Kathmandu: Fourteen Indian schools in Nepal, following the curriculum of India's Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), face the threat of closure from the new academic session beginning from March.
The predominantly Left government in the Himalayan nation has observed that these 14 schools have been following CBSE curriculum without the government's approval and, therefore, stand to lose their respective licences to operate. Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), has warned the schools either to take permission or else face action from the next academic session, which commences in March.
The 14 Indian schools include the Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) inside the Indian embassy premises in Kathmandu and a branch of the Delhi Public School in Dharan, in eastern Nepal, among others, and have been pursuing the CBSE curriculum in Nepal for years, the education minister said.
The ministry clarified that it would give a time-window to the schools to seek formal approval from the government to run the curriculum, pay the requisite tax and follow the guidelines of the foreign school category. Parents whose wards were likely to be affected have expressed anxiety about the Nepal government's latest move, fearing that it may make their children's educational career uncertain if the required approval was not granted to the schools.
"If they fail to meet the criteria set by the ministry before taking approval, we will scrap their licence from next academic session," Minister Pokhrel warned. Among the schools affected by the government's latest diktat are the Kathmandu-based Modern Indian School, Rupy’s International School, Rai School, Chand Bagh School and Alok Vidyashram. Over 20,000 students are currently studying in the 14 schools on the government's hit-list. "Before commencement of the the next academic session, we will give them a chance to seek approval. If they fail the compliance, we will not let them run," said Pokhrel.
The situation faced by these schools is not new -- they have faced the threat of closure even earlier but interestingly only when the Communists have been in power. The last such incident happened in 2013 when the education ministry issued notice to these 14 schools asking them not to admit students for the new academic session as they were conducting classes using study material as per CBSE curriculum without taking due permission from the government.