New leadership enthusiasts should hold onto advocacy for private friendly policies

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Ashish Shrestha, an advisor to the Central Executive Committee of PABSON, is the Founder Principal of Tulsi Memorial School, Hetauda which was established in 2038 BS by his parents. He is also involved in Narayani College, Hetauda.

Mr. Shrestha had led administrative management in 2060 BS. It was the time of political turmoil, and the private schools were in threat. Still, he is handing the responsibility audaciously, consciencely and delicately.

Owing to his involvement in PABSON, he received the membership in 2060 BS and took the responsibility as a member of PABSON district committee. PABSON was established in Makwanpur previously. But it was disappeared due to the establishment of N-PABSON in the district. Subsequently, in 2060 BS, the need of PABSON was realized, thus PABSON district committee was formed in his initiation in which he became a member. At the 8th National Convention, he became a member of central committee, and at the 9th National Convention, his tenure was revised twice. Subsequently, at the 10th National Convention, he was elected the President of District Committee, followed by his nomination as Regional Vice-president at the 12th National Convention. Finally, the 13th National Convention elected him Vice-president from open quota.

Although his candidacy was for Senior Vice-president at the 14th National Convention, he had sacrificed for unanimous consensus of the PABSON officials. Now, for the 15th National Convention, he has declared his candidacy for Co-president. He has shared his view with College Readers. Excerpts:

What fired your enthusiasm to join PABSON?

I started my journey of PABSON in 2060 BS as a PABSON district committee member of Makwanpur. It was a very difficult period for the existence of private schools at that time.  In those days, the revolutionary wings of student union and a sister organization of revolutionary party threatened them to close private schools permanently. So, we reorganized and reformed PABSON District Committee to resist such threats with our unified efforts. It was a very perilous predicament for private schools to sustain since we reached the conclusion to either die or fight. Since then, I have continuous involvement in this organization. In this regard, I consider PABSON as a savior of private schools.

Based on your long involvement of about one and a half decades in PABSON and private institutions, what do you think is the prime role of private schools in education development in Nepal?

Private schools play a significant role in escalating the academic status of Nepalese people which has to be done by the state. In fact, private schools were spread countrywide after the political change in 2046 BS. Due to decades of struggles, private schools have introduced a new dimension to the education sector in Nepal; as a result, globally competitive human resources have been prepared.

The private sector has been imparting quality education to a large pool of students in the country which has diminished a huge amount of money going to foreign universities in the name of quality education. The products of private schools have secured leading role in various fields of national life, such as banking, administration, engineering, medical sectors etc. Similarly, a wealth of job opportunities is created for a large population of the country. In fact, more than 95% of total graduates who score high grades are from private schools. So, private schools have not left any stone unturned in terms of disseminating quality education benchmarks.

In a long journey of PABSON, you have successfully played various roles. What should be the priorities of PABSON officials to make the PABSON stronger than ever?

PABSON has accomplished significant task since its establishment owing to solutions to problems of private and boarding schools. There still are several critical problems concerning private schools. The problems related to discriminatory scholarship policy and Education Acts are to be solved. Similarly, many vague issues of private schools are to be explicated and resolved. The government has introduced the provision of scholarship only to the students who have completed their secondary education from government schools which has threatened the existence of private schools.  So, the incoming leaders should tactfully negotiate with the government to find out the long-term solution concerning these all these problems.

The 15th National Convention of PABSON is going to be held on 9th and 10th Chaitra. How is the preparation going on?

The 14th National Convention had formed a committee comprising 169 members, but the present legislation has made the provision of only 73 members in the executive committee. So, the longing of all the aspirants may not be fulfilled. It is very hard to make a unanimous committee. In such a condition, there will be a healthy competition among the contesting officials.  In spite of this, we are trying our best to form the committee amid unanimous consensus.

What are your strong points for the post of Co-president?

My prime concern is to choose the able leadership to solve the existing problems. Still, my claim is for the Co-president if the consensus is made among us. I am well-known to the problems of private schools. If I am appointed Co-president, I will work efficiently to carve out a way for solving the existing problems.

Moreover, I will fight for the issue of 45% scholarship provision. Similarly, I will work for the betterment of entire private schools across Nepal and will make utmost efforts for amending all the discriminatory and suppressive policy and educational Act concerning private education. My main agenda is concerned with sustainability of private educational institutions. In this regard, I express my commitment for my struggle to end identity crisis of private schools.

What suggestions would you like to convey to the participants of the 15th National Convention?

It is a national festival of academicians. As per our expectation, the tentative number of attendees will be around 2200 who are educated and mature. So, I would like to request all the member schools’ representatives to appoint a team of robust leaders unanimously.

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