Nepal Education Sector Early Grade Reading Assessment Report
In line with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) new Education Strategy, USAID/Nepal is interested in developing a program to help improve reading outcomes in the early grades of primary school. USAID contracted with RTI International to conduct a rapid education sector assessment focused on understanding the current context for supporting early grade reading in Nepal. The team identified six key issues related to the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for Nepal to mount a significant national program to improve reading outcomes.
The education sector in Nepal appears well managed, with broad government and development partner collaboration around a well-defined School Sector Reform Program (SSRP). The vast majority of external assistance is aligned currently to the SSRP through a well-coordinated sector-wide approach (SWAp). The focus of the SSRP has been primarily on moving Nepal forward towards the Education for All (EFA) goals. The country has made great progress in expanding access and improving equity, achieving a net enrollment rate in basic education of close to 95% with gender parity. However, recent review of the SSRP surfaced concern over the quality of education, and in particular whether students are learning to read well enough in the early grades of basic education. Related to the growing concern about early grade reading in Nepal are several key trends and issues in the education sector.