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The Rising Nepal: A-Level courses raise questions

By Manjima Dhakal

Kathmandu, May 12: It has been found that several schools across the country have been running higher secondary level courses affiliated to foreign universities against the provisions of Education Act in Nepal.

Though the current Education Act clearly mentions that no institution would be given approval to run foreign university-affiliated courses in school level of Nepal, many higher secondary schools have been running A-Level and CBSE courses reportedly by getting permission from the government.It is unethical on part of the schools to run these courses after the government upgraded school level up to Grade 12.Baikuntha Aryal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST), said that the affiliation was apparently against Education Act after the government upgraded school education up to Grade 12. Therefore, the MoEST is having a dialogue to address the problem regarding the courses affiliated to foreign universities. The upcoming Education Act is expected to address the issue of foreign university courses in school level. Education expert Bidhyanath Koirala said that running foreign university courses at the school level is against the norm of World Trade Organisation (WTO). Therefore, to address the problem, Education Commission report (2074) has made a recommendation to design one’s own course which will meet the standards of such foreign courses. However, the authority is yet to initiate action on this recommendation, he noted.According to the MoEST, a total of 36 higher secondary schools have acquired affiliation to operate A-Level courses at their institutions. However, the Ministry doesn’t have any record of how many institutions have been running the courses and how many students are studying the courses each year. Rajesh Khadka, founder of GEMS School, also operating the A-Level courses for about eight years, informed that due to lack of students and because of being unable to meet other requirements all higher secondary schools getting approval have not been able to run the classes.According to him, only about 15 higher secondary schools have been running the A-Level courses every year. Students are unable to enroll for the A-Level courses because of higher fee structure, he conceded. It will take about another six weeks for this year’s Secondary Education Examination (SEE) results to be published. However, the schools offering foreign university courses have already closed their admission.The higher secondary schools which have been running the A-Level of Cambridge University and CBSE of Indian government have already selected students by conducting entrance examinations without waiting for SEE results.Atiram KC, vice-chairperson of Budhanilkanta School, said they enrolled students only in A-level courses just after SEE examination because they would be unable to complete the course in time if they waited for SEE results.Khadka, founder of Gems School, which is going to start classes from Sunday, said the admission of students in A level is conditional. If they don’t get good grades in SEE result, the admission will become invalid.However, the MoEST said they hadn’t minded about the beginning of classes because the courses are affiliated with foreign universities. Aryal said the higher secondary schools are running the courses according to the provisions of their affiliated institutions, therefore the Ministry had not interfered.Besides, there is no uniformity in fee structure of same combination of A-Level courses in different higher secondary schools in Nepal. Some schools are charging Rs. 15,000 per month while others are charging about Rs. 40,000 for the same combination.The government has adopted a policy of making education easily accessible to everyone. However, it has sorely failed in regulating the fees of these schools that have been charging as per their discretion.  

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