Education in Nepal
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|Ministry of Education|
|National education budget (2006)|
|Primary languages||Nepali, English|
August 9, 1971
January 28, 2004
|1Source of information: Ministry of Education website
2Includes, "Lower secondary", "secondary", and "higher secondary"
Education in Nepal was long based on home schooling and Gurukula. The first formal school was established in 1853, but was intended for the elites. The birth of the Nepalese democracy in 1951 opened the classrooms to a more diverse population.
The education plan in 1971 fastened the development of education in the country: In 1951, Nepal had 10,000 students divided in 300 schools, with an adult literacy rate of 5%. By 2010, the adult literacy rate had jumped to 60.3% (female: 46.3%, male: 73%) and the number of schools to 49,000. Poverty and social exclusion of women, lower caste, and indigenous people are nowadays the main constraints to an equitable access to education.
The Ministry of Education is the apex body responsible for initiating and managing education activities in the country. The Minister of Education, assisted by the State/Assistant Minister, provides political leadership to the Ministry. The Ministry, as a part of the government bureaucracy, is headed by the Secretary of Education and consists of the central office, various functional offices, and offices located at the regional and district levels. The Central Office or the Ministry is mainly responsible for policy development, planning and monitoring, and evaluation regarding different aspects of education.
With a purpose of bringing education administration nearer to the people, the Ministry has established five Regional Directorates and 75 District Education Offices in five development regions and 75 districts respectively. These decentralized offices are responsible for overseeing nonformal and school-level education activities in their respective areas. Regional Directorates are mainly responsible for coordinating and monitoring and evaluation of education activities and the District Education Offices are the main implementing agencies.
The National Center for Educational Development (NCED)  is an apex body for teacher training in Nepal. There are 34 Educational Training Centers (ETCs) under NCED to support the teachers in pedagogical areas.
Legally, there are two types of school in the country: community and institutional. Community schools receive regular government grants whereas institutional schools are funded by school's own or other non-governmental sources. Institutional schools are organized either as a non-profit trust or as a company. However, in practical terms, schools are mainly of two types: public (community) and private (institutional).
A third type of school is the kind run by the local people enthusiastic toward having a school in their locality. They do not receive regular government grants and most of them do not have any other sustainable financial source. Supported and managed by the local people, they can be thus identified as the real community schools.
Except one, all universities/academies are publicly managed and are supported by public source fund. However, public universities also provide affiliation to private colleges. Two academies of higher education are single college institutes whereas other universities have constituent and affiliated colleges across the country.*
Education in Nepal is structured as school education and higher education. School education includes primary level of grades 1–5, lower secondary and secondary levels of grades 6–8 and 9–10 respectively. Pre-primary level of education is available in some areas. Six years old is the prescribed age for admission into grade one. A national level School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination is conducted at the end of grade 10.
Grades 11 and 12 are considered as higher secondary level. Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) supervises higher secondary schools which are mostly under private management. Previously these grades were under the university system and were run as proficiency certificate level. Though some universities still offer these programs, the policy now is to integrate these grades into the school system.
Higher education consists of bachelor, masters, and PhD levels. Depending upon the stream and subject, bachelors level may be of three to five years' duration. The duration of masters level is generally two years. Some universities offer programs like M Phil and post-graduate diplomas.
Vocational education in Nepal starts after lower secondary education. Students can choose to follow a two-year curriculum leading to the "Technical School leaving Certificate". Universities also offers professional and technical degrees. Out of the formal track, short-term programs(1 year) focusing on skills development are also available. There is DLE which refers to class 8.As new educational structure is going to be introduced very soon.
Marginalization, Crises, and Illiteracy
Despite that Chitwan district has been declared 100% literate in 2014, there are still many children in remote villages who do not have access to education past primary level. The Chepang, declared by sociologists as the poorest of the poor (in Nepal) leave primary level schools after they have learned to read and write and then forget their lessons. Additionally, the April 2015 Nepal earthquake and 2015 Nepal blockade have severely impacted the nation's ability to keep its remaining schools open if they haven't already been destroyed by the shaking.
Currently government schools use Janak publication's textbooks and private schools use other reference books like Ekta, Readmore, Reliant, Asia and Vidyarthi. Government schools perform poorly in SLC due to lack of skilled teachers and negligence by ministry of education in textbook reforms..
Prior to the establishment of the first college in the country, Tri-Chandra College in 1918, higher education in Nepal was nonexistent. Until 1985, Tribhuvan University had remained the one and the only university in Nepal. In the early 80s, His Majesty's Government developed the concept of a multi-university system for the country. One important assumption behind the concept was that each new university should have a distinctive nature, content and function of its own.
The first new university that was established was Mahendra Sanskrit University. The inception of this university was soon followed by Kathmandu University, the first private university in 1990, Purbanchal and Pokhara Universities in 1995 and 1996 respectively. Many schools and colleges are run by private initiatives.
Medical colleges in Nepal are spread over various parts of the country. Most of these medical colleges in Nepal are in the private sector, although there are some government medical colleges too. Admission of local students to these medical colleges in Nepal is done generally through an entrance test. However foreign students are admitted on the basis of their performance in a personal interview. In order to be eligible for admission to the MBBS courses of Nepal’s medical colleges, one needs to pass the higher secondary examination in science or its equivalent. Medical education in Nepal is regulated by the Medical Council of Nepal. Apart from giving recognition to the medical colleges in Nepal, it also conducts the licensing examination for providing registration to the new doctors. It is also responsible for making policies related to curriculum, admission, term and examination system of teaching institute of medical education and to make recommendation for cancellation of registration and approved by renewing and evaluating such system/procedure.
There are quite a good number of engineering colleges in Nepal that provide engineering courses in various parts of the country. Most of these engineering Colleges in Nepal admit the local students through an entrance test. However foreign students are admitted on the basis of their performance in a personal interview. Candidates, to be eligible for admission to the engineering colleges in Nepal, should at least pass the Intermediate in Science or diploma in engineering or its equivalent.
Institute of Engineering of Tribhuvan University is the oldest engineering institute of Nepal. It has 4 colleges of its own and other 13 private engineering colleges run under its affiliation. One among the IOE's colleges is Pulchowk Campus which is the central Campus of IOE. Pulchowk Campus is considered to be the best engineering college in nepal. Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering,Industrial Engineering, Agricultural Engineering,Geo-matics Engineering and Architecture are the courses being offered and Automobile Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering are the two new courses soon to be offered by the campus.Along with Bachelors and Masters in Engineering, PhD is also being run in the Pulchowk Campus. More than 16,000 students from around the world participate in the Entrance examination conducted by IOE which is the selection criteria for all the colleges running under its affiliation.
Nepal Engineering College (NEC),Changunarayan Bhaktapur,is the first engineering college in the private sector which offers bachelor and master level courses in Nepal. Architecture, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electronics and Communication, Electrical and Electronics, Energy Engineering, Civil and Rural Engineering are some of the popular engineering courses in Nepal. While the B.E. Architecture courses are of 5 years duration, other bachelor's degree courses are of 4 years duration. Some engineering colleges in Nepal also offer master's degree courses.
Human capital flight in Nepal
Nepal Ranks 11th Among the Leading Countries of Origin for International Student in the United States of America. The number of Nepali students enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education increased from 8,936 to 11,581 in 2008/09 a 29.6% increase over the 2007/08 academic year, according to Open Doors 2009, the annual report on international academic mobility published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State. Nepal ranks 11th among the leading countries of origin of international students, as it did the last year. In the academic year 2006/2007, Nepal ranked 13th among the countries of origin of international students. India tops the list with 15.4% followed by China with 14.7%.
This year's Open Doors report shows that the total number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year, and the total number now exceeds for the second year in a row what had been the prior peak enrollment year (2002/03), and is 14.5% higher than the number of international students in United States' higher education that year. Open Doors data show an even stronger increase in the number of new international students, those enrolled for the first time at a U.S. college or university in Fall 2008. New international student enrollments rose by 15%, following on 10% increases in each of the previous two years.
According to U.S. Embassy Kathmandu's Counselor for Public Affairs Terry J. White, "America's nearly 3,000 accredited schools of higher education continue to attract new students in what is becoming a highly competitive international "market" around the world." The U.S. remains the preferred destination for students from Nepal who want to study abroad because of the quality and prestige associated with an American degree.
Another contributing factor is greater access to comprehensive and accurate information about study in the U.S. through EducationUSA advising offices in Nepal and an increased level of activity by United States colleges and universities to attract students from Nepal. Together with the U.S. Education Foundation in Nepal, we work to let Nepali students and their parents know that, with a little effort at guided research, an American education can be within their reach.”
- List of schools in Nepal
- Human rights in Nepal
- List of engineering colleges in Nepal (intake capacity of engineering colleges)
- Deepak Raj Parajuli , Tapash Das. "Performance Of Community Schools In Nepal : A Macro Level Analysis" (PDF). International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "CIA world Fact book". CIA. Retrieved June 2014. Check date values in:
- "National Center for Educational Development".
- "Vocational Education in Nepal". UNESCO-UNEVOC. Retrieved January 2014. Check date values in:
- "Kathmandu Post- Children in Chitwan deprived of education past primary level".
- Beine, Caughley and Shrestha. 2012. Chepang Then and Now: Life and Change Among the Chepang of Nepal. Blurb Books.
Reports from International organizations
- World data on Education: Nepal, UNESCO-IBE(2010-2011) - Overview of the Nepalese education system
- Vocational education in Nepal, UNESCO-UNEVOC - Overview of the Nepalese vocational education system
- "Bringing the Poorest into Schools", World Bank (2009)
- - Report on higher education and TVET in Nepal, Asian Development Bank (2016)
- SLC "Exam Results in Nepal – A little bit of analysis on Statistics, Trends & Realities"(Blog, 2013) - Documented insight on the Nepalese examination system