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ACS Any Composite Score
ADB Asia Development Bank
AEP Adult Education Programme
AL Adult Literacy
APPEAL Asia Pacific Programme of Education for All
ARNEC All Round National Education Committee
ATPL APPEAL Training Materials for Literacy Personnel
BASE Backward Society Education
BBK Bal Bikash Kendra
BLC Basic Learning Competency
BPE Basic Primary Education
BPEP Basic and Primary Education Project
CARE Co-operative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere
CBCDC Community-based Child Development Centre
CBO Community-based Organisation
CBS Central Bureau of Statistics
CDC Curriculum Development Centre
CEFA Centre for Education for All
CERID Research Centre for Educational Innovation and Development
CPE Compulsory Primary Education
CTEVT Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training
CTSDC Curriculum Textbook and Supervision Development Centre
DANIDA Danish International Development Agency
DEC Distance Education Centre
DEO District Education Officer
ECD Early Childhood Development
ECE Early Childhood Education
EFA Education for All
EMIS Education Management Information System
EU European Union
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation
FINIDA Finish International Development Agency
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GER Gross Enrollment Rate
GO Governmental Organisation
GTZ Gesselschaft fur Technische Zussamenarbeit (German Development Assistance)
HMG His Majesty's Government
HMTTC Hotel Management and Tourism Training Centre
IDA International Development Assistance
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
ILO International Labour Organisation
INGO International Non-governmental Organisation
IPC/C Interpersonal Communication and Counselling
IRDP Integrated Rural Development Project
JICA Japan International Co-operation Agency
KOICA Korean International Co-operation Association
MLL Minimum Learning Level
MOE Ministry of Education
MOEC Ministry of Education and Culture
MOECSW Ministry of Education, Culture and Social Welfare
MOF Ministry of Finance
NCED National Centre for Educational Development
NCNFE National Council for Non-formal Education
NEC National Education Commission
NEEN National Education for All Evaluation Nepal
NER Net Enrollment Rate
NFE Non-formal Education
NFEC Non-formal Education Council
NGo Non-governmental Organisation
NNEPC Nepal National Education Planning Commission
NORAD Norwegian Assistance for Development
NRC-NFE National Resource Centre for Non-formal Education
ODA Overseas Development Association
ORS Oral Rehydration Solution
ORT Oral Rehydration Therapy
OSP Out-of-School Programme
PC Programme Co-ordinator
PCRW Production Credit for Rural Women
PCTDU Primary Curriculum and Textbook Development Unit
PEDP Primary Education Development Project
PEP Primary Education Project
PTTC Primary Teacher Training Centre
RC Resource Centre
RED Regional Educational Directorate
RP Resource Person
SDC Swiss Development Co-operation
SFDP Small Farmer Development Project
SK Shishu Kakshya
SLC School Leaving Certificate
SMC School Management Committee
SOS Save Our Soul
SPIP School Physical Improvement Programme
SSDP Sub-sector Development Programme
SSNCC Social Service National Co-ordination Committee
TEVT Technical and Vocational Training
TITI Technical Instructor Training Institute
TNA Training Need Assessment
TU Tribhuvan University
UCEP Education for Under-privileged Children
UK United Kingdom
UMN United Mission to Nepal
UNDP United Nations Development Fund
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation
UNFPA United Nations Fund for Population Activities
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
USA United States of America
USAID United States Agency for International Development
VDC Village Development Committee
VEC Village Education Committee
WEP Women's Education Programme
WHO World Health Organisation

Chapter 1



Bound on the east, west and south by India and on the north by China, Nepal is a landlocked country. It has an area of 147,181 square kilometres. The country can be divided into three elongated strips—the low-land or plains known as the Terai along the southern belt, the snow-capped Himalayas that include Mount Everest along the north, and the middle hills between the Terai and the Himalayas. The Terai belt (about 17% of the land) is flat and fertile and has an altitude of between 60 and 300 meters above the sea level. The hill belt (68% of the land) consists of valleys and mountains with altitudes ranging from 600 to about 5,000 meters. The Kathmandu Valley is situated at an altitude of 1,300 meters. The Himalayan belt (15% of the land) consists of high mountains ranging from 5,000 to 8,848 meters. According to the 1991 National Census, Nepal has a total population of about 21,200,000. About 8% of the population live in the mountain region, 47% in the Terai and the remaining 45% in the hill belt. The total population is comprised of people with several different languages, cultures and ethnicities.

Figure 1. Ecological Zones and Districts of Nepal

Nepal is divided into five Development Regions (see Figure 2), 14 Zones and 75 administrative districts. The smallest unit in this set-up is known as a ward. A collection of nine such wards in a rural area constitutes a Village Development Committee (VDC). Municipalities are the local administration in the urban centres, consisting of many more wards and having a larger population size. The country has 3,985 VDCs, 54 municipalities, 3 sub-metropolises and 1 metropolis. Kathmandu is the only metropolitan city.

Nepal is predominantly an agricultural country. According to the 1991 census, the economy of 82.6% of its population directly depends upon agriculture. The remaining people are in other economic occupations, mainly related to the production and service sectors.

Figure 2. Development Regions of Nepal

For many centuries, until the 1950s, Nepal remained virtually isolated from the outside world. The internal social dynamics also lacked rigorous interaction between various ethnic groups. This internal and external isolation was mainly due to the country’s rugged topography and segregated social system. Consequently, there are more than 36 language groups, some of which are predominant in terms of the number of the people speaking the 'national language', Nepali, as well as in terms of the status of overall language development, including literature. Similarly, there are more than 63 social groups based on ethnicity, caste and language differences. Because of this situation, Nepal should be considered as a mosaic of different social and ethnic groups where the term "minority" should be understood not as small demographic sections but as the social sections at the periphery, competing for a fair share of the political and social power at the centre. This situation also explains the lagging-behind of Nepal in terms of overall development.

1.1.1 Socio-economic Context

Nepal underwent several major political changes through several political movements from the late 1940s. The last political change took place in the 1990s, in which multi-party democracy with a constitutional monarchy was established. Major social and economic developments in Nepal, including education, could be related to these political changes. In Nepal, formal school education has been in the process of development only since 1950. In the early 1950s, the total literacy rate in Nepal was about 2%.

Since development of education, in terms of expansion of schooling access, has taken place both in terms of concepts and processes, there has been a consistent increase in the magnitude of educational facilities and student size over the last two decades
(see Table 1).

Table 1. Expansion of Schooling








Total No. of Schools










Lower Secondary










Total Students










Lower Secondary










Total Teachers










Lower Secondary










Source: MOE

Although the development is significant, the situation where Nepal stands now in terms of educational status is still far from the world status. About 50% of the 6+ year age group population is still illiterate, and about 30% of primary age children are still not enrolled to school. A significant proportion of the children who are enrolled in primary school repeats Grade 1 or drop out of school. Many of these problems pertain to the social and economic situation of the country.

The following table presents a list of some of the important development indicators of Nepal and their development trends in the past two decades. The figures indicate that Nepal is still one of the poorest countries in terms of the indicators and that the development rates are not impressive.

Table 2. Population and Other Indicators






1991 (Census)


Total population1  




Female population  




Life expectancy at birth2 (in years)  




Literacy (%)  




Hospital beds (1994/95)





Doctors 4  




% change in GDP (from-to)  

2.5 (70-80)


3.60 (95-96)

Per capita GDP (US$)5  

169 (1985)



Per capita GNP (US$)5  

172 (1985)



Consumer price index 1995/96 (base year 1983/84=100)4    



Sources: 1 Statistical Year Book, CBS 1991/97; 2 World Development Report 1982 and 1997; 3 Recent estimate of Ministry of Education; 4 Nepal in Figures 1997; 5 Economic Survey 1996/97 and 1990/91

As can be seen from the table, the current GDP per capita is around US$ 220. In the current situation, about 40% of the people live in absolute poverty. There is a need to wait for a long time to get respite from the poor economic situation, because the economic growth rate is not so high (the current GDP growth rate is about 2.3%). As well, there are the problems of demographic pressure (the population growth rate is about 2.2% per year), and disparities arising out of social and gender inequality.


The Jomtien Conference adopted the "The World Declaration on Education for All" and "The Framework of Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs". The conference called on all countries to prepare national plan of action to implement the World Declaration on Education for All, taking into account their needs, potentialities and constraints.

In October 1991, a regional planning workshop was held in Jomtien to prepare workplans for EFA. Following this workshop, Nepal prepared a National Plan of Action (NPA) in order to achieve the EFA goals. This NPA preparation exercise included a review of the status of universal primary education and literacy, policies to promote basic and primary education, and attainment of education for all during 1992-2000.

Nepal has fully endorsed the Jomtien Declaration (1990) "Education for All" and has made commitments towards achieving its goals. Accordingly, it has taken several measures to achieve EFA.

The following is a list of major activities leading towards EFA.

Table 3. Nepal Education for All Assessment 2000



5-9 March 1990 A signatory of the Jomtien Declaration on Education for All (1990)
31 July 1991 Preparation of the Basic and Primary Education Master Plan (1991-2001)
18 May 1992 Formation of the National Education Commission by the newly-elected democratic government (1992)
15 July 1992 Implementation of the Eighth Five Year Development Plan (1992-1997)
15 July 1992 Design and implementation of the Basic and Primary Education Project (1992-1998)
January 1994 Implementation of new primary education curriculum and revised textbooks and teachers guides (1992-1996)
18 May 1992 Design and implementation of the Primary Education Development Project (1993-1999)
22 July 1995 Adoption of the National Special Education Policy (1995)
1995 Mid-term review of EFA targets
14 May 1996 Adoption of the Resource Centre (RC) structure and provision of School Management Committees as a tier of educational management (1996)
4 December 1992 Placement of at least one female teacher in each primary school (1996)
15 May 1997 Preparation of the Basic and Primary Education Master Plan (1997-2002)
15 July 1997 Implementation of the Ninth Five Year Development Plan (1997-2002)

Preparation of the Sector Development Plan

26 October 1998 Formation of the National Education for All Assessment Group
22 November 1998 Formation of the Technical Committee for Nepal EFA Assessment
February 1999 Basic and Primary Education Programme: Programme Implementation Plan (1999-2004)
23 May 1999 Creation of the Department of Education
28 September 1999 Preparation of annual strategic implementation plan (1999-2000)

Soon, the EFA campaign is going to complete one decade, which also marks entry into the 21st century, and into a new millennium. This EFA 2000 Assessment is part of a global endeavour to evaluate the changes brought about by the campaign in the past decade, in order to understand the current situation and seek new directions for the future.


The major objectives of the EFA 2000 Assessment are:

The result of the EFA Assessment will be useful for policy-makers, planners and managers both within and outside the government. It would also provide an opportunity to re-focus attention on basic education and reinvigorate efforts to meet the basic learning needs of children.


1.4.1 International Consultative Forum

The International Consultative Forum on Education for All (the EFA Forum) has been created for global co-ordination of the EFA 2000 Assessment. The Forum has provided general guidelines for the assessment to ensure some similarity and comprehensiveness among country EFA reports. The assessment process is important in itself, offering an opportunity for broad consultation among many partners in view of planning the further development of basic education. A set of technical guidelines has also been prepared, explaining in detail what factors need to be examined and how progress may be measured.

1.4.2 National Education for All Assessment Group

In response to the call for participation in the Education for All Assessment, His Majesty's Government of Nepal formed a National Education for All Assessment Group, under the chairmanship of Honourable Member, National Planning Commission on 26 October 1998. The group comprised 43 members representing parliamentarians, and Secretaries of the Ministries of Education, Women and Social Welfare, Local Development, Labour, Agriculture, Health, and Information and Communications. The group also included journalists, heads of different divisions of the Education Ministry, educational NGOs, school teachers, university teachers and researchers. The National Education for All Evaluation Group held its first round table meeting on 22 November 1998.

1.4.3 Technical Committee

Following the recommendations of the round-table meeting, a technical committee of 17 people was formed.

In line with the EFA Assessment guidelines and reference documents provided by the international forum for EFA, the Technical Committee prepared a reference work guideline. This guideline covered the following aspects of EFA study, which were to:

  1. review the main theme and targets of the Jomtien Conference on EFA and the policies, plan and programme of EFA submitted by Nepal to achieve the goals of the Jomtien Conference;
  2. assess the progress towards EFA by 1998 and the likely achievement in the year 2000;
  3. collect and analyse data on 18 EFA indicators;
  4. suggest areas for thematic study and case studies to supplement the indicators;
  5. co-ordinate the EFA Assessment-related activities of the government and other agencies to collect pertinent data and also to help to interpret them;
  6. prepare a draft national EFA Assessment report and submit to the concerned bodies for comment and suggestions; and
  7. prepare a plan and programmes for the National Conference and Sub-regional Conference on EFA

Technical Committee meetings were held routinely to discuss the working strategy and progress made. The Technical Committee adopted the strategy of forming four sub-committee task groups for undertaking assessment.

1.4.4 Technical Sub-committee Task Groups

  1. Early Childhood Education
  2. Primary Education
  3. Literacy
  4. Skills Education and Education Media

The task groups prepared preliminary reports covering the following key specific areas of EFA:

1.4.5 Report Finalisation

The task-group reports were synthesised to produce the first draft of the national EFA Assessment report. This synthesis report was presented in the Delhi sub-regional workshop. Based on the comments on the report from the sub-regional seminar, the report was put in the process of revision. A Report Finalisation Committee was formed under the chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Education. The revision work included finalisation of the presentation of the data on EFA Assessment indicators, revision of the report according to the general guidelines provided by the international consultative forum, and incorporation of the comments and suggestions from the sub-regional seminar.

A follow-up sub-regional workshop was held in Godavari, Kathmandu in October 1999 for finalisation of the assessment reports. A final draft was prepared, incorporating all the comments and the suggestions from the workshop and has been presented in the round-table meeting held in December. A similar round-table meeting was held a week later to discuss the future directions listed in this report. This report has been prepared incorporating the comments and suggestions from the round-table meeting.

Chapter 2



In 1992, the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO prepared a comprehensive National Plan of Action (NPA) on Education for All (EFA) for 1992–2000, which was prepared in the spirit of the workplans prepared in the first Regional Planning Workshop in Jomtien (October 1991). It attempted to estimate the magnitude of the educational development that was required for achieving EFA goals by 2000. However, the Eighth Plan (1992-1997) developed a more practicable set of targets based on the resource capabilities and on the experiences of the last National Development Plan and its programmes. The NPA targets were later revised and incorporated into the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) based on the experiences and the outcomes of the Eighth Plan. The following table lists the major goals and targets set by the NPA, the Eighth Plan and the Ninth Plan.

Table 4. National EFA targets


NPA (1992-2000)

Eighth Plan (1992-1997)

Ninth Plan (1997-2002)

ECD 34,814 Pre-primary Education Centres


Encouragement for the establishment and expansion of pre-primary classes 10,000 community-based ECD centres


Primary Education GER: 107.2

NER: 100.0

GER: 121.0

NER: 90.0


NER: 90.0

Cycle completion rate 50.0% Raising internal efficiency of school education 70.0%
Reduction of illiteracy of the 6+ year population to: 33.0%






Skills training Integration of skills training in the regular school curriculum. Expanding the number of vocational training centres

Need-based vocational training (focused on agriculture, health, cottage industry, environmental protection and population education)

Market-oriented skills training

Mobilisation of the private sector

Development of polytechnic institutions

Education media   Mobilisation of media for awareness-raising, teacher training, social education Mobilisation of media for awareness raising, teacher training, social education

The details of the evolution of the goals and targets and programmes in relation to each of these targets are described in the following section.


The NPA has listed the programme targets signifying achievement of 100% enrollment of the children 5 years of age by the end of 2000. Accordingly, it estimated the required number of the ECD centres to be 34,814. During the Eighth Plan period, the Basic and Primary Education Project (BPEP) aimed to develop an ECD programme in order to enhance the internal efficiency of Grade 1 and also to improve the classroom environment. Based on the experiences of setting up 1,038 ECD centres in the first phase of BPEP, the Ninth Plan targeted the establishment of 10,000 Community-based Child Development Centres. Of these, 7,000 centres are to be established under the BPE programme of the Department of Education, and the remaining 3,000 centres are to be set up by NGOs and others.

Table 5. ECD Targets of the NPA, the Eighth Plan and the Ninth Plan

NPA (1992-2000)

Eighth Plan (1992-1997)

Ninth Plan (1997-2002)

34,814 ECD Centres Encouragement for establishment and expansion of ECD by government committees and the private sector 10,000 Community-based ECD Centres

Community participation in the development of ECD has been the strategy of the government since the Seventh Plan (1987-1992). Accordingly, provision was made for opening up pre-primary schools by communities, NGOs, groups or individuals. This provision was made primarily to address the problems of the high repetition rate in Grade 1, which was particularly due to the enrollment of under-age children in Grade1. Many schools needed to open different sections, particularly for low achievers, which consisted mainly of under-age children coming to the primary schools with their elder siblings.

The Education Regulations of 1992 also continued the provision for opening up pre-primary schools by communities, NGOs, groups or individuals. It was anticipated that with these provisions there would be progressive development in early child-care services both in terms of quantity as well as quality, with full utilisation of the potentialities of the government, communities, NGOs, as well as private entrepreneurs.

Community participation in the development of ECD has also been the strategy of the Ninth Plan. The high-level National Commission Report also emphasises the role of community in the development of ECD. Through this strategy of community-based ECD the government aims to build up partnership with the communities in management as well as in cost-sharing. Under the provisions of BPEP II, in order for a community to run a Shishu Kakshya (SK, child-care centre), it should first of all form a management committee to work out the details of running an ECD centre, then formally apply to the District Education Office for permission to run the centre. The community must provide a rooms and other physical facilities necessary for running the SK. The community should also make provision for the salary of the SK teacher. BPEP responsibility is limited to providing training to the SK facilitators, making some of the teaching/learning support materials and facilitator guidebooks available.

In the early 1990s, pre-primary classes were established to enhance the quality of primary education by preparing the pre-school age children for the primary Grade1. This was also an important strategy to reduce the high repetition and drop-out rates at primary level. The Ninth Plan aims to make early childhood centres different from the primary school, to make them community-based centres for the overall development of a child within a playful and enjoyable environment. The high-level National Commission for Education (1997) has also emphasised the need for developing caring and child-friendly ECD centres in the community.

In order to ensure that ECD centres provide a joyful and caring environment for children, in line with the concept of overall development needs of a child, BPEP II aims to develop suitable ECD curricula and children's learning materials, and most importantly provide training for the facilitators.

Although various targets are set by the NPA, the Eighth Plan and the Ninth Plan, as discussed above, the targets do not provide EFA Assessment indicator-based information. Necessary steps are being undertaken to expand the government information system to include several ECD indicators, including those listed by EFA Assessment.


Universal access to and completion of primary education are the most important aspects of the EFA campaign in Nepal. From the early 1990s, Nepal has already put its utmost efforts into improving both access to and quality of primary education.

The following table presents a list of major targets set by the National Plan of Action and national development plans:

Table 6. Enrollment Targets of the NPA, the Eighth Plan and the Ninth Plan



Eighth Plan targets


Ninth Plan Targets


  • NER: 100
  • GER: 107.2
  • NER: 90
  • GER: 121
  • NER: 90

In order to achieve the above-mentioned targets and goals, HMG has been implementing various programmes and activities under the Ninth Plan and BPEP II. The specific programmes and interventions will be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.

2.3.1 Programmes, Goals and Targets

The Eighth Plan (1992-1997) made it the target to reach the net enrollment of 6-10 year children to 90%. Likewise, the numbers of new primary schools and additional teachers were expected to reach 2,025 and 8,000 respectively. The addition of the schools and teachers has already exceeded the target as the number of new schools has reached 3,524 and the additional teachers 14,883. The enrollment target, however, still remains far from achievement.

The nutrition programme has been in operation in 12 districts of the country since the Eighth Plan. The objective of the programme is to increase student enrollment in primary schools, to maintain regular attendance of students, and to reduce drop-out. Day-meals for students are being provided in schools in order to increase students' attendance and pass percentage, and to improve their nutrition and health. This programme will be extended to four other food-deficit and low primary school enrollment districts during the Ninth Plan period. It has been targeted to provide food to 250,000 students towards the end of the plan period. There will also be health materials on the control of parasitic worms, and on health and nutrition in primary schools. The communities will be involved in the delivery of the services.

Under the Ninth Plan (1997-2002) the government has envisaged compulsory primary education (CPE) as a strategy to achieve universal access and full retention of primary school students till they complete the primary education cycle. It includes creating conditions in schools and local communities for universal primary schooling. The current strategies of CPE are to mobilise local bodies and communities to achieve universal primary education and, through the provisions of incentives, to motivate and attract children to school. So far, there has been no legislation regarding CPE. However, the current education regulations have provisions for the implementation of CPE by VDCs and Municipalities in their areas.

CPE activities were piloted in two districts, namely Chitwan and Ilam, and have been extended to three additional districts—Syangja, Surkhet and Kanchanpur—covering all five Development Regions. The districts are selected considering their educational advancement, developed educational infrastructure and potential for local involvement, which are considered to be the essential conditions for achieving universal enrollment and attendance. While launching this, many of the existing programmes, services and resources will be fully integrated and utilised as a CPE package.

In the Ninth Plan period, 19,000 classrooms will be built and 10,000 schools will be reconstructed in the context of extending physical facilities in schools. Likewise, 1,000 new Resource Centres will be established and 500 Resource Centre buildings will be constructed. There will be additional 3,000 primary schools with 15,000 teachers. All the municipalities and 10% of all VDCs will be given the responsibility to conduct and manage primary schools in their areas.

BPEP II has been developed as a major programme for the achievement of the Ninth Plan objectives regarding basic and primary education. Increasing access to and retention in primary schools is one of the major focus areas of BPEP II. Besides attaining a net enrollment rate (NER) of 90 (85 for girls), the target for the gross enrollment rate (GER), also set under the BPEP, is 106 (100 for girls). BPEP II has also set a target for the Cycle Completion Rate of primary education of 75% and a GER of disadvantaged groups, including dalit(disadvantaged caste group), of 100.

The following policies and strategies to achieve the goals and targets set in by the BPEP II to increase children's access to primary education are outlined below:

  1. The current free primary education programme will be gradually made compulsory throughout the Kingdom, based on the experience of the areas where it has already been made compulsory.
  2. School infrastructure, including physical facilities, educational provisions and human resources, will be strengthened with the active participation and involvement of communities.
  3. Special education programmes will be strengthened and operated to provide disabled persons with educational opportunities from the literacy level to the higher education level. Non-governmental organisations and communities will be encouraged to participate in the development of special education.
  4. Scholarship programmes for women, children of disadvantaged ethnic groups and dalit communities will be effectively implemented.
  5. A clear policy will be formulated and implemented to save the costs of education at different levels by different components without affecting the participation in education.

BPEP II will be extended nationally to cover the 40 BPEP I districts and the remaining 35 districts.

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