The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has made arrangements to provide free internet to students and schools from mid-September to facilitate learning.
The Student Learning Facilitation Guideline passed on 19 August by a ministerial decision states that the Ministry of Education should provide free internet.
The role of the Ministry is clearly written in the guideline to provide free and concessional data packages to schools and students from Nepal Telecom and other internet service providers for educational purposes only.
The Ministry of Education has instructed the federal, state and local level bodies and stakeholders for the mandatory implementation of this directive from September 17th (i.e. 1st of Ashwin). The information on the implementation of the directive issued by the Ministry states that the government at all three levels should implement the directive in order to achieve the learning achievements specified in the National Curriculum Draft and create an environment conducive to learning for school-age children.
The ministry said free internet was needed after schools and students complained that online classes were affected by the high cost of the internet.
Dilli Prasad Sharma, the headmaster of Vijay Smarak Secondary School in Dilli Bazaar, Kathmandu, says that it costs up to Rs 200 for two classes to buy data and run an online class. “For many of our student parents, this amount is beyond their means,” he says.
Keshav Puri, president of the Parents Association of Nepal, expressed concern over the implementation of the government’s provision of free internet. He said that the government had played a dual role by making the online class paid through the same directory, although the government itself said online classes to be free-of-cost.
“According to the self-made guideline, we will see if the ministry will provide free internet from Ashwin 1st,” said Chairman Puri. “If not, we will understand that the directive is just a piece of paper.”