The European Union (EU) continues its support to Nepal’s education sector and has just released €19 094 900 (equivalent to almost NPR 2.4 billion) directly to the Government of Nepal. This is the first disbursement of the EU's current education sector budget support totaling €56,500,000 (equivalent to just over NPR 7 billion 94 million). The allocated fund has been disbursed as part of the EU’s efforts in making a continuous contribution to Nepal’s education sector.
"Nepal's school sector is right now adjusting to the realities of the new federal state structure and the EU is a committed partner of Nepal in this endeavor. This is an opportunity to accelerate reforms benefitting all girls and boys equitably to allow them a better preparation for a productive life after school." EU Ambassador to Nepal Veronica Cody stated.
Education reform is a key priority for the Government of Nepal, because a well-educated, innovative population is essential for sustainable development and shared prosperity. The EU has been a partner of Nepal in this endeavor for almost two decades, directly working with national plans and using Nepal’s own administrative systems. What started as cooperation on basic education has over the years grown to a comprehensive partnership also encompassing secondary education, technical and vocational training and, through the Erasmus programme, also higher education.
The sound progress of the School Sector Development Program (SSDP) is evidenced by the increase in the net enrolment rate (NER) for basic education (G1-8) from 89.4% in 2015/16 to 92.3% in 2017/18. Similarly, the share of students repeating classes continues to decline as shown by an increase in the grade 8 survival rate from 75.9% to 77.4%. Moreover, the number of new entrants in grade 1 with preschool experience continues to increase (from 64.7% in 2016/17 to 66.3% in 2017/18). These are important accomplishments for basic education in Nepal at a time when the country is transitioning to a federal form of governance.
According to a press release issued by Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, the SSDP builds on the results of previous programs, such as the School Sector Reform Plan, and the achievements made towards the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, a key objective of the SSDP is to transform the gains in access into enhanced quality learning outcomes –the ultimate litmus test- and to improve the safety of school buildings, which is crucial in an earthquake prone country. It follows a sector wide approach, bringing key stakeholders- government, teacher and parent organizations, civil society as well as development partners together, and thus enhances coordination, impact and results in the education sector.