ( when in an ideological mood ) by saying; "we need ignorant and docile people to be kept in the communes, in the future, not free thinking cleaver people. 

Or, he may reply,( in an inebriated state); " Look Damakanta, you do not understand. Actually we are not closing down private schools, we are threatening them to facilitate extortions. If we were to actually close down such schools, we would lose one of the rich source of extortions. You should get it now. No?"

6. rishav
Reply #3 , Let me finish off this future Ian Martin very quickly and then address the issue, in a normal fashion.

"Where do you think the money for expensive private schools comes form? It comes from looting public schools and other aid projects by the people who are supposed to pass on the donor contributions but instead use it to just provide for their own families."

Yes like the Maoist leaders do for their kids hey! Thinking that private schools are solely funded by corrupt politicians is extremely idiotic. Private schools, are funded by every day normal Nepali citizens who are trying to do the best for their kids in any way that they can. There you go, an explanation to counter and nullify your rubbish view, hey Arthie. Done!

Now dealing with the artcile for the rest of the readers.

We have dealt with this issue to death.

The majority of Nepali's don't see the point in having to shut down private schools, and don't blame them, for the reason why public schools have diminished over the years. The blame goes squarely on the Government, but then they have a good excuse over the past 10 years at least having to fight a Maoist insurgency.

Infact, private schools do quite the oppositie, they reileve the financial burdens on an over stretched, lack of resourced public sector. We do need to focus on improving the standards in our Government schools, which have produced many a professional and leaders of our nation as we all know, but forcefully closing down private schools  in any right minded person's mind is not the answer!

The Maoists, upto their old tricks, are trying to use a dodgy extreme political agenda inorder to extort money again. Funny that they use this time of year, if your a Nepali you would know that the majority of children return back to school very soon and hence the time of collecting fees.

7. who cares

3: arthur

"Where do you think the money for expensive private schools comes form? It comes from looting public schools and other aid projects by the people who are supposed to pass on the donor contributions but instead use it to just provide for their own families."

do you care to explain? all this fella trying to do is attack opposition with imaginary none sense. 

i tell you where money comes from. its from looting public. maoist have invested billions of looted cash in private school. .... i heard maoist bought the school i used to go, or they simply captured it.

there are many private schools which could go bankrupt, unable to pay bank loan.

the only way to bring down fees in private schools is by giving them competition by govt. or some private nationalist. 

how much would it cost to operate a class with 45/50 students, and a small ground? what more we poor nepalese need, summing pool?

one of the main reason public school is lagging behind is politics- teachers' unions.

end political unions in- schools, colleges, bureaucracy, essential sector, court.

(what the hell is going on with NT's font).

8. Arthur
#6 #7, "every day normal Nepali citizens who are trying to do the best for their kids in any way that they can" often live on less than $1 per day and large majority of them live on less than $2 per day.

They cannot afford to pay for private schools. There is no hope of their children getting decent education unless it is both free and compulsory.

Only people who are not forced to live like the majority of Nepalese on $1 or $2 per day can afford to pay for private schools. This is completely obvious but completely invisible to those people. Their mentality is very simple - the people who live on $1 or $2 per day are of no importance. They are not "every day normal" people like themselves.

All the shouting is from people who really don't give a damn about the large majority of Nepalese.

What's worse it is from people whose education is paid for out of corruptly living from the aid provided by donors that was intended for developing Nepal. They use their education to write consultants reports for helping to loot donor funds.

Naturally such people shout against Maoists, as corrupt, looters etc. What else would one expect from such people?

Even more naturally they mainly talk to each other, especially in english. It is so comfortable agreeing with oneself despite being completely isolated from the large majority.

Usually foreigners try to "work around" these parasites in the hope of at least doing some good despite them.

Unfortunately this helps feed their delusions that the rest of the world does not find them disgusting and will forever keep paying for them to send their children to private schools in Nepal or abroad instead of actually building an education system and other development projects.

Occasionally they let slip their inclination towards "brutal violence" but usually they like to gush about "democracy". It is hard to tell whether they succeed in convincing themselves by agreeing with each other or whether the increasingly angry ranting reflects a gradual realization that more and more people see through them.

9. rishav
Reply #8 Whose ranting and raving now Mr Ian Martin version 2.1. I will finish you off very quickly.Also don't try misquotig me you silly boy, this is what I said, "Private schools, are funded by every day normal Nepali citizens who are trying to do the best for their kids in any way that they can." As mentioned already by us Nepalis', the mix in these schools are from all different background, not your just your corrupt politician's child.

In your rant you have again failed to give a valid argument why shutting down private schools forcefully would some way automotically develop public schools. Your only argument so far would be that the families, who send their children to private schools in the country, would then be forced to send them to public schools instead. By doing so, will put pressure on the Government to act some how differently than they haven't already done so inorder to improve the public schools. You really don't know how things are done in Nepal quite clearly, even if King Gynanendra's grand childen were to attend these schools I still don't think they would change in standards.

It comes down to financial set up through taxes, through foreign aid to the Government and how much is available for the education sector. Yes corruption by polticians etc etc could be the issue then deal with the issue not the existence of private schools. Infact, the existence of private schools, as mentioned many a time, takes the pressure, strains and financial burden off the public school sector as class sizes are then reduced in these public schools. 

My point has always been, if individuals are able to contribute to taxes, inorder to fund public schools, which actually they do so already then these individual also have the democratic right to send their children to private schools if they so choose to. I believe that this is a fairer and a real democratic choice.

The real issue here is how to improve the funding, support for these public schools via the Government and minimising the potentail political corruption involved.

As Nepali's, through our experience, we know that the standards do need improving in these public schools that's common knowledge, as with every country in the World. There has also been many explanation's why there has been a drop in standards, but nothing to prove it is due to the existence of private schools. But also there have been many success stories to come out of the public school system, so this idea of doom and gloom potrayed on them, is not entirely true considering theses achievements have benifited the country.

So Ian Martin version 2.1, trying staying focused on the topic than spewing your usual rubbish. You mentioned various things like INGO's , Nepali people who speak English, bla blah, which really showed your arrogance and ignorance again. I could easily wipe the floor of you but really can't be arsed, written too much already.

10. Sargam
Eureka! I found out my Walter Mitty! Look at my finger pointing - This is no other than Arthur, the Mossad trained guy to infiltrate Nepalese Maoists to report every day about what happens in Nepal.

We ain't forced to follow all meanderings of this poodle. Leave him at his own gibberish talk.

But if he succeeds in his firmament of communist propaganda, there is a squad ready to throw stones at him till death as it so happened to Ceausescu couple, sooner or later.

Exactly like in the dreams of Walter Mitty!?!

11. Hamro Nepal idiot with a lot of "looted" moolah in his hands would want to have his offsprings bring in less moolah in the future.  Kudos to Comrade Lohani and ...this Chairman and his cronies, whover they may be.

Good job....I hate Nepali private schools because they segegrate between the "haves" and "have-nots".  Education should be equal opportunities for all Nepalis, regardless of their wealth - all children should learn the same curriculum/subjects.  But would the rich want all children from poor families to rival or be above their children's academic ability - I bet not.  So it's best to stunt them by sending to private schools and paying the Education Minister to lower the standards in Government Schools.  Nepal it seems is the only country that has to re-register their children into schools and pay huge sums of hard earned "black money" all over again - yup, every year. 

Well done Comrade Lohani - keep up the good work!!  Stop this idiot and money hungry private schools.  Well done again.

12. Vija Srestha

Dear Reader,

First of all,all government or private run schools must be separated from the politics of any kind and most importanly it is not the teachers job,there is administration,parents and teachers executive commitees who bring forward needs ,interests and problems of the schools,who  interact with other schools in the community ,bring forward decisons made in classroom communities ,in school community.In the end of the day we need to consider needs of the children,schools are for the children eventhough the property may belong to somebody else.

I do agree that there is a huge discrepancy between private and government schools as there is a huge discrepancy between private and private schools.

I like to mention just few observed differences.

First of all physical structure of the buildings.Having beautiful ,huge buildings is not the reflection of quality education children should be receiving.Education  must be child centred.Many big reputated schools have nursery groups and children as young as 3  are sitting a whole day in the environment that is nothing to do with what the child requires and can do ,must do at this age.I do understand that parents of such children need to go to work and maybe it is the only way for them to teach their child,most of the parents of such children are looking up to teachers and have kept faith of their child's education in their hands,however I would like to add that schools which are having such small children need to re-think their curriculums and build age appropriate education ,with wide range of themes and variation of mediums to work in .

Most so called well of schools have lots of books in the libraries,big classrooms with computers ,however methods of teaching  specially at the primary level need to be improvized according to the age and interests of children.Such schools neeed to think about Multiple Intelligences of a child and give as much support and encouragement as possible,which is totally out of curriculums of most such private schools and it totally doesn't exist in government run schools.Government schools that are supported by a few very good private schools in Kathmandu and other parts of the country ,are the best examples of human individual responsibility towards the society as the citizens,but how much can we lay on such people's shoulders.

Ministry of Education must invite leaders of such schools to work in the Minuistry of Education,and my personal view is, fire all the staff who till now have been sitting in the Ministry and have not done even simple thing,have not worked out the simplest curriculums for kindergartens and primary level children.It is absurd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most importantly ,include in constitution the right to education for children of all walks and give free education to all the children who require such help.People need to learn to help themselves,just by asking free education without acknowledging importance of self is not going to help the child succeed because education is not just about letters and numbers.Nothing in life comes free is a reality ,you can not have food on the table without putting an effort or any empty promise  is not what is life about .

I will argue with any one and everyone who wants to deny or lessen the importance of private schools or government schools.

We need to be proud of and praise all those schools ,their leaders and children for their existence in the society.All private schools are the perfect example of how the school leaders perceive ,have understood and implemented their methods to give the children education they need,eventhough there is a lot of improvement to be done,but shutting them down is like putting blindhold on every ones eyes and telling ,now you walk and find the way out.

I totally agree that  each child has a right to good education and I totally support every private school which charges higher fees than usual and I will tell you why,however I as a parent or invester want to know where the high fees charged are used for.

Parents ,teachers and school leaders of such schools have taken charge of something what government has not done till now.They have understood that by giving little something into the big pot ,is helping many more children in the community.The work done by such schools is just praise worthy.

Together everyone achieves more, but not by looting together or killing together,by treatening together,it is by thinking and working together.

However the government again is not doing its job.Proper tax system would be able to support all government schools even without the help of foreign assistance.We need to choose the priorities and invest appropriately.Eventhough there exists some kind of tax,it is way off the reallity.One more important issue,every parent ,rich or poor must pay tax and be involved according to what one owns,land,property ,income tax,health insurence accordingly ,but not the way it is till now. Do you really think that school itself would be able to sustain,support other community schools in the community around if there was no help from all those parents whose children attend such schools.

I hope that wisdom will prevail and understood and most importantly government leaders in Ministry of Education will be  replaced with practitioners who have proved how it is possible ,with teachers who have wide range of knowledge and most importantly experience in teaching .Most importanly,listen to children ,they will teach you what they need to learn and let's not forget,children learn what they live.

13. Shristi
Well shutting down private school? Well Lohani must be crazy? Because my land is not giving me harvest, i won't let you collect yours? If my family is dying becuase of famine? Why not yours? Well come to senses people. We are lagging behind. The solution is not in shutting down private school. Government school teachers and government should be more focused on how they can make government education more sustainable, more competitive and more avialble. Instead of attacking these school, they should be focused on how they can come upto mark. Why do we waste time on utter non-sense. Come on show that you have brian and put it to use to better what we have not stop what we have. Yes, like the writer, I don't support the donation private schools take. But there should be broad based system or regulation in place to stop that as well. They should let there be maximum schools can charge. Well, as for taking out politician's clan from private schools in Nepal. That they very well can but can they send them to government school is the question. I doubt, most likely they will send them off to india and along with them the big bucks as well. And like their fathers and grandfathers who were educated there, they will pretend to hate them for political gain. And hatred has harmed Nepal, more than anyone else. Why is vandalism and bandh's are the only way activists in Nepal? Well i understand if it came from people who haven't had privillege of education but even the educated act as sheeps with herd mentality. Gosh! When will we be unblinded, when will work towards making positive change.

14. Kabita Rai
I used to think that Nepali Times published articles only after vetting the veracity of the claims made in it. The writer here makes a number of false claims and treats them as if those premises are already warranted.
Hope the paper stops going down in its quality!

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)