This research provides an overview of the trajectories and forms of education privatisation in Nepal, with a special focus on low-fee and chain schools. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing, critical debate about the relationships between students’ rights to quality education, teachers’ rights to quality working conditions, equitable access to schools and the regulation of private actors in education. It used a mixed methodology, comprising desk research, and field work (survey and interviews). The major focus of the desk research was on: (i) identifying and analysing the growth trajectory of privatisation; (ii) examining the overall policy, practice and legislative environment in which the private sector has proliferated; and, (iii) identifying prominent private actors and issues related to equity and social justice in Nepal’s education sector. The fieldwork was comprised of case studies of two types of private schools – (i) the Samata Shiksha Niketan Schools (a low-fee private school chain), and (ii) the schools operated by Chaudhary Group (CG). For the purpose of case studies, five Samata and three CG schools were selected. The case studies were conducted using a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews amongst teachers, students, school principals, and promoters/owners. Throughout the process of data collection, interpretation and analysis, special emphasis was given to gender as a cross-cutting perspective.
Parallel Report submitted by the National Campaign for Education-Nepal, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Sciences Po law school Clinic, and partners, on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nepal during the 23rd session of the UPR Working Group.
This report shows that the current organisation of education system in Nepal, in particular a high level of unregulated private involvement in education, is creating and entrenching segregation in education. Such segregation in itself constitutes a human rights violation and need to be ended. It is also the source of additional other human rights abuses, including discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic background, gender and race, the limitation of the right to free quality education, and the lowering of education quality. This situation is extremely problematic due to the immediate human rights violations it is causing, but also because the injustices it generates contribute to threatening the fragile social cohesion and peace that exist in Nepal.
The publication highlights the low funding of public education which is leading to its decline and consequent growth in privatisation of education. The study also focuses on the private schools’ failure to follow the norms and regulations set out by the Nepali Constitution, as well as the government’s failure to ensure the implementation of these requirements. It also warns that private schools are leading to greater segregation and gaps within the society, between rich and poor, and boys and girls.