Himalayan Learning supports over 30 schools in Nepal. The map below shows the general location of some of them. Each school has at least 20 sponsored children in.
The school is often the centre point of any village and the place where many local festivals and organisations take place.
Most Nepali schools are run-down and very badly constructed with no windows, doors, or benches, and usually no water, toilets, or electricity. Many don’t even have enough classrooms or benches and children are taught outside.
This graph shows the number of schools in Nepal. You can see that the government has prioritised primary education, but lower and higher secondary schools are few.
Classes and exams
The school system in Nepal is structured into primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools. Only primary school is compulsory, and there are very few schools above primary level.
Children start school in Nepal aged around 3-5 years old and the average time spent in school is only about 2-3 years. Most children never complete primary school.
At the end of secondary school, those children remaining in the system have to take the national School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam. The SLC is known in Nepal as the “Iron Gate” and many do not pass.
This graph shows that the number of children going to school has grown at primary level, but still most children do not attend lower or higher secondary school.
Fees and funding
Many organisations, including the Nepali government describe education as free in Nepal. However, most schools charge fees because the government does not provide them with enough money to run the school.
In particular, many schools do not receive enough money to pay for a teacher in each class. So the school hires a local teacher, and splits their salary across the students, charging each a fee.
This general lack of funding means that schools are inadequate and classes are over-subscribed with 70-150 in each class. They are also usually long distances from homes which can be a real problem in the cold and wet weather.
Reasons for leaving
Most children are desperate to go to school. However, the drop out rate is very high. This chart shows the reasons children give for dropping out.
Most of these reasons are related to poverty and a lack of education. Generally boys leave school because their parents want them to start working full time. Girls on the other hand also leave because of cultural requirements, such as getting married.