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Chapter 5

Future Directions

5.1 CONTEXT

With the restoration of the democratic multi-party system in 1990, His Majesty's Government of Nepal has accorded top priority to primary and basic education as a main means of eradicating illiteracy, promoting human rights, eradicating poverty and promoting good local governance. In this line, the government has committed itself to achieving the goal of basic and primary education for all. Accordingly, the country set the target of achieving a 100% literacy rate for the 6+ age population by the end of the Twelfth National Development Plan (by 2012). The Ministry of Education has also taken steps to implement the compulsory primary education policy. The government is also considering necessary steps to make basic and primary education more meaningful by extending this level of education up to Grade 8 instead of the current level of Grade 5.

Nepal has so far accumulated rich experiences in the formulation of relevant policies in the design and development of programmes, and in trying out different implementation arrangements regarding educational development, particularly in the area of basic and primary education. Nepal continues to refine its basic and primary education policies and programmes based on the feedback and results obtained from field implementation. The focus of all these policies and programmes will be by and large on achieving equitable access to quality education for all, bringing about continuous improvement in the quality of education, and strengthening institutional capacity. The policy of promoting participatory approaches and partnerships with local communities and other related bodies will be continued and accelerated. In this line, the government has already made regulations for governance of the school system at the VDC/Municipality level. In broad terms, the salient features of the future directions identified by Nepal in each of the components of basic and primary education are as described below.

5.2 EQUITABLE ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION

During the last decade (1991-1999), Nepal has made considerable progress in expanding and improving access to basic and primary education. However, the problems of low participation of disadvantaged groups of people, the undiminishing number of under-age children enrolled in schools, the poor physical learning conditions in a large number of schools, and above all, the inability of local communities to oversee and intervene in the quality of education imparted to all children, have persisted. In order to achieve equitable access to quality education by means of addressing these persistent problems, His Majesty's Government intends to give priority to the following components.

5.2.1 Improving Physical Learning Conditions

The government recognises the need to improve the physical atmosphere of learning in schools in order to raise the quality of primary education. It will continue the policy of improving physical facilities as a strategy to improve access and the learning environment. To address the problem of poor enrollment, retention and completion rates of primary children among the disadvantaged communities (including socially-deprived children, linguistic minorities, out-of-school children, children with disabilities, and children from small and remote communities who have limited access to educational opportunities), the government will undertake construction of new physical facilities in such communities.

The allocation of resources for physical facilities improvement will be based on objectively-identified requirements. The civil works programme will be based on micro-planning and a physical facilities survey conducted prior to undertaking the task of rehabilitation/construction. Schools will be consolidated based on school mapping to achieve economy of scale. New school will be constructed, where necessary, after all the dilapidated but repairable or incomplete structures have been rehabilitated. Local communities, under the technical supervision of the programme staff, will undertake the construction work. Continuous efforts will be made to develop cost-effective designs, and communities will be given the opportunity to choose the appropriate design to suit their local conditions and needs.

Teachers, VDC technicians, parents and community members will be provided with school maintenance training to enable them to carry out minor repairs required for taking care of the school buildings. In addition to technical matters, the training would sensitise community members to the importance of the physical learning environment and sanitation at schools.

5.2.2 Creating Alternative Arrangements for Promoting Basic and Primary Education

The government is committed to ensuring schooling opportunities for all children whose educational needs are not fulfilled by formal primary schools. To this end, alternative schooling arrangements are made by adopting: (a) school outreach programmes, (b) flexible schooling programmes, and (c) out-of-school programmes (OSP) as the means of reaching hard-to-reach groups.

Under the school outreach programme temporary classes will be conducted, offering regular Grade 1 to 3 primary education curricula in pockets where children do not have easy access to regular schools. Students who pass Grade 3 will be transferred to regular schools.

Special Teacher Training for Outreach Programmes

For these satellite schools, local teachers will receive intensive training before they start teaching. The training will include a strong focus on the methods of delivery, and the teachers will be provided with well-structured teaching guides and materials. The teachers will also be made familiar with the techniques of multi-grade teaching. Since this programme is part of the formal system, regular primary school teachers, or persons who have the required qualifications, will be employed in these schools. The teachers for the outreach programme will have training similar to regular primary school teachers.

In addition, outreach teachers will need training in multi-grade teaching methods. Incentives from "incentive programmes" for the Grade 3 pass children of the outreach programme to continue schooling in regular schools need to be provided. Since the satellite schools are part of the regular schools, methods for the parent schools to supervise and guide the teachers in satellite schools have to be developed and tested through experience. A continuous student assessment system similar to that in regular schools is also required to measure the quality of education and learning achievements.

Village Education Committees (VECs) will be involved in monitoring children's attendance in school and the services provided to ensure that children learn in the classrooms. Head teachers from the parent schools will be made responsible for the successful implementation of the outreach programme and for providing guidance to the teachers.

Flexible School Provisions and OSP

A model for flexible school hours for working children is required to address the opportunity costs of children's, especially girls’, household and farm work so as to enable them to combine schooling with domestic chores. Therefore, MOE is planning to provide five regular years of schooling in a three-year condensed curriculum with flexible hours through OSP centres and alternative schools. The intention is not to transfer these students to regular schools but to prepare them directly for primary school final examinations. The programme is mainly intended for urban out-of-school primary school children (age 8-10). Since flexible schooling is very essential for children from rural areas where the majority of children work to help their parents, it should also be provided in rural areas. The age group (8-10) should be interpreted as enrollment age allowing pupils to complete at a higher age. The programme would be flexible also in the way that pupils may be allowed to aim not only at Grade 5 examinations, but also for the equivalent of Grades 3 or 4.

The overall objective of the alternative schooling programme is to provide guaranteed access to schooling for out-of-school children. The government will mobilise local bodies and NGOs for the alternative schooling programme, to establish and run OSP and Non-formal classes. BPEP II will support the establishment of non-formal primary education classes as alternatives to formal schooling for isolated small communities and for out-of-school children.

By the end of BPEP II, MOE will have established 1,150 outreach schools, 1,150 alternative schools and 1,000 OSP centres. Alternative schooling sites would be identified through decentralised planning exercises. An area-based strategy would be adopted, replacing the existing quota-based approach.

Reducing Gender Gaps in Basic and Primary Education

The government feels that concerted efforts must be taken to remove barriers to girls’ education, especially for girls from disadvantaged communities. To this end, special strategies and approaches will be adopted which will include the following: (a) scholarships for secondary school girls; (b) gender audit of curriculum materials; (c) deployment of female teachers in primary schools; and (d) schooling incentive programmes targeting girl children.

To ensure an adequate supply of female secondary school graduates who might consider teaching careers, the feeder hostel programme for secondary school girls will be revived. Girls will be provided with scholarships to enable them to attend secondary schools on the condition that they agree to serve as teachers in the relevant area for a certain period of time after graduation. This programme intends to encourage girls from disadvantaged communities to become teachers in their own communities. By 2004, some 5,000 scholarships will be provided to girls coming from remote districts of Nepal.

Gender bias will be removed from school curricula and materials. Gender-neutral messages and positive role models for girls will invariably find place in the texts. Teacher training will include gender sensitisation so that biased messages are not conveyed to students. Administrators will also be sensitised in gender perspectives. Modules on gender awareness will be included in the recurrent teacher-training programme. The government will take a pro-active role in involving the community, especially mothers, in identifying, designing, implementing and evaluating educational needs to ensure cultural appropriateness and the effectiveness of the interventions.

One important policy decision of the government has been to recruit at least one female teacher in each primary school. The government policy is to increase the percentage of female teachers from the current 20% level to 30% of all teachers. The government will deploy female teachers in schools where girls’ enrollment is low. Priority will be given to female teachers for teacher replacement due to attrition. At least 50% of the new teachers needed to fill vacant positions will be females, and the posting of new teachers and the redeployment of existing teachers will be carried out in such a way that female teachers get posted to schools where there are currently no female teachers.

The government will introduce incentive schemes to encourage girls and disadvantaged children to attend school. These include distribution of free textbooks to all children up to Grade 5, scholarships to girls and dalits, and a school nutrition programme in selected areas. BPEP II will attempt to increase the effectiveness of these programmes and initiate additional activities such as flexible school timings and a contextual calendar, provision of bilingual education through local teachers, provision of book banks in schools, awards to best performing schools in terms of enrollment and retention, and provision of funds for improving the physical environment of schools. The government also proposes to explore affordable alternatives and innovative models to address the barriers of direct costs of uniforms, materials and fees. Programmes will be run for those girls from extremely deprived areas who are in real need.

Meeting Educational Needs of Children with Disabilities through Inclusive Education

Universalisation of primary education cannot be achieved unless children with disabilities are provided with schooling opportunity. BPEP II seeks to promote inclusive education of children with non-severe (mild to moderate) disabilities in primary schools. To achieve this aim, the programme will support primary schools in identifying and assessing such children, train special education teachers and provide appropriate teaching-learning materials designed to ensure effective mainstreaming of these children in primary school.

Resource classes will be established to prepare children with disabilities to enter normal classes, and they will be established in selected regular primary schools. Each resource class will have 10 students with the same type of disability. Each class will be provided with one trained teacher in the respective area of disability and adequate teaching-learning materials. Multiple ways of involving communities in providing financial support and temporary residential care at resource classes for children with moderate disabilities have been proposed. Specialised NGOs will be supported in providing education to children with disabilities who cannot attend inclusive classes.

Teacher training services will be made an integral part of the teacher training system, and flexibility and capacity will be planned according to needs in integrated special education. Co-ordination between government-supported NGOs, running special education classes in private institutions and special education programmes run by the public school system have been developed to ensure consistency of services and co-ordinated development.

Meeting Developmental Needs of Younger Children through ECD

The government recognises the role of ECD in both promoting wholesome development of children and in enhancing the quality and efficiency of basic and primary education. To this end, the government has followed a policy for mobilising NGOs, INGOs, local bodies and communities. An approach co-ordinated along with other concerned agencies, including other line ministries, will be taken to address the holistic need of early childhood development. Under the policy, ECD activities are to be designed and implemented as truly community-based programmes in which local communities and parents are to manage the ECD centres with technical and partial financial support from the government.

The Ministry of Education has already prepared a detailed action plan, procedures and eligibility criteria for funding the accelerated implementation of its ECD programme. At the community level, parents themselves will form committees to organise, manage and supervise ECD activities. Personnel at the DEO offices will be made solely responsible for ECD programmes in the district. At the district level, the DEOs will monitor the ECD programmes supported by the RPs and supervisors.

ECD activities will be targeted at poor communities where the enrollment and retention of primary children especially of girls and disadvantaged children are low. As much as possible, these centres will be detached from the existing primary schools and will evolve as an integral part of community development with focus on fulfilling the rights of children.

ECD facilities are currently available to children in urban and semi-urban areas. The government intends to implement the ECD programme nation-wide under the second phase of BPEP. The government target is to establish 10,000 centres by 2004. The government will continue encouraging local NGOs and INGOs to contribute to the promotion of ECD programmes.

By the year 2004, it is estimated that the government-supported ECD centres, pre-school classes run by private schools and other ECD centres organised by NGOs as part of community development programme will provide educational opportunities to 10% of the 4-5 year-old children in the country.

Non-formal Education for Adult Literacy and Continuous Learning

In view of the high adult illiteracy rate in the country, particularly in the rural areas, NFE will be considered a priority sector in the education policy, planning and programme development. Accordingly, NFE programmes will be organised and expanded. There will be increase in the government budget for the NFE sector.

Literacy programme will be conducted as national campaigns with the involvement of national and international non-governmental organisations, local elected bodies and local communities. Inter-relationships between literacy and basic primary education will be established, and access will be provided for literate children to enter formal education.

Non-formal education development will be undertaken with larger participation of communities, NGOs, INGOs and other agencies working in the field of non-formal education. There will be changes made in the structure of the Non-formal Education Council, in order to expand the representation of NGOs and the other bodies. Necessary arrangement will be made in the district-level NFE co-ordination committees in this line.

NFE Centres have been created under the NFE Council to develop, implement and monitor programmes according to the policy guidelines developed by the Council. NFE units will be set up in all District Education Offices to facilitate co-ordination of the NFE activities of the various government agencies under various line ministries, local NGOs and INGOs. Political workers will be encouraged to get involved in NFE.

The Female Education Section of the Ministry of Education has been running school-based lead centres in three districts on a pilot scale. Such lead centres will be designated in all the VDCs of Nepal to run continuing education for adults. The Resource Centres for primary education will be also developed as NFE resource centres.

In order to achieve a 70% literacy rate of the 6+ year age group by the end of the Ninth National Development Plan period, there will be a need to provide literacy education for 3,216,000 adults and 784,000 out-of-school children. Various programmes are under-taken, especially in areas of low literacy, in order to achieve the targets. Programmes are also undertaken to reduce the gender gap in literacy from the current figure of 30% to 20%. Better evaluation and monitoring systems will be developed to improve the literacy rate. Training for NFE facilitators and trainers will be developed in an institutionalised way for the operation of literacy programmes.

While the government will continue its on-going adult literacy programmes, BPEP II will focus on life-skills education for young women based on their demands and based on the experiences of the Adult Education Programme/Women's Education Programme (AEP/WEP) implemented in BPEP I. A proposal has been developed to test targeted women's education programmes involving experienced NGOs. The AEP/WEP programme will gradually be provided for a total of 100,000 beneficiaries by the fifth year of the project. Assuming that 30,000 beneficiaries have already benefited from the programme, this would be another 70,000 during the plan period. In addition, the core programme would provide support for the gradual expansion (from 40,000 participants in FY 1998/99 to 100,000 in 2003/04) of the Adult Education and Women's Education Programmes started by BPEP I.

The literacy programmes of BPEP and that of other governmental and non-governmental agencies will serve 3.2 million adults (including 2.4 million women) in order to achieve a literacy rate of 70% by 2000 (male 80% and female 60%). Of the total target of 3.2 million adults, MOE's regular programmes and BPEP II activities will cover 1.28 million people (40%). The remaining will be covered by mobilising INGOs, NGOs and local bodies. A quota-based system of funding will be replaced with district planning. BPEP II will initiate these activities giving priority to areas, groups and communities where primary education is least developed and in particular, in districts selected for CPE programmes.

BPEP II would particularly fund the development and launching of AEP/WEP programmes targeted at young women, the training of trainers, facilitators and supervisors, environment building campaigns and follow-up post-literacy.

Mobilising Communities and Media for Promoting Basic and Primary Education

Mobilising Communities

Community mobilisation activities will be designed and targeted on a large scale to address the issue of non-enrollment, non-attendance and low retention. It is recognised that community participation and ownership are essential to ensure long-term sustainability. The government intends to develop concrete plans to ensure bottom-up, community-based planning, where parents, teachers and other stakeholders are consulted. Community mobilisation will begin with the establishment of VECs and SMCs. Making them operational will require the active involvement of teachers and RPs/RTs. The strategies adopted will be: (a) greater focus on community participation and bottom-up planning; (b) community awareness and mobilisation programmes to mobilise village communities, existing groups, parents/mothers, young women and youths; (c) linking the community mobilisation programme to other training programmes for teachers; (d) participatory planning at the district level; (e) use of SIPs as a vehicle for bringing the communities into planning; (f) providing incentives to communities when their efforts result in, for example, increased girls’ participation and retention, (g) using simple slogans to mobilise the community; and (h) developing training programmes for members of VECs and SMCs.

Mobilisation of Media

Corresponding to the rise in the literate population of rural areas, several community/local newspapers have come up in various parts of the Kingdom in recent years using more efficient modern printing devices. This has been supplemented with the proliferation of theme-specific localised publication of wall newspapers and other awareness materials. This rapid development in print media has given rise to specialisation of publications. Many newspapers feature permanent columns on educational information and issues, and topics of social and economic interest. The government of Nepal aims to help to further the professionalisation of media for educational purposes. Such print media (newsletters, pamphlets and posters) will be further developed as well as adapted at the central and district levels for the purpose of expanding basic and primary education.

The broadcasting media such as TV and radio have been used for various education programmes, some of which are specifically focused on the needs of EFA. With the promulgation of the National Broadcasting Act, several independent FM radio stations have made their debut in rural areas, providing low-cost alternative channels of continuing education to the people. These broadcast media, along with other electronic media such as audio-cassettes and video-films, will be utilised to inform people and build their awareness.

Media strategies will also utilise literacy programmes, local songs and dance, theatre and cultural activities to bring about community awareness. Every district and VDC will plan and implement door-to-door campaigns involving teachers, students, local NGOs, mothers groups, religious bodies and other local institutions. National and local events such as Children's Day, Literacy Day and Women's Day will be utilised for organising enrollment and retention drives.

Village Education Committees (VECs) will be strengthened within each target VDC to act as watchdogs of programme implementation, overseeing the effectiveness of local resource utilisation and the correct utilisation of BPEP inputs. VECs and other local groups will be supported to make wall writing a means of displaying messages regarding schooling of children. Financial support to VECs will be limited to a period of three years for each VEC.

5.3 QUALITY IMPROVEMENT

After completing a cycle of implementing the new curriculum and revised textbooks (1992-1996), various studies have revealed that the transformation of classroom practice toward active student participation and the raising of achievement level of children remain to be realised. An effective network of Resource Centres and training programmes designed for quality improvements has not been fully attained. In the direction of improving classroom practices and raising students' achievement level, the following activities have been identified as the major focus of quality improvement efforts.

The following actions will be taken to create a better learning environment in schools: (a) increase the daily attendance of teachers and students; (b) only enroll into Grade 1 children who have completed five years of age; (c) create a healthy, safe and pleasant school environment; (d) provide teachers with adequate, appropriate training and classroom support; (e) provide textbooks and related teachers guides within two weeks of the start of the school year; and (f) maintain class sizes which ensure an appropriate student:teacher ratio.

The priority of the government will be an improving retention and learning achievement of children in the first three grades. Major focus will be on: (1) acquisition of basic competencies by all children; (2) support to non-Nepali speaking children through bilingual teaching techniques; and (3) using pedagogical techniques and materials for continuous assessment as an integral part of teaching and learning.

5.3.1 Making Curriculum Relevant through the Provision of Adequate Instructional Materials

The government considers renewal of textbooks and the preparation and revision of workbooks, teachers guides, supplementary texts and training materials as important aspects of quality education. In this line, the basic and primary education programme will: i) develop and provide reference reading materials for teachers; ii) translate primary curriculum materials into major indigenous languages and develop optional textbooks; iii) prepare early reading materials for children whose home language is not the national language; iv) develop methods and materials appropriate for multigrade organisation in small schools; v) develop additional materials to supplement and support curriculum implementation and textbook use; and vi) provide textbooks and teachers guides, supplementary reading materials and workbooks.

The government will set up school libraries in the schools where they are lacking and enhance those which are existing. The government is also considering doubling the supply of instructional materials to the schools. These instructional materials will be procured locally, and published by governmental and private publishing houses.

The government has prepared an institutional matrix that clearly sets out the roles, responsibilities, skills and capacities of organisations responsible for carrying out curriculum and textbook development.

A policy for curriculum revision and textbook renewal in a cycle of five years is being considered for implementation by the government. In this line, for the next three years top priority will be given to curriculum implementation. Evaluation of curriculum and textbooks in terms of organisation, sequencing, relevance and simplicity will be undertaken.

5.3.2 Liberal Promotion and Monitoring Learning Achievement

The government has adopted the liberal promotion policy (LPP) as a strategy for achieving age grouping in the primary grades. As a first step towards this end, it will adopt the policy of granting promotion to Grades 1 to 3 children by linking it with a continuous assessment system and recurrent teacher training. Under this policy, a minimum level of learning will be determined for each grade and the learning will be assessed continuously. Low-performing students will be provided learning assistance to help them achieve the minimum learning levels. For unachieved learning outcomes, the children will be provided opportunities to learn them in upper grades.

Continuous assessment of student learning achievement is a key element of a quality improvement strategy. BPEP II will support the establishment of the continuous assessment system and improvement of Grade 5 examinations. Development of instruments for continuous assessment of student performance to facilitate the introduction of liberal promotion and the improvement of Grade 5 examinations will be undertaken under BPEP II.

5.3.3 Optimising Teachers Performance through a Teacher Support and Promotion System

The government policy on primary teacher training is directed towards:

(a) establishing an overall teacher development strategy encompassing pre-service, in-service and recurrent training, and a professional support system;

(b) clearing the problem of existing untrained teachers within the shortest possible time period;

(c) stopping the entry of untrained teachers into the teaching force by strictly following the policy of mandatory 10-month teacher training and making institutional arrangements for the provision of such training; and

(d) introducing a teacher crediting system to recognise the professional experience and participation in recurrent teacher training.

In accordance with the above policy, the teacher training component will emphasise the continuous development of teachers through the development and implementation of an integrated system of pre-service (for prospective teachers), in-service (for teachers on the job) and recurrent teacher training. The teacher training policy of MOE links closely with the teacher credit system. Strategies for crediting will be in line with strategies evolving from a pre-service certification training proposal. The implementation schedule for the crediting system will take into account ongoing in-service training as well as the proposed pre-service training.

In the future, the minimum qualifications required to become a primary teacher will be raised from the current SLC pass (School Leaving Certificate, passing the national examination at the end of Grade 10) to undergraduate level education, at least Higher Secondary graduation. Pre-service teacher training and teacher certification will be made mandatory.

Strategies to support teachers’ ability to implement the curriculum will be adopted through school-based and cluster-based training programmes followed by regular professional support organised by the schools or the Resource Person at the school level. All teachers will receive 10-day recurrent training every year. In order to increase the effectiveness of the recurrent training, a number of measures have been proposed. Recurrent training modules using a variety of approaches, including the whole school approach, will be delivered. Recurrent modules will be devised and implemented in such a way that they promote the efficient and pedagogical utilisation of teaching-learning materials, including textbooks, supplementary readers, teachers guides and instructional materials.

5.3.4 Developing Resource Centres as a Base for the Technical and Professional Support System

Alternative approaches to school clustering and professional support activities will be explored, especially to suit the needs of the hill and mountain areas where distances between schools of a cluster may require a considerable amount of travel time for an RP. These include: itinerant RPs, pairing of small schools, extension of the whole school approach to in-service training, greater use of radio, teacher/peer mentoring systems, sub-clustering schools, and rotating places of meetings. District and cluster training plans will be made more demand-driven and responsive to individual schools' needs and priorities.

A new approach to the delivery of distance education for teacher training is proposed. Its content and activities will be much more closely related to carrying out action research in participant schools and school clusters and these will be linked to improved subject knowledge and understanding of how children learn. Apart from this innovation, strategies for tutorial and supervision support of participants in the distance education programme will be explored in relation to different kinds of environments.

5.3.5 Educational Technology Development

Educational technology development is one of the key components of quality development in BPEP II as well as in other educational programmes in Nepal. For this purpose, BPEP II has made provision under the DOE to undertake research, innovation and materials development. An instructional materials unit, a research unit and textbook and materials development units will all acquire/develop relevant educational technology through BPEP II.

5.4 INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING

The government recognises that the capacity of institutions must be strengthened at all levels of educational management in order to achieve equitable access to quality schooling. The building of institutional capacity is the core of BPEP II. It seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education (MOE) in order to improve policy-making, planning, co-ordination and system monitoring. In order to strengthen and consolidate activities related to basic and primary education, MOE has established a Department of Education (DOE) at the central level, headed by the Director General (DG). The DOE will be responsible for planning, programming, implementation and monitoring of basic and primary education programmes through its regional and district-level offices. The National Centre for Educational Development (NCED), the Distance Education Centre (DEC), the Curriculum Development Centre (CDC), and the Non-Formal Education Centre (NFEC) have been entrusted with responsibilities in specialised areas such as teacher training, curriculum and textbook development and non-formal education, respectively.

An educational system can be only as good as the people who manage it. For the most part, the organisational effectiveness of schools depends on the quality and skills of the educational personnel. BPEP II will contribute to long-term technical sustainability of the basic and primary education sub-sector by developing managerial and technical competencies on the part of a large number of teachers, Headmasters, administrators, managers, planners and other educational personnel. The MOE has identified human resource development (HRD) needs for the academic and professional upgrading of its personnel. A comprehensive staff development activity is currently underway, under which both in-country and overseas long-term and short-term academic as well as training courses are being provided. MOE's technical and professional capacity is to be upgraded through the Institutional Linkage Programme (ILP) that brings national and international resource institutions together.

The government has created an institutional and organisational framework that better suits the decentralised education system. At the district level, programme planning, implementation and monitoring will be the responsibility of the DEO offices. BPEP II intends to devolve education management to promote active involvement of communities and local bodies in managing education institutions. HMG recognises the need to develop district and local capacity to plan, manage, implement and monitor basic and primary education programmes. To this end, BPEP II proposes the decentralised planning process under which education plans are to be prepared by individual schools, VDCs and District Offices and funds are to flow according to the education plans prepared at different levels.

School management will be institutionalised and strengthened by empowering School Management Committees and head teachers. SMCs will be formed through democratic procedure by the parents themselves. School Headmasters will have all executive powers in matters relating to teacher management and training, management of instruction, community relations, school improvement and financial management. SMCs will oversee the general functioning of schools and will mobilise local communities for school development.

The Head teachers, School Management Committees and Village Education Committees as well as parents and citizens will have important role in supporting school quality improvement and monitoring school achievements. SMCs and VECs will have increased responsibility for monitoring school performance and learning outcomes by: establishing early childhood programmes where needed; monitoring student and teacher attendance and taking action where needed; checking that all students have textbooks and necessary stationery and taking action were needed. MOE/DOE and District Education Office teams will be responsible for monitoring both quality inputs and learning outcomes against equity criteria to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to learn. In addition, periodic national assessments in Grades 3 and 5 will provide policy-makers with an independent assessment of changes in primary education quality standards over time.

5.4.1 Educational Management Information System (EMIS)

Development of an Educational Management Information System (EMIS) is one of the important aspects of capacity building of the education sub-sector in Nepal. Under BPEP II, EMIS as well as PMIS (Programme Management Information System) will be established at national and district levels to provide information for monitoring, planning and overseeing BPEP activities. This system will also be expanded to provide national education information needed for other various basic and primary educational purposes. A need for the formation of a data co-ordination body has been felt by all concerned, in order to standardise national data and to expand the current information system to include new indicators on a continuous basis.

5.5 TECHNICAL SKILLS AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTENANCE

Technical skills and vocational education in Nepal are focused on the basic and medium-level manpower production to meet the needs of different development programmes implemented in various parts of the country. Short-term training will be developed, focused to the basic skill needs of the people, particularly in the villages, to enable them to implement the basic development programmes for their areas.

Technical/vocational skills education and training programmes will be made employment-oriented and income-oriented. For this purpose, polytechnic schools will be operated to undertake short term and long-term programmes.

During the Ninth Plan period, currently-running technical institutions will be strengthened in a way that enable them to be appropriately cost-effective. Arrangement will be made to establish effective co-ordination between government and non-government technical and vocational institutions. Private sectors will be encouraged to establish technical and vocational training institutions. For this purpose, the Technical Education and Vocational Training Council will: identify similar training programmes provided by private sector training institutes; co-ordinate with these institutions; play an active role in mobilising the resources; and provide necessary technical assistance for their development.

Physical, human and financial resources will be mobilised at the local level in order to establish training centres. Internal and external resources will be mobilised to set up and run polytechnic schools.

It is anticipated that with the current institutions and those which will be developed during the planned period 5000 basic and medium-level trained persons will be produced and short-term training will be provided to 20,000 people.

5.6 RESOURCE MOBILISATION

The government plans to mobilise internal as well as external resources for funding educational programmes and development. This includes promoting the public and private sectors, as well as community participation in resource mobilisation. Different schemes of cost-sharing will be enhanced. External donors and loans will also be mobilised for undertaking major programmes such as BPEP II.

The government plans to promote cost-sharing with the local communities in financing ECD. The government will support local communities by providing establishment costs to meet the start-up expenses (NRs. 10,000), instructional materials and kits for children and ECD facilitators, and partial salary costs of facilitators. Local communities will provide physical space and voluntary labour to set up the centres. Local VDCs and municipalities will contribute to meet the partial costs of facilitators' salaries. Recurrent costs of the ECD Centres and day meals for children will also be arranged locally.

Cost-sharing is a major strategy of BPEP II for mobilising local resources as well as external funding. Under this strategy, limited funds are provided to schools that prepare School Improvement Plans (SIPs) that identify activities to be undertaken by the schools themselves. The maximum amount of such fund is NRs. 25,000 per school per year. The SIP guideline aims to mobilise teachers, students and communities in various school improvement activities. BPEP II will fund training activities, including the development of training materials for SMC and VEC members.

Each VDC will have a Village Education Committee (VEC) consisting of representatives of the VDC, SMCs, NGOs, Headmasters, teachers and RPs. The primary function of this committee will be to conduct enrollment drives, participate in micro-planning and school mapping exercises, ensure maintenance, supervise primary schools and NFE and ECD centres, monitor teacher and student attendance, mobilise local resources, review and follow-up annual programmes, and create a supportive atmosphere for the implementation of BPEP activities and programmes.

HMG has shown its commitment by allocating to the education sector 15% of total government expenditures—including those funded via external donors (up from 13.1% allocated in 1997/98). The sub-sector plan has laid out points for cost reduction, cost efficiency and sustainability.

For efficient mobilisation and use of the external funds, a 'basket' approach has been adopted whereby each donor would contribute funds towards the total list. Incremental activities would require a similar approach by the government. In this approach, each item of expenditure would be reimbursed by the donors group as a whole to, for instance, 90% of the total cost, with the government contributing the remaining 10%.

District Development Committees and VDCs/municipalities are expected to allocate funds to finance basic and primary education activities from their internal revenues and grants received from the government. It is proposed that VDCs allocate 10% of the development grants of NRs. 5,000,000 they receive from the government each year. The government also proposes a cost-sharing formula of 40% community funds and 60% government funds for classroom construction and rehabilitation.

Multiple ways of involving communities in the provision of financial support and temporary residential care for resource classes for children with moderate disabilities have been proposed.

Literacy funds will be created with the participation of NGOs and INGOs. Local bodies, NGOs and INGOs will be involved in the monitoring of NFE activities.

5.7 CONCLUSION

The Ministry of Education has adopted and implemented a decentralised planning process of preparing District Education Plans as a means of providing broader participation in the management of basic and primary education. The intervention package and resource allocations to the district are based on the District Education Plan. A holistic approach to quality improvement has been followed in promoting educational change and development in the districts. Key decisions are made at the district level to address the needs of under-served population and those with special education needs, and to allocate resources to those inputs that have optimum impact on improved efficiency and quality. In this way, it is anticipated that government support to localised educational reform effects will ensure equitable access to quality basic and primary education.

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