Devraj Ghimire, Speaker of the House of Representatives inaugurated the 8th Kantipur HISSAN Edufair jointly organized by Kantipur Publication and HISSAN-Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association Nepal on 32nd Jestha 2080 at Bhirkutimandap, Exhibition Hall, Kathmandu at 10:00 am.
Suddenly, Kathmandu Metropolitan Police under the leadership of Raju Pandey intervened in an illegal manner at around 3:00 pm while the fair was going ahead and interfered with the operation of the fair and deprived the students and parents of their right to be informed.
Holding a press meet on 3rd Ashadh 2080, HISSAN strongly condemned and deplored the excessive interference of the fair, which started with the permission of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and informing the District Administration Office and Kathmandu Metropolitan City, and without any written information, the metropolitan police came and forced to close the fair.
During a press meet on 3rd Ashadh 2080, Ramesh Kumar Silwal, the President of HISSAN said that Kathmandu Metropolitan Mayor Balendra Sah attracted the education fair in a brutal way. He asserted that the municipality had no authority or control over the fair at any point. Silwal stressed that the scope of the fair extended far beyond plus 2 institutes, encompassing a diverse range of educational institutions. The president highlighted that the edu fair showcased not only the achievements and offerings of plus 2 institutes but also featured the active participation of CTEVET (Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training) affiliated colleges, various universities affiliated colleges as well as Kathmandu University itself.
Silwal’s statement aimed to emphasize the broad spectrum of educational institutions involved in the edu fair, underlining its comprehensive nature and significance within the educational landscape of Nepal. By highlighting the diverse participation, he claimed that there was no right to govern the edufair. He added that such education fair underscores the collaborative efforts of various educational institutions and stakeholders to contribute to the advancement of the education sector in Nepal.
In the aftermath of the municipality’s sudden closure of the edu fair, the organizers faced numerous challenges in their attempts to address the situation. Although HISSAN was trying to hold the dialogue and meeting with Mayor, he didn’t wish to interact with them. Even on the second day, when they made another attempt to approach the mayor, their requests were denied, and the mayor was conspicuously absent during the ensuing argument. The metropolitan city neither provided the written information nor convinced the organizers and fair participants for closing the fair.
Instead, metropolitan police immediately proceeded to shut down the fair’s stalls by cutting off the electricity supply, causing confusion and disruption among the attendees, and even sealed the computers.
This series of events has generated a prevailing perception that the municipality displays a lack of support for Nepal’s private educational sector. The closure of the edu fair appears to be justified by the municipality’s assertion that discussing college fees and admissions with students before the announcement of their results is prohibited. However, a notable inconsistency arises while A-Level and CBSE schools have already taken admissions and started classes. This inconsistency implies a preference for promoting abroad education while neglecting to support the privately-run- schools and colleges within Nepal. Consequently, this situation poses a significant threat to the overall stability and progress of Nepal’s educational system. In response to these troubling developments, prominent organizations including PABSON, N-PABSON, PUCAN, OPEN, AECON, FORUM, and ASIA have united in their stance on the matter. During a press meet, these influential bodies expressed their solidarity, emphasizing the urgent need for immediate action and a swift resolution to address the prevailing concerns surrounding the metropolitan’s actions. Their united front underscores the gravity of the situation and underscores the collective determination to safeguard the interests of Nepal’s educational sector.
HISSAN President Ramesh Silwal said that the fair was stopped for 4 days without any information. He informed the press meet that a writ has been filed in Patan High Court demanding compensation of Rs 30 crore and immediate operation of the fair. A press meet was held at the fair itself. If the fair was not stopped, the program would be scheduled to end on Sunday.
Silwal said, “A similar fair was held last year when Balendra Sah was the mayor, why was it stopped this year? I have not received any information yet.” HISSAN official said that the employees of the metropolis are retreating saying that it is the mayor’s order. “Even during the Panchayat period, when the program was stopped, the grant was given. What was the reason for the closure? The metropolis did not give a letter or grant anything.”
Silwal said that Mayor Sah did not want to come in contact for discussion and dialogue. What crime did we commit? An arrest warrant should be issued when a criminal is caught, academic bodies were interfered with, gangsters went on, he said. He suspected that Mayor Sah may have been misled by abroad study consultancy. “After he did not give any answer, his intention has also been questioned, foreign colleges are allowed to enroll students for 12 months, they are allowed to transfer students for 12 months, why is it that domestic educational institutions are not allowed to hold fairs?” he asked. He said that if there was a mistake, he is ready to be punished legally, but the use of force is not acceptable. “If the fair could not be held before the results, the leaders would also have gone to the election campaign after the election,” he added.
The education branch of the metropolis has said that it has been stopped because the fair was organized before the results. Education chief Sitaram Koirala says that students and parents should not be lured by student admissions, fees, and scholarships. The fair was organized targeting the students who appeared for the SEE and Class 12 exams. 75 educational institutions including Kathmandu University participated in the fair. In a press meet, PABSON President DK Dhungana demanded that the metropolis should give the reason for stopping the fair.
What went wrong with the fair to encourage indigenous educational institutions? Questioning how much money has gone out when millions of students go abroad, he said, “No one should think that they will improve education by destroying private educational institutions.”
HISSAN has demanded that Kathmandu Metropolis should take responsibility and answer for the financial loss of crores when the approved fair that will last for 4 days was stopped. The metropolis should be responsible for the mental pressure of parents, students and others present at the fair. The question raised over the metropolis’ attitude while canceling the planned program for months, not giving information, not communicating, not giving written information about the petitions involved, etc. About thirty crores rupees was expected to be spent on the education fair.