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Kantipur FM Commentary: The Business of Education II

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Continuing with publishing Kantipur FM commentaries I made as the host of a radio show (Marlboro Music Network) way back in the Spring of 1998…this commentary accompanied the March 2 show.

 

* * * * * * * *

 [Opening jingle]

Awe right….

It’s seven and time for another hour of Marlboro Music Network with me, Dorje, here on the one and only Kantipur FM.

This hour, I do have a question. And that is:

What is one of the biggest challenges a family in Kathmandu faces?

While you ponder over that question, here’s Oasis with a relatively new song Do You Know What I mean.

[Music, Oasis followed by Desree.]

Following Oasis was Desree with You Gotta Be.

The question was, what is one of the biggest challenges a family in Kathmandu faces?

On the basis of my observation of the shape the education system has taken, I would say it is formal education of their child or children that is one of the biggest challenges a family in Kathmandu faces. And it’s not only because of the fees, the expensive fees, the outrageous fees which I talked about a long time ago. Stick around for more details.

In the mean time, here’s Celine Dion with My Heart Will Go on.

[Music, Celine Dion followed by John Holt.]

And that was John Holt with Stick by Me.

Formal education of youngsters in Kathmandu and other cities in Nepal begins at the age of 3 with books, uniform, tiffin and all. And what’s wrong with books, uniform, tiffin, school canteen, school buses, things associated with education in Nepal? Stick around.

In the mean time, here’s Elton John with If the River Can Bend.

[Music, Elton John followed by the Gypsy Kings.]

And that was the Gypsy Kings with Baila Me.

When it comes to books, stationery, uniform and most of everything associated with the schooling of a child from the very first year (nursery) to the last (tenth grade), the school makes the arrangements. But instead of making things easier, convenient, cheaper, for the parents, as one would expect, they make it difficult, more expensive, much more expensive. How so? Stick around.

In the mean time, here’s Chumbawamba with Tubthumping.

[Music, Chumbawamba followed by Pink Floyd.]

And that was Pink Floyd with Wish You Were here.

The schools decide what books to use and how many different books will be used. What’s terrible about this is three-year-olds being led to the bus stop by their parent or a servant or a relative carrying a bag full of books and other materials.

And then there are the uniforms: the school itself either issues them or assigns an outfitter where they have to be fitted and made. As a parent you have no choice generally regarding the material. And it generally comes out to be much more expensive than what they would normally cost! Enough said.

Coming up is Boris Gardiner with You Are My Destiny.

[Music, Boris Gardiner followed by Hanson.]

And that was Hanson with Where’s the Love.

And year after year, the school issues books and I am aware of cases where a school strictly forbade the younger brother from using his older brother’s books as he got older.

And you might have a trusted outfitter near your house, but no you have to go to this single designated tailor that is way out of the way to get the uniforms made.

And canteens at schools? Some times the food at the canteen costs more than what it would cost just outside the gate!

Coming up is Little Wolf with Native American music Coyote Dance.

[Music, Little Wolf.]

Day after day I am finding more and more reasons to believe that private school education here in Nepal, in many cases, is a business, a money-making scheme first.

With that I have to wrap up this hour. This is Dorje signing off.

Join me tomorrow at the same time. Stay tuned for Udayashree Top Ten with Sanju.

 

References

These were added after the publication of the blog.

Online Khabar (May 6, 2018). Nepal government bars private schools from selling uniforms, stationery. Finally, the government does something about this racket!! [Added on May 17, 2018.]

My Republica (April 4, 2017). Govt unable to check pvt school fee hikes. “Private schools have to get their new fee structures approved by a two-third majority of the guardians and also acquire permission from the Fee Restructuring Committee and the District Education Office (DEO). But the private schools simply ignore the rules, according to GAN.” The article ends with the following: “Private schools violating the rules can be fined up to Rs. 25,000 and have their licenses canceled. However, the government always repeats the same commitment bu [sic] takes no concrete action with visible results.” [Added on May 24, 2018.]

 

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