New plan pushes for better access to quality education

Kathmandu, March 1

The government has developed School Sector Development Plan (2016-2023) to continue its efforts to ensure equitable access to quality education for all.

According to the Ministry of Education, a programme has been developed for the first five years (2016-2021) of the seven-year plan. The School Sector Development Plan was devised through a participatory process led by the education ministry and is in line with the country’s vision of graduating from the status of a Least Developed Country by 2022.

Furthermore, the School Sector Development Plan is considered an important vessel to enable Nepal to achieve 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 achievements, lessons learned and unfinished agenda of the Education for All programme (2004-2009) and the School Sector Reform Plan (2009– 2016) under the Education for All National Plan of Action (2001–2015).

The School Sector Development Plan reads that its vision is to ‘contribute to the development of self-sustainable, competitive, innovative and value-oriented citizens for socioeconomic transformation of the nation’.

“The constitution entails reorientation of governance and management of educational system and its delivery mechanisms, especially to meet new guarantees of free and compulsory basic education and free secondary education. Increased powers of local bodies under the new constitution call for realigning the roles of school management committees,” it says.

“Taking the School Sector Reform Plan as a point of departure, the School Sector Development Plan has been improving the quality of education and safeguarding the achievements on improving access to education. While the plan aims to further improve access, it puts more emphasis on equitable access to overcome disparities suffered by children from disadvantaged groups, children with disabilities and children from remote areas,” it adds.

The School Sector Development Programme 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 school infrastructure and lessons learned on school safety. It also sets the scene for 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 School Sector Development Plan.

“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,” it says.

The School Sector Development Plan encompasses Nepal’s school education sector, including non-formal education, with basic education covering one year of early childhood education. The School Sector Development Plan programme will be implemented at a time when Nepal is going through 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.