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Nepal's 2023 Literacy Report: Progress, Challenges, and Aspirations

A Closer Look at Nepal's 2023 Literacy Statistics

Abhishek Bhandari

September 08, 2023
Nepal's 2023 Literacy Report: Progress, Challenges, and Aspirations
KMC Lalitpur

Nepal stands committed to the noble cause of promoting literacy for the building of a sustainable and peaceful society. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has released an official report on the current status of literacy and educational progress in the nation, shedding light on both achievements and challenges.

Historical Perspective

Before the dawn of democracy in 1951, Nepal's literacy rate languished at a mere 2 percent. Fast forward to today, and the nation boasts a literacy rate of 76.2 percent. It's a testament to Nepal's dedication to education and the transformative power of democracy. The inception of democracy in 1951 marked a turning point for literacy in Nepal. Educational goals and targets became an integral part of periodic plans. Since then, Nepal has been on a journey to uplift literacy levels, though challenges remain.

Educational Landscape in Nepal in 2023

Nepal boasts a diverse educational landscape with a total of 36,032 schools. Among them, 27,343 are community schools, 7,373 are institutional schools, and 1,316 are traditional schools. Additionally, there are 2,151 community learning centers, 121 schools offering open educational programs, and 171 informal schools.

Nepal Literacy Rates 2023

Nepal has made significant strides in its literacy journey. The current literacy rate among individuals above five years of age stands at an impressive 76.2 percent. Furthermore, for the age group between fifteen and sixty years, the literacy rate reaches an even higher 85 percent. These figures reflect a commendable commitment to education and literacy within the nation.

Despite decades of effort, Nepal has not yet achieved universal literacy. Literacy rates have steadily grown, from 5% in 1952/54 to 76% in 2023, with an annual growth rate of approximately 1%. Notably, growth rates for both genders have been unequal, highlighting the need for targeted interventions, especially for women.

District and Provincial Progress

Out of the 77 districts in Nepal, 64 have already achieved the prestigious status of being declared literate. Provinces such as Bagmati, Gandaki, and Koshi have reached this significant milestone. However, challenges persist in the Madhesh and Karnali provinces, where full literacy declarations are still pending.

Local Level Literacy Challenges

Digging deeper into the challenges, there are eight districts in Madhesh Province and five districts in Karnali Province yet to be declared fully literate. These provinces collectively encompass 172 local levels, with only 24 of them having achieved full literacy. The data reveals that 161 local levels in these two provinces are still on the journey towards their literacy goals.

Province District Total Local Level Literate Local Level Not Announced 
Madhesh Province Dhanusha 18 0 18
  Bara 16 0 16
  Parsa 14 0 14
  Rautahat 18 0 18
  Mahottari 15 0 15
  Sarlahi 20 0 20
  Siraha 17 0 17
  Saptari 18 2 16
Karnali Province Mugu 4 0 4
  Humla 8 0 8
  Kalikot 9 1 8
  Jumla 7 6 1
  Dolpa 8 2 6
  Total 172 24 161

The Importance of Local-Level Literacy

It's essential to recognize the significance of local-level literacy initiatives. These efforts are crucial for achieving the overarching goal of universal literacy. Saptari, Kalikot, Jumla, and Dolpa are among the few districts that have successfully declared some local levels as fully literate, but the path forward remains challenging in the rest of the districts.


Nepal's ongoing commitment to literacy and education is a testament to its dedication to building a sustainable and peaceful society. The nation's progress and challenges are a reminder that achieving universal literacy requires concerted efforts at all levels of society. It is a time for reflection, continued action, and collaboration to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity to read, learn, and prosper.

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