Education is a tool that contributes to the country’s overall development. However, the country’s educational institutions, particularly in rural areas witness low attendance. Of those who attend schools, a majority of them continue to drop out. There are many factors associated with it - financial problems, necessity to work and household chores.

However, Family Health International (FHI) Nepal’s survey in 11 districts in the country includes both rural and urban young people between the age group of 14 to 22.

According to the report, estimated attendance of the students differed significantly. Some groups said that as much as 70 per cent of young people attended schools in their community whereas others gave a very low percentage of between 5 to 25 per cent.

However, among the drop out students, 60 per cent were boys and 40 per cent girls. The number of girls reduced to a handful after the tenth grade.

The groups attributed positive attitudes to receiving education such as openness to arranged marriages, better in-law relationships, good maternal and prenatal care and greater marital satisfaction.

Many participants showed interest in attending schools for a bright future and good opportunities, the report pointes out. However, several groups highlighted the frailties of the current education system.

The educated rural male between the age of 21 to 22 of Jhapa stressed on the need to provide “more technical education” to the youth as “many young graduates are staying idle.”

The educated male respondents of Kaski, between the age group of 18 to 22 responded that the education is impractical thereby leading to frustration as the students reach higher classes. As a result they get addicted to drugs and engage in other bad habits instead of concentrating on education.

Lack of financial resources, distance from school and the necessity to work were found to be major reasons for school drop-outs. The middle class families take interest in education but “the lower class work to make the ends meet,” said the respondents of Dhankuta.

On the other hand, household chores prevent the girls form attending schools. The educated youth of Jhapa pointed out that the girls drop out of schools because they are required to do household chores and take care of their siblings, the report says.

Other reasons for school drop-outs are academic failure and families’ inability to pay the school fees. On the other hand, girls quit studies due to early marriage and restriction of their mobility.

“In the studied communities where there were no secondary schools, children had to travel outside their villages to attend schools, participants responded that girls there rarely received secondary education,” states the report.

Parental support also plays a major role in educating children. “Parents from the Brahmin and Chhetri castes encourage their children to study while that of lower castes rarely bother,” the report quotes the educated urban youth of Kaski.