High dropout and repetition rates challenge Nepal in achieving Universal Primary Education by 2015
Only seven out of ten children enrolled in grade 1 in Nepal’s schools reach grade 5, and more than half of them quit school before reaching the lower secondary level. This is one of the sobering results of the recently released Flash I Report 2011-12, which was prepared with UNESCO’s technical support by the Department of Education.
The report also shows that 94.5 percent of girls in Nepal and 95.6 percent of boys are presently enrolled in primary education. This represents a respectable Net Enrollment Rate (NER) of 95.1 percent. However, the slow NER increase with an average of 1 percent every year would not be sufficient to ensure that, by 2015, all boys and girls in Nepal will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, as per the second of the eight Millennium Development Goals.
"UNESCO is concerned that Nepal may not achieve the EFA goals by 2015, mainly due to high dropout and repetition rates and the persistent disparities in education", says Tap Raj Pant of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu.
Despite an increase of enrollment, disparities in school participation mainly affecting children from Dalit Janjati communities and children who are disabled, persist between echo-belt regions and between urban and rural areas.
Dalit and Janjati students at basic levels represent 19.7 percent and 38.5 percent respectively. Compared to the precedent years, the number of Dalit students has slightly increased, whereas the number of Janjati students decreased.
The report further reveals that efforts must be focused on grade 1, where repetitoin and dropout rates are higher than in other grades. Among the grade 1 students in the school year 2011/12, 21.3 percent repeated the same grade and 7.9 percent dropped out from the school education system. That means, that almost one third of the grade 1 students could not continue in grade 2. Although the promotion rate has improved as compared to the previous school year, this still represents a big challenge.