In this article we would like to talk about a very unique and beautiful country which every year attracts thousands of tourists who want to experience its magnificent culture and atmosphere. This country is fascinating indeed: for instance, it can be proud to be a home for the only living goddess in the world. That is true: these goddesses are little girls who are said to manifest divine female energy on earth. These girls are worshipped by thousands of people, live in temples, and retire only when they grow up. The country where all this is possible is the beautiful and mysterious Nepal.
Education Issues in Nepal
Despite its rich and exciting culture, Nepal is the country with a very low literacy level. Only a little over 50% of the population of Nepal know how to read and write. Women in Nepal are less literate than men – only 42% percent of women are literate, whereas 68% of men can read and write. There are a number of reasons why parents do not want their children to attend classes. First of all, although schools are free of charge, they do not get many investments; therefore, parents are forced to pay for the school needs.
For low-income families this is quite problematic. Besides, for many families to send a child to school means to lose a worker which leads to big financial problems in these families. Another reason why for some children it is hard to study in school is that only around 50% of children in this country can speak the official language of Nepal: the rest of the children speak local languages and are not bilingual. Today, however, the language situation is getting better: while Nepali is still the major language of instruction, local languages are also used in school in rural areas as well as Sanskrit and English (higher education).
How Did the Education System of Nepal Develop?
In fact, the education system of Nepal is one of the newest systems in the world. The first contemporary school in this country appeared only in the 1960s. Before that not everybody could afford to study in school because they were for the elites: mostly people were studying in various male Buddhist monasteries, and less often – in female monasteries. A big role in the education of the population of the country was played by home schooling and Gurukula.
Gurukula is a very interesting school system when students stay with their guru, often at the same house, learn from this person and help him with his everyday life. Countryside children started to go to school only recently. It is worth to be mentioned that education in Nepal has improved greatly over the last several decades: in 1980 the literacy rate was only 20%, whereas today it is 54%. Taking these numbers into account, we can say that Nepal is actually having some progress and, hopefully, these numbers will increase much more with time.
Structure of Schools
So what is the school structure in Nepal? The system consists of a few levels: the first level is primary school which includes grades 1 to 5; the second level is lower secondary level which includes grades 6 to 8; the third level is secondary school which is grades 9 to 10. The pre-school education in Nepal is not very common and is available only at certain regions. After school students can start to attend a university and get their Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degree. To obtain the Bachelor’s degree it takes from three to five years depending on a person’s specialization, whereas Master’s program is usually two years long.
Tibhuvan and Kathmandu Universities
The two best universities of Nepal are Tibhuvan University and Kathmandu University. Tibhuvan University, which is one of the fifth oldest universities in the country, consists of nine faculties and schools. They are as follows: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, Institute of Science and Technology, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Management, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Institute of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and Institute of Forestry. This school is public and, therefore, less costly than other institutions because it gets funds from the government. Kathmandu University, on the contrary, is an independent public school which was founded in 1991. Today it offers Bachelor’s, Master’, and Ph.D. programs in various subjects, just like Tibhuvan University.
Students Got an Opportunity to Study Abroad
A lot of Nepali students leave their country and go to study abroad. According to the statistics, the most popular countries for students from Nepal to study abroad are the United States of America, Australia, Japan, India, the United Kingdom, and Cyprus. In 2010 more than 24,000 Nepali students studied abroad, and this number is rapidly growing every year. For Nepali students who study in the US, the most popular subjects are engineering, management, life sciences, physical sciences, and business.
This is true that Nepal has a lot of education issues and struggles through numerous problems in this area; however, this is understandable because the education system of Nepal is so young that it needed and still needs plenty of time to get more and more successful. And the progress is obvious. More and more programs are introduced to help a bigger number of children to start attending schools. Education in Nepal gets more available for people from different social classes, and there is a big chance that it will get much better soon.