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Because of the school system and the institutionalised programmes to promote school education, young people have more access to school education and therefore have a better chance for becoming literate. Lack of institutional development is another constraint that has been hindering the expected steady growth in adult literacy. The high literacy rate among the younger age group is attributed to the rapid expansion of primary education in the past four decades.

Although there has been significant development in the literacy percentage and the gender parity during the EFA period, the goals and targets are still far from being attained. Several problems are encountered in the planning and implementation of literacy programmes. These are mainly related to the lack of resources, both human, financial and material. The other major problem is connected with the difficult socio-economic situation in which adults as well as children find it difficult to join literacy activities and derive the benefits of literacy for improving their style of living. Because of this situation there has been a growing concern regarding the need to combine literacy with socio-economic development programmes. Many NGOs, INGOs and CBOs are working in this line in tandem with the government. The mode of conducting such programmes is through non-formal education.

3.4.1 Literacy Programmes in Operation

A. Adult Literacy Programme

Goal:Basic literacy and numeracy

Functional Content:Heath and sanitation, water usage, environmental protection, afforestation, agriculture, and income generation

Target Group:Illiterate persons between the ages of 15 and 45

Duration :6 months, 2 hours/day, 6 days/week

B. Adult Post-literacy Programme

Goal :Sustain and deepen literacy skills

Functional Content:Income-generating activities, community service, co-operatives, health and family planning

Target Group:Participants who have completed the basic literacy programme and those who have literacy skills equivalent to the basic literacy course (school drop-outs)

Duration :3 months, 2 hours/day, 6 days/week

C. Shikshya Sadan (boys and girls) and Chelibeti (girls)

Goal:Provide literacy equivalent to the education of primary level Grade 3

Functional Content:Preparation for entry into the school system and for post-literacy programmes

Target Group:Out-of-school children of ages 8-14, focus on girls; Chelibeti for girls alone

Duration :9 months, 2 hours/day, 6 days/week

D. Women's Education (BPEP)

Goal:Basic literacy and numeracy skills

Functional Content:Child care, health, agriculture, sewing, weaving, etc.

Target Group:Women between the ages of 18 and 35

Duration:9 months, 2 hours/day, 6 days/week

The country's national target is to eradicate illiteracy by the end of the Twelfth Plan. In the Ninth Plan period, the target is to achieve 70% literacy among the 6+ year population group. This will require providing effective literacy to 3,216,000 illiterate adults and 784,000 out-of-school children. This is rather a challenging task. In order to fulfil this target, national literacy campaigns have been organised.

Mass Literacy Campaigns

The Ninth Plan of Nepal has emphasised literacy campaigns as one of the major strategies for the eradication of illiteracy. This strategy has been adopted based on national experiences as well as on similar international efforts.

In 1992, Mass Literacy Campaigns were launched in Vyas VDC of Tanahun District with the assistance of the government and some INGOs (World Education and PACT). Similarly, Banepa Municipality of Kabhre District launched the campaign with the assistance of the government, UNESCO and a local NGO (CEFA). Banepa Municipality is reported to have achieved a 94% literacy rate among its 6+ age population.

In 1997, the National Council of Non-Formal Education of the Ministry of Education decided to launch mass literacy campaigns in five districts (one each in the five Development Regions) of Nepal.

1. Taplejung in the Eastern Region

2. Parsa in the Central Region

3. Lamjung in the Western Region

4. Dang in the Mid-Western Region

5. Achham in the Far Western Region

The National Council for Non-Formal Education intends to expand the campaign, gradually extending to other districts.

3.4.2 Efforts to Develop the Role of Non-formal Education towards EFA Goals

In view of the problems and potentialities of development of NFE and its contribution towards the achievement of EFA goals, the government conducted a national workshop entitled "Education for All: The Role of Non-Formal Education". The workshop was jointly organised by National Council for NFE and the UNESCO National Commission in collaboration with UNESCO/PROAP. Following are some of the important recommendations of the workshop:

  1. Non-formal education should be considered as part and parcel of the national education system and priority should be given to the NFE Programme.
  2. A system for the collection and up-keeping of statistics on literacy should be developed.
  3. Various levels of literacy should be defined in terms of their equivalents with formal education.
  4. The challenging task of the eradication of illiteracy cannot be fulfilled by a simple programme approach alone. Therefore, literacy campaigns with firm national policy and commitment should be continued.

The Literacy Programme has been divided into three levels:

I. Basic Level

II. Middle Level

III. Self-learning Level

The time allotment was 300 hours for the Basic Level, 150 hours for the Middle Level and 150 hours for the Self-learning Level.

The National Council of Non-Formal Education, Ministry of Education, developed and published a National Non-Formal Education Curriculum in 1997. According to the National NFE Curriculum there are seven functional content areas:

a. Environment and sanitation

b. Family life

c. Income generation/agriculture

d. Civic consciousness

e. Women's development

f. Culture and customs

g. Health and nutrition

The curriculum has been prescribed for the entire country.

3.4.3 Role of NGOs in EFA through the Promotion of Literacy Programmes

NGO contribution to expanding non-formal education in Nepal, especially in rural areas, has been recorded as very significant. According to the report "Impact study of Adult Education in Nepal" carried out by CERID in 1996, about 500, mainly NGOs, are carrying out literacy promotion activities in Nepal. International NGOs, such as PACT and World Education Inc., are also implementing literacy programmes, with the financial assistance from USAID. Similarly, the United Mission to Nepal and the Save the Children Alliance can be found at the INGO level engaging in promoting literacy programmes in Nepal.

Partnerships with NGOs

In view of this important contribution towards EFA and also in view of the continued interest and commitment of NGOs in playing an important role in the achievement of EFA in the country, an NGO Round Table Meeting on EFA Assessment 2000 was held jointly by APSE and the National Research Centre for Non-Formal Education (NRC-NFE) in Kathmandu on 23 May 1999 to review the current situation of NFE activities regarding OSP and adult literacy education as well as to explore the roles of NGOs towards achieving the national EFA goals.


One of the main purposes of education for youths is to prepare the youths for productive employment. The Jomtien Declaration has also included skills training of youths as one of the dimensions of the Basic Learning Needs.

The targets in the NPA as well as National Development Plans have listed the total target in the form of programme developments. The Eighth Plan and the Ninth Plan have, however, listed the targets of the training courses to be provided by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT).

3.5.1 Progress towards Development of Skills Training and Vocational Education

Nepal has taken several steps towards achieving the goals of EFA to expand basic education and life skills for youths and adults. The first step in this direction is to incorporate life skills into the school curriculum in various forms, catering to lower secondary and secondary school students (a total population of 1,172,801). Vocational education has been incorporated into school education as an optional subject at the secondary school level, aimed at the total secondary school student population of 344,034.

In order to develop specific job-related skills training and education, the following steps have been undertaken by the government:


Major Steps

  • Formulation of the CTEVT Act:

TEVT network to cover all segments of the population with a focus on underprivileged sections

Linking TEVT with industrial development

Provision of skills training addressing the labour market and providing certification

National instructors licensing system

Enhancing private sector in skills training and developing co-operation

Co-ordination and development of information system

  • Establishment of CTEVT for the purpose of regulating and updating the standard of technical education and vocational training
  • Formulation of TEVT policies for both the public and private sectors
  • Planned Programmes and activities for five years by CTEVT
  • Formation of the Council for the Development of Employment
  • Formation of the Committee for Employment Development

Source: CTEVT profile 1998

Review of the Eighth Plan (1992-1997) indicates that CTEVT has undertaken more short-term programmes than targeted, whereas some long-term training programmes were unattained, as the following table shows:

Table 1. Targets and Progress of Training Courses Conducted by CTEVT




1. Regular Training



2. Short-term Training



In the Ninth Plan, CTEVT aims to conduct 5,000 basic and middle-level technical manpower trainings. Different technical and vocational training centres under CTEVT will provide short-term training to 20,000 people. After the development of the CTEVT Act, 160 training institutions have come up in the private sector. Although detailed data regarding the number of training courses from these institutions are not available, it is estimated that private institutions are running programmes worth NRs. 324 million.

CTEVT constitutes a section of the total training providers. The report of the Employment Development Committee presented an estimate of 100,219 training courses covering all aspects of skill requirements in the VDCs and municipalities. The following table lists the major training providers, training provided and expenditure regarding skills-training activities:

Table 2. Technical and Vocational Education Providers in Nepal



Trainees Short-term



(1 year or more)


(NRs. in millions)





  Ministry of Labour




  Ministry of Tourism




  Ministry of Industries  



  Dept. of Cottage and Small Industry  



  Ministry of Health  



  Ministry of Local Development  



  Ministry of Women and Social Welfare  



  Ministry of Agriculture  



  Ministry of Land reform  






840 million

Source: CTEVT profile, Women Development Programme Progress Report, 1996/97, Cottage Industry Digest, Shram bazar suchana, Department of Labour, Employment Promotion Centre Report.

Annually, the government has been spending about NRs. 700,000,000 in skills training and vocational education. Besides the national programmes, several international agencies are also providing assistance in the form of helping the national programmes, as well as in running special training facilities. Table 3 lists the various international agencies involved in technical training assistance.

Table 3. International Agencies Supporting Technical Training in Nepal



  Overseas Development Association (ODA)
  United Mission to Nepal (UMN)
  Asian Development Bank (ADB)
  Swiss Development Co-operation (SDC)
  ADB ( micro-credit project)
  IFAD (credit)
  UNFPA (reproductive health)
  World Bank
  FAO (agriculture production)
  ADB (community development and training)
  GTZ (appropriate technology)
  UNIFEM (database)

Source: CTEVT records, SDC official records, and Women Development Progress Report

The trend in the labour market indicates that there will be a growing demand for skilled labourers and a decline in the demand for unskilled labourers. Moreover, if Nepal is to attract foreign investment, it should have trained manpower and potentially trainable people in high technology industries. In this direction, besides mobilising the existing training institutions, new agencies are also being developed.


In order to promote Distance and Media Education in Nepal, Radio Nepal and Nepal Television are playing a major role. Private radio stations and TV channels, which are recently established, and other media companies have also become active in providing media education.

Gorkhapatra Sansthan, the government-owned press, has a great role in media education. Similarly, other presses are also aware of their social obligations. Radio dramas and street dramas performed by the Ministry of Health and the NGO Sarvanam are found very effective.

Some of the education programmes broadcast by Radio Nepal are as follows:

Table 4. Radio Nepal Programmes on Education





  Bhanyang Choutari Interactive Radio Instruction for early childhood development Twice a week
  Hatemalo Children's programme Sunday, Wednesday
  Bal Aawaj Children's programme Once a week
  Bal Karyakram Children's programme One a week
  Agricultural Programme Farmers' programme Twice a week
  Environmental Programme   6 days a week
  Women's Programme   Twice a week
  Health Programme   Twice a week
  Teacher's Training   6 days a week
  Population programme   Once a week
  Tourism Programme   Once a week

Source: Talim Nirdeshika, Distance Education Centre, Radio Nepal Broadcasting, NTV Broadcasting

The Distance Education Radio Programme entitled ''Service Brings Reward" was introduced with the aim of promoting and crystallising the know-how and the skills acquired by the grassroots-level health workers in connection with reproductive health and contraceptive measures. The programme was introduced in Dang District on a trial basis at the end of December 1995 and terminated in the first week of June 1996.

Test results show that the participants increased their knowledge, positive attitudes and skills as a result of the programme, They found the programme helpful in enhancing their knowledge in that area. They gained new information and skills in the areas of ensuring a well-planned family size, contraceptive methods and counselling. Preliminary analysis of the impact evaluation shows some promising results.

The preliminary result of Nepal RCP Impact Monitoring Study 1995-96 shows that because of Distance Education Course, the quality of client-provider interaction increased. Further analysis shows even better results when combined with four days' on-the-spot Interpersonal Communication and Counselling (IPC/C) training.

Table 5. Education Media broadcast by Nepal Television


Programme Description



1. Krishi Karyakram (programme for farmers) 20 minutes Every day
2. Children's Programme 20 minutes Every day
3. Jagriti (current various issues)   One a week
4. Natural Calls   One a week
5. Aayam (informative)   One a week
6. Devi (educational service)   One a week

Source: Nepal Television

Nepal Television has been broadcasting the Meena cartoon series. This series includes information on cultural rights, participation, protection against violence and exploitation, minimum age, access to information, child-care facilities and social security. The Meena cartoons also provide messages on discrimination, making the interest of the child paramount, community and family responsibility, nationality, standard of living and health care concerns.

In relation to health issues, the Ministry of Health reaches the people through different kinds of advertisements. Recently, the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Health jointly banned smoking and alcohol-related advertisements from electronic media and replaced them with the advertisements of health related programmes.

The Distance Education Centre (DEC), under the Ministry of Education, is running several programmes for the dissemination of basic knowledge and important information related to day-to-day life, as well as important subjects of education such as English, mathematics, science, environment, health, music and drawing. DEC has also started to run modules 2 and 3 of its 10-month (2.5 months x 4) training programme in collaboration with NCED.

Chapter 4



In line with its commitment to achieve education for all. His Majesty's Government of Nepal initiated special efforts and implemented large-scale projects to expand, consolidate and improve the functioning and the quality of the basic and primary education. Special efforts initiated in this direction include:

4.1.1 Preparation of the Basic and Primary Education Master Plan (1991-2001)

In 1991, His Majesty's Government commissioned a team of national educationists to prepare a primary education master plan with the aim of achieving universal primary education by the year 2000. The team prepared a detailed 10-year plan covering all major components of basic and primary education.

4.1.2 The National Education Commission (1992)

The newly-elected democratic government in 1992 constituted a National Education Commission to frame education policies in line with the national aspirations. The 1992, the National Education Commission reconfirmed the commitment of His Majesty's Government to achieve universal primary education and to improve the quality of education in line with the Jomtien Declaration of Education for All (1990) and the summit goals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990). The 1992 Commission endorsed most of the policy and programmatic recommendations contained in the Basic and Primary Education Master Plan. The new democratic government gave top priority to primary and basic education as a means of promoting basic human rights and as a strategy for poverty alleviation. Among other priorities, the 1992 Commission emphasised the urgent need to address the educational needs of different linguistic groups and ethnic minorities, and to bring about the long overdue quality improvement of the education system.

4.1.3 The Basic and Primary Education Project (1992-1998)

The Basic and Primary Education Project (BPEP) was designed to identify efficient management structures, to expand and enhance access and learning conditions, and to improve the quality of primary and basic education. BPEP was implemented in a phased manner, covering 19 districts in the year 1992/93, adding six districts in 1993/94, and extending to another 15 districts in 1994/95 (thus totalling 40 of the 75 districts in the country). It was executed with the financial assistance of DANIDA (US$ 16.28 million), UNICEF (US$ 4.64 million), JICA (US$ 15.73 million) and IDA (loan of US$ 30.60 million). The external assistance amounted to 26% of the total BPEP expenditure and the remaining 74% (NRs. 10,976 million) was borne by His Majesty's Government.

BPEP adopted a management structure which led to the efficient delivery of project inputs on one hand, and which facilitated the development of programmes and materials on the other.

BPEP has made a significant contribution in programme development of different components, including:

BPEP implemented several activities in order to improve the quality of primary education in the project districts. A summary of the activities is presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Achievement Status of BPEP Activities in Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement Achievement
Implementation of primary education curriculum (Grades 1 to 5) Nation-wide
Distribution of textbooks and teachers guides (Grades 1 to 5) Nation-wide
Distribution of supplementary materials (districts)


Teacher training (teachers)  
  • 2.5 months


  • Grade Teaching


  • Multi-Grade Teaching


  • Extra-curricular


  • Whole School Approach


Resource Centre (RC)  
  • Resource Centres


  • Resource Persons on duty


  • Basic RP management training


  • Advanced RP management training


Source: BPEP, Monitoring Reports 1994-1998.

BPEP adopted a strategy mix of constructing additional classrooms, promoting non-formal programmes, and gradual introduction of compulsory primary education. The achievements made toward promoting equitable access to the basic and primary education are summarised in Table 2.

Table 2. Promoting Equitable Access: Achievement for 1992-1998.

Improvement Physical Facilities  
  • New classroom construction


  • Classroom rehabilitation


  • Furniture for classrooms


  • RC building construction and furnishing


  • DEO buildings


  • Distribution of manuals for school building maintenance (sets)


  • Maintenance training


  • Maintenance tools (sets)


Non-Formal Education Programme  
  • Out-of-School Programme I


  • Out-of-School Programme II


  • Out-of-School Programme III


  • Women's Education Programme I


  • Women's Education Programme II


  • Women's Education Programme III


  • Adult Education Programme I


  • Adult Education Programme II


  • New Literacy Programme I


  • Chelibeti Programme


Women Education Programme  
  • Recruitment of female teachers


  • Training for female teachers


Special Education Programme  
  • District Disability Survey


  • Scholarships for disabled children


Early Childhood Development (ECD)  
  • Training of ECD teachers


  • Establishment of ECD classes


Compulsory Primary Education (CPE)  
  • CPE initiated in districts


BPEP also institutionalised several measures to strengthen the management of basic and primary education at different levels.

Table 3. Strengthening Management, Achievements for 1992-1998

Management Strengthening Activities

  • Annual work-plan preparation workshops


  • Programme management workshop for DEOs/PCs


  • Orientation on monitoring package for DEOs, PCs, RPs, Overseers and NFE facilitators



  • Distribution of district, RC and school registers (copies)


  • Initiation of long-term degree-oriented programme for senior MOE officials


Source: RME Unit, BPEP, Kathmandu, 1999

On the basis of the positive experiences from BPEP implementation, HMG has made the following policy decisions:

4.1.4 The Primary Education Development Project

The Primary Education Development Project (PEDP) was implemented in 1993 as a complement to BPEP with focus on the development and consolidation of the teacher training system. PEDP was financed with an ADB loan of US$ 20 million. The most significant contribution of PEDP was establishment of a network of nine primary teacher-training centres. Specific details of PEDP's contribution toward improving the quality of the basic and primary education are outlined below.


The 1990s have remained a decade of development and consolidation efforts in the primary and basic education area of Nepal. Experiences gained and lessons learned from these efforts point to some promising strategies that could make a difference in optimising the quality and efficiency of the primary and basic education system. Some of the promising strategies are:

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