Government of Nepal, Ministry of Education on 16th of Falgun published School Sector Development Plan 2016-2023 (BS 2073—2080). You can read executive summary here and also download the full documents from the link given here
The Government of Nepal has developed the School Sector Development Plan (SSDP) for the July 2016 to July 2023 period to continue its efforts to ensure equitable access to quality education for all. A programme has been developed for the first five years (2016-2021) of this seven-year plan. The SSDP was developed through a participatory process led by the Ministry of Education, and is in line with the country's vision of graduating from the status of a Least Developed Country by 2022. Furthermore, the SSDP is considered an important vessel to enable Nepal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to reach the goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030. The main drivers of the plan’s content are the achievements, lessons learned and unfinished agenda of the Education For All programme (EFA) (2004-2009) and the School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP) (2009– 2016) under the Education For All National Plan of Action (2001–2015).
The SSDP’s vision to ‘Contribute to the development of self-sustainable, competitive, innovative and value-oriented citizens for the socioeconomic transformation of the nation,’ and its mission ‘to produce the needed human resources to elevate Nepal’s status from a Least Developed Country by 2022 and to reach the status of a middle-income country by 2030’ have been reflected in the Plan’s goal:
To contribute to socioeconomic development and reduce disparities in the country through the continuous and inclusive development of its human resources capacity by facilitating all citizens with opportunities to become functionally literate, numerate, and to develop the basic life skills and knowledge required to enjoy a productive life, taking into account the diversity of context and needs and with regards to the forthcoming federalization of the country.
The SSDP’s theory of change is based on strengthening the school education sector in its core dimensions, through a number of key result areas within and across these dimensions, in order for the SSDP to achieve its goal, these dimensions are:
Equity: To ensure that the education system is inclusive and equitable in terms of access, participation and learning outcomes, with a special focus on reducing disparities among and between groups having the lowest levels of access, participation and learning outcomes.
Quality: To increase students’ learning through enhancing the relevance and quality of the learning environment, the curriculum, teaching and learning materials (including textbooks), teaching methods, assessment and examinations.
Efficiency: To strengthen and reorient governance and management systems in the education sector to make them robust and accountable to local governments while assuring agreed overall minimum standards in teaching and learning processes and the learning environment.
Governance and management: To accommodate the political and administrative restructuring of the education sector in line with the identified needs and the federal context and to ensure sustainable financing and strong financial management by introducing a cost-sharing modality between central, provincial, and local governments.
Resilience: To mainstream comprehensive school safety and disaster risk reduction in the education sector by strengthening school-level disaster management and resilience amongst schools, students and communities and to ensure that schools are protected from conflict.
The Constitution of Nepal (2015) entails reorientation of the governance and management of the educational system and its delivery mechanisms, especially to meet the new guarantees of free and compulsory basic education and free secondary education. The increased powers of local bodies under the new constitution call for realigning the roles of school management committees (SMCs). The June 2016 amended Education Act enables structural and functional reforms.
Taking the SSRP as a point of departure, the SSDP has improving the quality of education as its central focus while safeguarding the achievements made under SSRP on improving access to education. While the plan aims to further improve access, it puts more emphasis on equitable access to overcome the disparities suffered by children from disadvantaged groups, children with disabilities and children from remote areas.
The SSDP is also designed to address two major contemporary challenges. It supports ‘building back better’ after the earthquakes of April and May 2015 and improving disaster risk reduction in the aftermaths of the damage to the school infrastructure and the lessons learned on school safety. It also sets the scene for the reforms demanded by the move to a federal system of government, although the detailed shape of these reforms will only become evident in the first years of the SSDP. These reforms will be a priority focus of the government and it is thus recognised that a smooth transition to federalisation in the management of educational services is crucial.
The SSDP encompasses Nepal’s school education sector, including non-formal education, with basic education covering one year of early childhood education and development and pre-primary education (ECED/PPE) to grade 8 and secondary education grades 9 to 12.
The objectives with regard to basic education are to develop the physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and moral potential for all 4-12-year-old children, through ensuring school readiness and universal access to quality basic education for all 4–12-year-old children and readiness for secondary education by students gaining the required learning competencies, and to promote life skills and value-based education and impart early orientation on the national economy and harmony in socio-cultural diversity. To ensure school readiness, one year of ECED/PPE is incorporated as part of the basic education cycle under the SSDP. Measures will be taken under the SSDP to increase the enrolment of children from vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Furthermore, minimum quality standards will be assured by bringing ECED/PPE services in to schools. Increasing the educational attainment of children with disabilities entails institutionalizing support systems that include early screening and interventions through closer coordination between the health and education ministries and a move from special and segregated education services. The rationale of including NFE under basic education is that NFE programmes such as flexible education schemes help bring children that are out-of-school back into formal education and provides alternative basic education for older children and adults who are unlikely or unable to enter or re- enter formal education. While overcoming access disparities is important, improving the quality of basic education remains the SSDP’s priority. For this, the SSDP focuses on improving access to safe environments that enable learning, improving access to and the quality of non-formal education and
strengthening peer support mechanisms for children. This focus encompasses the establishment of quality learning environments. Children need access to education in safe schools with resilient infrastructure and child-friendly environments free from bullying and harassment. An adequate and enabling learning environment will mean that basic education schools comply with minimum enabling conditions, build the logistical and teacher capacity to promote teaching in mother tongue languages and use mother tongues as a medium of instruction, and have quality relevant curricula in place that are regularly adjusted to suit the differing abilities of students on the basis of reliable assessments.
The objectives for secondary education are to make students ready for the world of work by developing skilled human resources, focus on access to education without compromising quality, provide options and accredited learning pathways for students between technical and general secondary education, strengthen institutional links and facilitate the transition to higher education, prepare students to uphold and fulfil their civic duties and ensure the acquisition of foundation skills through technical and vocational education at secondary level that will enable adolescents to acquire skill sets. For this, the SSDP aims to put more focus on ensuring access to and the quality and relevance of secondary education. This will include enforcing the fulfilment of MECs in secondary schools and targeted allocations to reduce disparities between schools to meet them. Furthermore, the SSDP aims to strengthen pathways and bridges that enable students to shift between more academic to applied focused education. It also prioritizes maths and science, which include providing an adequate supply of subject specialist teachers. This calls for reform of the curriculum and textbooks to better align with levels and streams. Another key requirement is the appointment of head teachers with management skills. Furthermore, the SSDP aims to strengthen technical and vocational education in secondary schools by introducing measures that develop qualified and technical human resources capable of earning decent incomes. This will be achieved through consolidation of the technical-vocational curricula in the secondary level (classes 9 to 12) and introduce a broad National Vocational Qualifications Framework to accredit institutions that deliver vocational education. MoE will also invest in creating opportunities for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, while developing teachers who are qualified in technical subjects. SSDP recognises that a strategic partnership with the private sector is needed to successfully develop and sustain technical and vocational education.
The objective with regard to literacy and lifelong learning is to enhance functional literacy and cultivate reading and learning habits among youths and adults. Literacy and lifelong learning have a large role to play in education reform in Nepal in the light of the large number of low skilled workers, and the poor fit between tertiary education and labour market needs. Current literacy initiatives comprise programmes for basic, post-literacy and income generating activities, with a focus on women. Community learning centres (CLCs) help deliver literacy and lifelong learning programmes.
Besides these sub sectors, the SSDP focuses on a number of cross-cutting themes, as presented below:
Teacher professional development and management; ensuring quality and needs-based teacher professional development and performance-based teacher management are some of the main elements in SSDP’s theory of change. With an investment of around 70% of the total SSDP budget, teacher salaries are considered as the prime resource to establish quality
education. Strong ownership of SSDP’s programme by teacher professional organizations is crucial, even more so with respect to the need to transform the teacher management and professional development structure to accommodate the upcoming decentralization of the education system under the federal system.
Governance and Management; the implementation of federalism in the country is expected to revise the responsibilities of federal (or national), provincial and local levels in terms of education planning, management and budgeting. Implementing the resulting reforms and restructuring institutional arrangements will consume the education sector in the initial SSDP period. The SSDP will introduce performance-based management and resourcing at the school level. A scaling system to rank community schools on the basis of several indicators related to education achievement, school governance and facilities available will be developed and implemented.
Institutional Capacity Development; as the implementation of the federal structure is expected to be initiated in the first one to three years of the SSDP period, with institutionalization in the medium term (3–5 years), the first years of SSDP implementation need to be used to prepare the system for this transformation, both in terms of the management and funding structures as well as in building human and institutional capacities. The SSDP envisions enhanced capacities, particularly of VDCs, municipalities, PTAs and SMCs, including related to their responsibilities for monitoring the performance of schools.
Monitoring and Evaluation; achievement against the SSDP results is the main means of monitoring the implementation of SSDP. The framework contains the indicators for measuring progress in each sub-sector and cross-cutting area. MoE and its development partners will review the sector’s performance at joint annual reviews and a joint mid-term evaluation, which will be conducted by an external evaluator approximately half-way through SSDP implementation.
Examination and Assessment; the SSDP will build on the achievements of SSRP with an emphasis on making both formative and summative assessments more skills and learner focused rather than content focused. More time will be spent helping teachers understand the use of formative and summative exams to target their teaching and to thereby improve learning outcomes. For this purpose, there needs to be a greater cohesion of curriculum, textbooks and assessment and a move from the assessment of learning to assessment for learning.
ICT in Education; a long-term goal of education in Nepal is to provide citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to work for the development of the country and to integrate Nepal into the global community. To achieve this goal, the Government of Nepal is working to ensure access to quality basic education for all and to develop work and job market relevant education. With the expanding role of information and communication technology (ICT) in all areas of life, MoE considers the use of and knowledge of ICT essential.
Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery; the focus of DRR under the SSDP programme is the safe reconstruction, repair and retro-maintenance of schools in earthquake-affected areas and the safe construction and retrofitting of schools in non-affected areas. The concept of
safe schools covers all three pillars of the comprehensive school safety framework of (i) safe infrastructure, (ii) strengthened disaster risk management and (iii) strengthened resilience in communities and among stakeholders. In order to ensure access for all children to a safe enabling learning environment, comprehensive disaster risk reduction and school safety programmes are envisioned in all schools. These programmes will also improve disaster management and resilience in communities.
Health and Nutrition; the SSDP takes a holistic approach in terms of children’s well-being as an imperative for learning outcomes. As such the Plan aims to increase health and nutrition services in schools, including the provision of deworming, micronutrient supplementation and malaria treatment as well as vision and hearing screening. Furthermore, for all schools to have functional water and sanitation facilities that are environmentally sound and user- friendly for children, boys and girls and differently-abled students and teachers. To strengthen participation and learning outcomes, minimizing the drop-out rate of adolescent girls by fulfilling their privacy and menstrual hygiene management related needs. Finally, the SSDP aims to promote healthy behaviours through skills-based health education including HIV/AIDS prevention, hygiene and nutrition. The knowledge, attitudes, values and skills developed will enable children to stay healthy and safe long after they leave school.
SSDP programme - The SSDP programme will be implemented at a time when Nepal is going through major state restructuring as it moves towards federal and provincial levels of government as per the new constitution and school restructuring following the recent passage and enactment of the amended Education Act. Although preparations to facilitate this restructuring process have been initiated, it is assumed that the major organizational restructuring of MoE and the central level agencies that come under it will only occur after three years of the beginning of the SSDP programme. The SSDP programme governance and implementation arrangements will be undertaken through the two-pronged strategy of (i) the development of a roadmap for restructuring and realigning MoE in relation to the transition to the federal system; and (ii) strengthening existing implementation arrangements through improved programme management, technical oversight and coordination.
The SSDP expenditure (excluding a part of construction activities) is estimated to be $10.66 billion for the entire seven-year SSDP (2016–23), $6.5 billion for the five-year SSDP programme (2016-21) and $3.3 billion for the first three years of the SSDP (2016–18). This estimate includes both ongoing expenditure and additional programme budget requirements to implement SSDP. Capital costs account for 9.1% in the first three and five years and decline slightly thereafter. The cost of the DRR programme that is being implemented under the NRA framework is not included in this cost. The required amount (including DRR) is higher than the available resource envelope for all three cycles. However, the cost of SSDP excluding a part of the DRR programme (about 70% of total DRR costs) falls within the resource envelope under a plausible scenario. All DRR expenditure contributes to achieving SSDP results; but that this allocation falls outside the MoE resource envelope. SSDP programme will support expenditure from 2016 to 2021. Most SSDP programme expenditure will go for basic education (ECED/PPE to grade 8) followed by secondary education (grades 9 to 12). However, in comparison to the SSRP period, the share of secondary education is estimated to increase under the SSDP (25.4%) considering the new secondary education programmes.