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Education in Nepal

To continue its efforts to ensure equitable access to quality education for all, the Government of Nepal has developed its School Sector Development Plan for 2016 to 2023. The plan seeks to:

  • Ensure that the education system is inclusive and equitable in terms of access, participation and learning outcomes,
  • Increase students’ learning by enhancing the relevance and quality of the learning environment, the curriculum, teaching and learning materials (including textbooks), teaching methods, assessment and examinations,
  • Strengthen and reorient governance and management systems in the education sector to make them robust and accountable to local governments while assuring agreed overall minimum standards in teaching and learning processes and learning environment,
  • Accommodate the political and administrative restructuring of the education sector in line with the identified needs and the federal context and to ensure sustainable financing and strong financial management by introducing a cost-sharing modality between central, provincial, and local governments,
  • Mainstream comprehensive school safety and disaster risk reduction in the education sector by strengthening school-level disaster management and resilience amongst schools, students and communities and to ensure that schools are protected from conflict.

The following highlights the plan’s key components with their respective objectives:

  1. Basic education aims to develop physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and moral potential for all 4-12-year-old children by ensuring school readiness and universal access to quality basic education, and to promote life skills and value-based education,
  2. Secondary education aims to make students ready for the world of work by developing skilled human resources, provide options between technical and general secondary education, strengthen institutional links and facilitate the transition to higher education,
  3. Literacy and lifelong learning aims to enhance functional literacy and cultivate reading and learning habits among youths and adults.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent
Program implementation 2016-2018 59,300,000 36,687,006 IBRD
2010-2014 117,760,473 117,760,473 IBRD
Sector plan development 2015 465,774 365,559 UNICEF
Program development 2014 179,700 155,322 IBRD
  TOTAL 177,705,947 154,968,360  


Source: World Bank - Education Data
Data on education are compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics from official responses to surveys and from reports provided by education authorities in each country.


Primary completion rate (%)

Lower secondary completion rate

Out-of-school rate for children of primary school age

Out-of-school rate for adolescents of lower secondary school age

Pre-primary gross enrollment rate

Gender parity index for out-of-school rate – Primary and lower secondary

Public expenditure on education as share of GDP (%)

Public expenditure on education as a share of public expenditure (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers trained (%)

GPE in Nepal

Shakuntala Badi is 13 years old and studies in Class 5B at Adarsha Saula Yubak Higher Secondary School, Bhainsipati, in Nepal. She is the only blind student in her class. Credit: GPE/NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati

The first GPE grant to Nepal was US$ 117,,8 million for the period of 2010 to 2014. It was pooled with eight other partners’ funds to support the national system under the School Sector Reform Program which benefitted approximately 7 million students, 180,000 teachers and Early Childhood Education and Development facilitators in over 30,000 community schools and centers across the country.

The program focused on access, inclusion and quality, and was structured around (i) basic education for grades 1-8, including early childhood education and development, literacy, and lifelong learning; (ii) secondary education for grades 9-12, including technical and vocational training pilots; and (iii) institutional capacity strengthening for planning, delivery and monitoring of education services and products.

In 2016, Nepal received an additional grant of US$ 59.3 million from GPE to further support the School Sector Reform Program and the newly developed School Sector Development Plan with a focus on the following objectives:

  • Ensure equitable access to and quality of basic education for all children of 5-12 age group, prepare preschool aged children through early childhood education development for basic education, and deliver basic numeracy and literacy to youths and adults – especially women and marginalized groups,
  • Improve access, equity, quality, and relevance of secondary education, targeting 13-16 year -old children,
  • Improve capacity of the School Sector Reform Program’s implementation agencies and its partners to enhance delivery and monitoring of educational services and products.

The current coordinating agency is ADB, and the local education group is chaired by two entities: (i) the Ministry of Education, who defines policies, and (ii) the Department of Education, who is in charge of implementing education strategies.


  • World Bank Project Appraisal Document on two proposed additional grants: A Global Partnership for Education Grant and Results in Education for All Children (REACH) grant. January 2016,
  • World Bank Restructuring Paper on two proposed additional grants: a Global Partnership for Education grant and REACH grant. August 2017.


The GPE grants to Nepal have contributed to the following significant results:

  • In 2017, teachers conducted standardized classroom-based early grade reading assessments for grades 2 and 3 in 2,605 community schools, observed by parent representatives,
  • The number of schools increased from 32,130 to 35,222 between 2009 and 2016,
  • 32,000 classrooms were constructed to accommodate 950,000 students,
  • 12,472 schools have been managed by communities since 2014,
  • An equity index was developed to identify districts with the highest rate of out-of-school children, and tracking of out-of-school children was implemented in 53 districts,
  • “Free basic education” strategies were implemented in 12 regions which were lagging behind,
  • A geographic information system mapping capability was established to inform school planning based on population need,
  • 800,000 students benefitted from a mid-day school program,
  • 32 million textbooks were distributed,
  • Curriculum was digitalized and made available on websites and through mobile applications for greater accessibility nationwide,
  • Primary education curriculum and textbooks were developed in 21 languages,
  • 42 supplementary reading materials were produced in 15 languages,
  • 69 local languages were used as a medium of instruction benefiting 850,831 primary students in over 7,676 schools,
  • 82% of schools had toilet facilities (among which 85% have separate girls’ toilet facilities),
  • 15,000 teachers were supported through per-capita financing on an annual basis,
  • By 2015/16, over 900,000 Dalits (members of the lowest social class in the Hindu caste system), almost 40,000 children with disabilities, over 150,000 children from other deprived communities, and 1.8 million girls received scholarships,
  • In 2015/16 almost 20% of all secondary students received scholarships, including over 80,000 Dalits and 15,401 students from other marginalized groups,
  • The primary net enrollment rate for grades 1-5 increased from 92% in 2009 to 97% in 2016,
  • The net enrollment rate for grades 1-8 increased from 73% in 2009 to 91% in 2016,
  • The net enrollment rate for secondary education increased from 21% in 2009 to 39% in 2016,
  • The average net enrollment rate in basic education in the 15 districts categorized as the most lagging areas increased from 73.6% in 2009 to 85.6% in 2016,
  • The number of students per teacher decreased from 32 to 22 for primary education, from 34 to 24 for grades 1-8, and 40 to 34 for grades 6-8, from 35 to 24 for grades 9-12, and from 27 to 24 for grades 9-10 between 2009 and 2016,
  • The gender parity index in enrollment for grades 1 to 8 increased from 95% in 2009 to 100% in 2016,
  • The gender parity index in enrollment for secondary education increased from 91% in 2009 to 98% in 2016.

Sources: World Bank Implementation Completion Report Review. June 2017 and World Bank Implementation Completion Report, March 2017

Last updated March 13, 2018