July 11: In continuation of its support to Nepal’s education sector, the European Union (EU) has recently released €19,094,900 (equivalent to almost Rs 2.4 billion) directly to the Government of Nepal. This is the first disbursement of the EU's current education sector budget support totalling €56,500,000 (equivalent to just over Rs 7 billion 94 million), reads a statement issued by the EU. The allocated fund has been disbursed as part of the EU’s efforts in making a continuous contribution to Nepal’s education sector.
"Nepal's school sector is right now adjusting to the realities of the new federal state structure and the EU is a committed partner of Nepal in this endeavour. This is an opportunity to accelerate reforms benefitting all girls and boys equitably to allow them a better preparation for a productive life after school," the statement quoted EU Ambassador to Nepal Veronica Cody as saying.
The EU said it has been a partner of Nepal in this endeavour for almost two decades, directly working with national plans and using Nepal’s own administrative systems. What started as cooperation on basic education has over the years grown to a comprehensive partnership also encompassing secondary education, technical and vocational training and, through the Erasmus programme.
According to the EU, the sound progress of the School Sector Development Programme (SSDP) is evidenced by the increase in the net enrolment rate (NER) for basic education (G1-8) from 89.4 percent in 2015/16 to 92.3 percent in 2017/18. Similarly, the share of students repeating classes continues to decline as shown by an increase in the grade 8 survival rate from 75.9 percent to 77.4 percent. Moreover, the number of new entrants in grade 1 with preschool experience continues to increase from 64.7 percent in 2016/17 to 66.3 percent in 2017/18, according to the statement. These are important accomplishments for basic education in Nepal at a time when the country is transitioning to a federal form of governance.