In just over two decades, Nepal has made significant strides in improving access to education. The new constitution of Nepal has guaranteed right to universal free school education. Furthermore, the management of education system is distributed among local, state and central governments, wherein school-level education will come under the purview of the local government.
Therefore, by 2030, we can expect further expansion of access to basic and secondary education as well as higher education. We will achieve universal adult literacy and percentage of population with at least secondary education will expand dramatically. School dropout rate for grade 1-10 is likely be halved from the current 70% by then.
However, there is a need for greater efforts to improve quality of education in public schools, where around 85% of students throughout the country are enrolled.
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) adopted by United Nations which puts quality and equity at the core with commitment to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all” should be the guiding framework for developing and furthering education plans and policies in the country. Similarly, School Sector Development Program (SSDP) currently being finalized by the Ministry of Education also takes quality at heart. Furthermore, the new Education Act passed by the Parliament will allow for some restructuring and improvement in education sector which has been on hold for several years. Therefore, improvements will be seen in public school education. However, most of the innovations are likely to come from non-government sector (NGOs and Private), especially as the government will be preoccupied for the bulk of next 15 years with creating new structures, systems, and processes regarding education governance and management to fit the new federal structure.
Once federal restructuring is completed, unburdened by behemoth organizational structures, school and university systems will be more agile and responsive to local needs. Institutions like Tribhuvan University can focus on being world class Research University at national level. Similarly, state run universities as well as open universities can expand affordable university education to people closer to them, thus reducing barrier to entry. By 2030, education sector of Nepal will have witnessed important reforms which will be instrumental in achieving the goal of graduating to middle income country status by that year.