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Nepal - Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceNepal - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education


In 2001, the Ministry of Education and Sports (previously known as Ministry of Education and Culture) was the governmental division looking after the education sector. A Minister of the Cabinet Rank heads the Ministry. On April 11, 2000, the Minister was Tarani Dutta Chataut. In the Ministry, the Department of Education (DOE) at Keshar Mahal, headed by a Director General, formulates the medium term and annual policies, plans, objectives, and targets in the education sector. Public or government-aided schools are managed by School Management Committees (SMCs), according to education regulations of the DOE. The composition of SMCs, academic content, textbooks, and examination systems are uniform throughout the country. The primary source of revenue for schools is governmental grants, which are based on the number of the students in each school.

The teachers, including the headmasters, are appointed by the DOE. The District Education Committee (DEC), which is nominated by DOE, nominates the SMCs. The government District Education Office, within the DEC, is headed by a District Education Officer. This is the most influential unit and designates tasks for each school to implement. Each of the 75 districts has a District Education Officer. The DEC sets the school calendar, provides teacher salaries, organizes teachers training programs, carries out inspections, and audits the school accounts. The autonomy of teachers in changing the educational procedures is often cited as a reason for limited operation of the schools, low academic quality, lack of accountability, and lack of local participation. The technical and vocational schools of the CTEVT are also managed on a similar basis by SMCs.

The universities are managed by Senate Council consisting of the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Rector, Registrar, and senate members representing various academic, economic, political, private, social, and student groups. The university senate is the apex body and is responsible for making policy decisions. The University Grants Commission (UGC) assists the government in managing the fiscal aspects and funding policies. The UGC also coordinates and disburses financial grants to the universities.

From 1975-1990, Nepal spent about 10 percent of its annual budget on education and raised it to 13 percent in the Eighth Five-Year Plan during 1992-1997. As a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), this spending ranged between 1.3 percent and 2.0 percent between 1975 and 1990. The government, in its Eighth Five-Year Plan, spent 2.6 percent of its GDP on education. In 1997, the foreign aid in the education sector accounted for 52 percent of the total budget. The large amount of financial dependence on foreign donors undermines self-sustenance, increases foreign debt with heavy interest repayments, and also leads to pursuance of donor-driven agendas. A report prepared for the Ministry by the Danish University in 2000 found that 71 percent of the suggestions from the donor agencies were ratified by the government, as opposed to only 31 percent of the suggestions by the Parliamentarians.

In 1995, per capita expenditure by the government on primary education in public schools was NR 970.30, which was about half of what was being spent in private schools. Further the household expenditure on education for a child attending was NR 362.16, while the expenditure on education for a private school was NR 4,699.08. The disproportionate expenditures partly account for differences in the quality of private and public education.

The major portion of government expenditure for school education is spent on teacher and staff salaries and fringe benefits. A study done by Center for Educational Research, Innovation, and Development (CERID) in 1996 found that in public primary schools the expenditure on teacher and staff salaries was 86 percent, as compared to 63 percent in private primary schools. Likewise, in public secondary schools this expenditure on salaries was 76 percent in public sector, while only 52 percent in the private sector.

Two major problems facing the financing of the educational system in Nepal are inadequate resources and low administrative efficiency. Inadequate resources affect the physical facilities, teachers, and equipment. The physical infrastructure in the schools is often inadequate. Communities are mainly responsible for building the physical facilities that are often in dilapidated conditions due to a deficiency of funds. The government provides the salary of teachers. There is a scarcity of trained teachers and the cost of continuing teacher training is also primarily the responsibility of the government. Therefore, upgrading the skills of the teachers is a constant struggle. The teaching-learning materials are usually deficient. The government also tries to provide materials for science education in secondary schools, but often these are not adequate. The government has made a commitment to provide education up to grade 10 without tuition fees. This has forced many schools to charge students "non-tuition" fees to sustain their programs; this nullifies the government's intention to provide free education. The government also supports higher education, and the student's fees are minimal. This adds to the burden on governmental resources. Tribhuvan University was able to generate only 9 percent of its budget from outside resources and depended on the government for the large bulk of its funding.

The apex institution for conducting educational research in Nepal is the Center for Educational Research, Innovation, and Development (CERID), which is affiliated with Tribhuvan University. CERID is headed by an Executive director and has completed several educational research projects, including collaborations with several foreign institutions.

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