We work to ensure all children in Nepal have access to inclusive and equitable quality education.

Children returning from school
UNICEF Nepa/2017/NShrestha

The Challenge

To ensure all children receive pre-primary and basic education and to improve quality basic education and adolescent life skills development

Education is a fundamental human right. UNICEF is dedicated to making sure that all children can enjoy their right to a quality education, from early learning opportunities that lay the groundwork for success in school, all the way through secondary school.

Over the last 20 years, Nepal has made significant progress in education. The net enrolment rate in primary schools has risen to 97 per cent. However, the country still has many challenges to tackle. Issues that persist in education include poor quality and inequity in access, geographical remoteness, gender, and socioeconomic and ethnic differences. Key barriers to enrolment and attendance include poverty, social exclusion, disability, migration, child labour, social norms and gender bias.

  • 770,000 children aged 5-12 years are still out of school.
  • Only a half of students in grades 3, 5 and 8 meet the academic achievement criteria for Nepali and mathematics.
  • Attendance in early childhood education (ECE) is still low at 51 per cent.
  • There is inequity in the education sector as only 12 per cent of children from the lowest wealth quintile are developmentally on track in literacy and numeracy compared to 65 per cent from the highest wealth quintile.
  • Very few schools meet child-friendly school standards. 
  • Only 11 per cent of school buildings are earthquake-resistant. 
Grade 3 student Manjari Lama
UNICEF Nepa/2015/CSKarki

The Solution

To ensure that by 2022, all children, especially the most disadvantaged receive improved access to, and participate in pre-primary and basic education in inclusive, safe and protective environments.

Our education programme is guided by the School Sector Development Plan (SSDP, 2016–2022) and the consolidated equity strategy for the school education sector (2014), which is being implemented by the Ministry of Education. In this country programme (2018-2022), UNICEF will continue to support the SSDP as a joint financing partner, the focal point for the local education development partners group and as a coordination agency for the Global Partnership for Education. UNICEF will work to:

  • Increase access to early learning in underserved areas, through community-based early childhood education (ECE) and parenting education.
  • Improve the quality of ECE across the country through evidence-based policy advocacy.
  • Support local governments in supporting the equitable delivery of school-based quality ECE.
  • Improve the quality of basic education through policy development and planning focused on improving classroom teaching and learning, and promotion of early grade literacy and numeracy.
  • Support innovations and research on teaching in multilingual classrooms.
  • Support adolescents entering schools late or for the first time through non-formal classes.
  • Launch behaviour change campaigns targeting parents to increase demand for formal education for working children.
  • Improve life skills of adolescents in formal and non-formal school settings through a life skills-based curriculum.
  • Strengthen the education sector for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change action (CCA), education in emergencies and the Schools as Zones of Peace initiative to support implementation of Comprehensive School Safety Master Plan, which is currently being prepared.
  • Support government personnel to monitor out-of-school children, including children with disabilities, through the Education Management Information System (EMIS), and support local governments to carry out planning and programme implementation under the new federal structure.
  • Help develop an equivalency framework for non-formal education.
  • Promote innovative teaching practices in different mediums of instruction, including the mother tongue
  • Gather evidence on best practices in small schools
  • Support the implementation of inclusive education for children with disabilities and a child-friendly schools’ framework
Students in Simikot Humla
UNICEF Nepa/2017/AKarki