Political parties join forces for Free Education for All
Kathmandu 14 October 2012: “An empowered child is a confident citizen. They are the pillars of the future of any nation. Therefore, it is our responsibility as duty bearers to ensure their quality education.” This message from Dr. Will Parks, UNICEF Nepal’s Deputy Representative, ran as a theme during a review on Free and Compulsory Education in Nepal.
The Minister of Education, the Honourable Mr Dinanath Sharma, was the Chief Guest at the event - part of a four-year policy level dialogue organised by Educational Pages with support from UNICEF and Department of Education. The event brought together more than 20 political leaders, 10 government officials, teachers from various districts and development partners to share their views on providing free and compulsory education in Nepal.
Dr. Kedar Bhakta Mathema, the key note speaker at the event, said: “We found out from our field research that transparency is one of the major concerns in education. Some schools were appointing staff not on their merits but because they were relatives. As monitoring and evaluation is very weak in the sector, we need to perhaps focus on where our loopholes are. We should try and understand the set-up of our education system and fill those gaps and not just make Free Education for All for the sake of popularity.”
Only 47% of the students passed the Student Leaving Certificate (SLC) this year. Although the enrolment rate to basic education is very high, the survival rate to grade 5 is only 80.6%, to grade 8 it is only 66%. Access to secondary education for girls and boys is only at 83.7%. This means that many children are out of school. It is estimated that 651,000 children of aged 5-14 are out of school (Nepal Standard Living Survey – 2008).