Policy framework on non-formal education to be submitted soon

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 6:

The government is finally on the verge of making a policy to strengthen non-formal education (NFE), 40 years after the concept was introduced and scores of project were run under the same title. “We have been stressing the importance of NFE, specially for middle-aged people, who failed to attend school. We realised we lacked a national strategic policy to develop it. So, we are planning to submit a national policy framework for NFE development by the month’s end,” said Dr Bidhyanath Koirala, coordinator of the report-making committee.

The framework for the policy, being developed with technical support from DANIDA, started a year ago. This included consultations with experts, field research works and contextualising it into the present Nepali context.

The framework promises to provide a condensed curriculum to the 8-18 year-olds who could not attend school and those who dropped out. On completion of the first package, the qualification will considered equivalent to grade III of formal education; and the second package will be equivalent to grade V, according to the framework draft. Koirala added the framework defines the role of NFE as not only the means to increase the literacy rate, but also as a strong tool to link NFE with formal education, hence helping achieve the world-wide goals of Education For All (EFA). The framework also makes a provision for NFE students to enable them to be eligible to join formal education after sitting for entrance examinations.

The NFE also aims to run an Open University for higher education, which will offer extensive educational programmes for professional development of all NFE students. The framework states NFE will provide “life skill education” and “formal education” to the group of 15-45 year olds.

The government allocates Rs 170 million or 1.5 per cent of the total education budget to NFE. Haribol Khanal, director at NFE Centre at the Department of Education (DoE), said the centre has been facing numerous problems due to lack of policy. Targets are not met, the programmes either fail or are repeated, and the results have been minimum, he said.

The policy for NFE programmes is mentioned as sub-division in the Education Act 1971, and in the 10th five-year national plan as a supporting programme, which aims at increasing adult literacy rate to 50 per cent by 2015.