Education in Nepal

Nepal's School Sector Development Plan (SSDP 2016-2023) focuses on improving education quality and builds on the achievements of the previous School Sector Reform Plan (2009-2016) and the Education for All Program (2004-2009).

The SSDP is a seven-year plan, supported by a pooled funding mechanism, with a joint financing arrangement between the government and 8 development partners, with high donor coordination and use of the public financial management system.

Under the federal system, the provincial and 753 local governments are responsible for basic education provision. At the federal level, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) serves as the executing agency for SSDP. A newly established Center for Education Human Resource Development is tasked with preparing annual work plans and budgets and the annual strategic implementation plans.

Nepal has made impressive gains in improving access and equity in education in recent years, demonstrated for example by the achievement of gender parity in basic and secondary education and the increase of Dalit students in schools.

Improving the quality of education is at the heart of SSDP, due to low learning levels and inequity in learning outcomes. To address this, activities include improvements in the learning environment, pedagogical practice, curriculum, textbooks and learning materials, student assessments and the examination system.

Close to 260,000 teachers work in the basic education system (public and private).

A large variety of stakeholders participate in the planning and monitoring of the SSDP, through a well-established and coordinated joint planning and review mechanism. Two joint sector reviews take place each year.

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Latest grant

A flyer of the annual enrollment and welcome to school campaigns
At the beginning of each school year, local authorities launch a campaign using posters, flyers, newspaper and radio ads to create awareness and encourage parents to send their children to school. After the campaign and the start of school, information comes in from the different districts about the actual enrollment rate.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Educating parents
In Province 2, data point to two main drivers of inequity: parents’ education and ethnicity. Many parents, who have never been to school themselves, do not understand the importance of education, especially for girls. So home visits to parents of out-of-school children are undertaken to explain why their girls and boys need to be in school.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Bikes being unloaded form a truck outside the offices of Pipara Municipality
Nepal's central and local governments are working to achieve 100% enrollment and retention in Mahottari district, one of the country’s 15 poorest performing districts, including by distributing bikes to girls so they can easily get to school.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Girls playing in the school yard at Shree Ram Narayan Ayodhaya School, Pipra, Mahottari District, Nepal
The government gives an annual scholarship of NPR 400 to all girls enrolled in government schools to encourage their schooling. Families can use the scholarship for notebooks, stationery or uniforms.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Mohammed Ashik Khan, Maulavi (and head of) Madrasa Darum Kerat Garvin Nawaz, Mahottari with a student
Many Muslim children are often considered as out-of-school. Parents usually send them to madrasas to learn about Islam. Madrasas can be registered by the government, which can support them with teachers if they add English, Nepali and math to what they already teach: Urdu, Farsi, Arabic and Islamic education. The government provides Madrasas with scholarships for girls, supports teachers' salaries and provides textbooks if the schools add the broader curriculum.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
A female teacher during a lesson at the Shree Ram Narayan Ayodhaya School, Pipra, Mahottari District, Nepal
Having female teachers, especially at the primary level, is very important to ensure girls enroll in school. When schools come to register with the government, they are always asked how many female teachers they have for their primary section.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Students receiving fruits as snack during a school day
To increase enrollment and retention, providing lunch and/or snacks to the students helps a lot. The government has prepared a healthy menu with specific items to be cooked on specific days. Schools have started their own canteens where they cook and serve food to the children.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Separated toilets and the provision of sanitary napkins
When schools are building latrines, the district authorities check that there are separate stalls for boys and girls. They also mandate that girls’ toilets should be in an area where girls don't have to pass through the boys' area. Sanitary napkins are also provided to girls. These measures make parents more willing to send their girls to school.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Suggestion box
Each school has a suggestion box to allow the community to share what the students and teachers need, especially girls and female teachers. Twice a week, the box is opened and the suggestions read to see how the school can address them.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Non-formal education
The GATE program (Girls Access to Education) is a flexible schooling program for girls aged 10 to 14. The 9-month course allows the girls to quickly catch up with the basics and then, according to their age group and ability at the end of the program, to join mainstream education in whatever class is determined to be appropriate.
Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Development objective: Improve the quality, equitable access, and efficiency of basic and secondary education by supporting the government's School Sector Development Program
Allocation: US$59,300,000
Years: 2016-2019
Grant agent: World Bank
Disbursements: US$59,219,165

The US$24.2 million implementation grant, approved in March 2019, is made up a a regular allocation of US$9.2 million and a GPE Multiplier grant of US$15 million. The program’s objective is to improve the quality, equitable access, and efficiency of basic and secondary education by supporting the government's School Sector Development Program. The program provides additional financing to the existing World Bank Nepal School Sector Development Program (US$185 million).

The GPE grant follows the World Bank's program for results instrument, with a fixed part of 60% and a results-based portion of 40% with 10 targets supporting the areas of equity, efficiency, and learning.The GPE Multiplier grant is leveraged through an additional funding of US$163.86 million from the Asian Development Bank to support disaster risk reduction and comprehensive school safety, and US$3.5 million from USAID for inclusive education.

The GPE grant directly supports key SSDP results areas clustered into three result areas:

  1. Improved teaching-learning and student learning outcomes to improve early grade learning levels, textbooks and learning materials, student assessments and examination system, teacher/school management and accountability.
  2. Improved equitable access to basic and secondary education: Pro-poor interventions, such as preparation of a database on out-of-school children, provision of grants to learning centers and schools, provision of pro-poor and pro-science scholarships for poor and marginalized students.
  3. Strengthened education system, sector planning, management and governance: Enhanced fiduciary system, improving and operationalizing the grants management system, operationalizing a web-based EMIS and improving self-reported EMIS data by schools, integrating SSDP activities in local governments' annual plans and budgets and providing open data on conditional grants released to schools.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Disbursements Grant agent  
Program implementation and multiplier 2020 24,442,000 0 World Bank  
Program implementation 2016-2019 59,300,000 59,219,165 World Bank Completion report
2010-2014 120,000,000 117,760,473 World Bank  
Sector plan development 2019-2020 496,698 0 UNICEF  
2015-2016 387,608 387,608 UNICEF  
Program development 2018-2019 130,000 129,995 World Bank  
2014-2015 155,322 155,322 World Bank  
  Total 204,911,628 177,652,563    
Data last updated: April 03, 2020

GPE has also provided the National Campaign for Education - Nepal (NCE Nepal) with a grant from the Civil Society Education Fund, to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Education sector progress

The graphs below show overall progress in the education sector in Nepal, and GPE data shows the country progress on 16 indicators monitored in the GPE Results Framework.

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 (%)

Students/trained teacher ratio

Teachers Trained (%)

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.

Last updated February 06, 2020