Nepal - Preprimary & Primary Education
Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceNepal - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education
PREPRIMARY & PRIMARY EDUCATION
Until 1992, there was no official preprimary level of schooling and the very few private nursery schools that existed were mainly in the urban areas. Under the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992-1997), Ministry of Education introduced a total of 781 Shishu Kakshyas (nurseries) in 40 districts. The Ninth Five-Year Plan has a lofty goal to increase the number of Shishu Kakshyas to 10,000 by the end of 2002.
Primary education typically starts in the first grade with the minimum age of entry being six years. Completion of primary level ordinarily requires five years of schooling. However, entry at minimum age and five of years of schooling are not mandatory requirements to complete primary school. Children who could not attend primary school at the age of six years can enter into the third grade through completion of a nine-month course of a nonformal primary education program, popularly known as Shiksha Sadan or OSP (out-of-school program). The Nepalese government has formulated this plan under the "Basic and Primary Education Project" (BPEP) and given it the top priority in its Education Policy as a means to reach girls and other disadvantaged children. In 1996, there were a total of 21,473 primary schools with an enrollment of over 3 million primary students and 82,645 primary school teachers. In 2000, the enrollment in grade one was almost universal for boys, but only 84 percent girls were enrolled. The enrollment starts to decline in later years of primary school, many repeat each grade, and the completion rates of primary school remain dismal. Almost 63 percent of the students enrolled in first grade drop out during primary education. Only about 37 percent complete their primary education between the ages of 5 and 13 years. Only 10 percent of children who are enrolled in first grade are expected to complete primary school without repeating any grade. The reasons for high dropout and repetition rates include the workload of household chores, particularly on girls; irregularity of school functioning; poverty; physical distance; low perceived relevance of education to daily work and social lives; caste and ethnic discrimination; neglect of mother tongue for many communities; and under-aged children, particularly in the first grade.