Kathmandu, February 6
Officials of the Ministry of Education today said bringing cent per cent children to schools was still a challenge for the government.
According to the Department of Education, although the primary school enrollment rate stands at 97 per cent, three per cent children were still out of schools. Although Nepal has made significant progress on access to schooling and enrollment rates in primary education, dropout rates and low levels of learning still remain challenges for the government.
Speaking at the sixth Annual General Meeting of National Campaign for Education today, Khagraj Baral, director general of DoE, said enrolling the remaining three per cent children, who are still out of schools, is one of the major challenges for the government.
He said providing quality education is also another challenge for the government. He clarified that the schools in the Tarai region has not been able to recall students who were used for carrying petroleum products while the schools were shut during Madhes agitation.
“Quality of learning is a major issue as children are not achieving class-appropriate learning levels,” he said, adding, “There is a need of coordination and cooperation between all concerned to improve the quality of education. The government alone cannot do anything so all concerned need to support the government.”
Mukunda Mani Khanal, under secretary, Ministry of Education claimed that the reconstruction of schools damaged in the earthquakes last year were delayed due to blockade at border entry points. “Since the blockade is being lifted gradually, we will speed up reconstruction of schools damaged in the earthquakes,” he said.
He stated that the children who are out of schools belong to communities such as Thami, Jirel and others so the government’s future programmes should target children from such communities to achieve cent per cent enrollment rate.
Educationist Mana Prasad Wagley stressed on the need to define grade I to grade XII as school education in the Education Act. He said, “The government has been expressing commitment in this regard in international forums but not implementing them.” He said schools should be made a politics-free zone to improve education quality, adding, ”It is difficult to improve quality of education if teachers continue to engage in politics.”
A version of this article appears in print on February 07, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.