Kathmandu, May 8, 2018: In order to ensure free and compulsory education as per the constitutional provision of the same, the government will need to increase the budget in the education sector by nearly three times more than that is currently allocated in the budget. A study report presented in the capital on monday claimed the cost would increase by nearly threefold.
According to the article 31 (2) of the constitution, every citizen has the right to compulsory and free education up to the basic level (Grade 8) and free education up to the secondary level (Grade 12).
Presenting the findings of a study carried out for National Campaign for Education Nepal, an umbrella body of more than three dozen non-governmental agencies working in the education sector, researcher Binay Kumar Kushiyat, professor at Tribhuvan University said that 197.4 billion is required for the school sector annually to ensure the constitutional rights. “Currently, the sector receives Rs.71.89 billion a year”, he added.
According to the report, the government needs to inject an additional Rs125 billion but the Finance Ministry has set a ceiling of Rs127 billion for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Of this only Rs80 billion is for school education.
Currently, the government has been providing for the cost of teachers, textbooks and some scholarships for the marginalized community. In order to ensure the constitutional requirement, there should be free stationery, insurance, uniform and even free meal for the students. “The per capita cost will then increase to Rs32,400 annually, up from Rs9,839 at the moment”, he said .
He also added that there was an urgent need for the government to increase the budget for education. As the Nepal government has made commitment at the international forums to ensure at least 20 percent of the total national spending or close to 6 percent of gross domestic product.
Hari Lamsal, joint-secretary at the Education Ministry, said, “The ministry is working on the compulsory and free education act draft.” He also stated that compulsory education act can only be achieved when total schooling expenses for families from below the poverty line are paid by the government and it increases the spending significantly.