The Constitution of Nepal (2015) states that every citizen shall have the right to get compulsory education up to the basic level (5 to 9 years old) and free education up to the secondary level (from 10 to 15 years old). Free secondary education shall be provided to Dalits, Janjati, girls and students who are below the poverty line. Citizens with disabilities and the economically disadvantagedcitizens shall have the right to free higher education. Pre-school education is one year (at 4 years of age). Regarding fees, the Government provides textbook free of cost to the students enrolled in community (public) schools.
Government spending in education in 2018 was US $ 1.2 billion, corresponding to 14.1% of total government expenditure. School-aged population in basic education is 7.11 million (2.8 million in primary and 4.3 million in secondary), out of a total population of 28.09 million in 2018. The average annual household consumption of Nepal in 2015/16 was NPR 322 730 and 4% was spent on education. Considering that in Nepal there are 5.427 million households, annual household consumption in education is NPR 70 billion (US$ 580 million), corresponding to 62% of government expenditure in education and 2.7% of GDP (GDP is US$21.19 billion).
In 2014-2015, approximately 15% of primary students and 20% of secondary students were enrolled in private institutions. Schools run by religious institutions may be provided with financial support by the Government once they are registered with the District Education Office. Parents pay for registration, tuition, boarding, uniforms, school supplies, and other fees. The amount of fees is fixed by the school management committees and varies with students’ grade.
In terms of financial mechanisms, the Ministry of Education (MOE) supervises, manages and funds fully or partly the public institutions. At the regional level, there are Regional Education Directorates. At the local level there are District Development Committees (DDCs), Village Development Committees (VDCS) and Municipalities. Each committee funds its activities through a DDC (or VDC) Grant Fund for the funding received from the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MOLD), and through the District/Village Development Fund for the use of their own resources. In Education, they support community schools and ECD Centres mainly for renovating facilities and equipment, but also for salaries of facilitators and sometimes teachers. Community schools operate under the supervision of the District Education Offices (DEOs). Community schools can be fully aided, partially aided or unaided. The Government funds on a quarterly basis to pay salaries of teachers and other staff, and provides grants for operating costs and conditional grants for specific purposes. In addition, schools can receive financial support from VDCs and/or DDCs, NGOs and the community.
The School Sector Development Plan (2016/17-2022/23) included equity as one of five key dimensions. The strategic directions include an equity index, scholarships and incentive schemes, and strengthening the institutional capacity to provide inclusive education for students with disabilities and special needs. Nepal has also developed a Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Education Sector (2014).
The midday meals program implemented by the government has two modalities: food-based modality in 10 districts (food is cooked on-site and served at midday) and cash-based modality in 9 districts, where cash is directly provided to the schools, to provide a midday meal. The program reached 600 thousand schoolchildren in basic education in 2017 (8.5% of the school-aged population in basic education). Schools located in the hills and plains receive NPR 15 per child per meal (US$0.13) and schools in the mountains receive NPR 20 (US$0.18) to serve a midday meal for children from pre-primary to grade 5, for 200 days a year, corresponding to approximately US$ 18.6 million (1.6% of total education expenditure).
As part of the Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Education Sector in Nepal, the Ministry of Education (MOE), supported by UNICEF and other stakeholders, had implemented in 2010 the National Framework on Child-Friendly Schools and Minimum Standards for Quality Education in 30 districts and 1,200 schools. The purpose was to improve children’s access to child-friendly primary education that is socially inclusive, and conflict- and gender-sensitive, to enable children, girls and disadvantaged children in particular, to complete a basic education cycle and transition to lower secondary. The total funds were US$ 3.6 million (0.3% of total education expenditure) in 2010. Some of the activities contemplated in this program are separate girls’ toilet with water and sanitation and a separate book corner in every class.
Scholarships are provided for vulnerable groups. The popular scholarship programs include a variety of grants, including the Dalit scholarship, the 100% Girls' Scholarship Program (GSP), poor and talented scholarship, disability scholarship, scholarship for marginalized or endangered, pro-poor targeted scholarship (PPTS), conflict affected scholarship, scholarship to the children of Martyrs, marginalized scholarship, institutional school scholarship, and others. The Dalit and girls grant scheme consists of an amount starting from NRP 450 to NRP 600 (US$ 3.61 to 4.94) per student per year. Nearly 80,000 students at primary and secondary level received the scholarship in the school year 2015-16, 1.1% of the primary and secondary school-aged population. In the FY 2014/15, the government allocated more than NRP 2.18 billion (US$ 18 million, corresponding to 1.5% of total education expenditure) for scholarship distribution through the District Education Offices and local bodies. The Government of Nepal also received a GPE grant (2016-2019). The equity access component was US$ 2.4 million to implement the scholarship scheme.
There is no publicly available information on this topic.