Nepalese children back to school - Finland supports the continuation of Nepalese education during the COVID-19 pandemia

Nepalese children back to school - Finland supports the continuation of Nepalese education during the COVID-19 pandemia

Nepalese schools have been closed since March. The Nepalese authorities have drawn up a response plan to reopen schools and searching ways to provide distance education as the corona pandemia continues. Finland and other donors support Nepal's efforts to continue educating children. Finland will contribute EUR 2.5 million by decision of the Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Ville Skinnari.

Two children reading a school book.
Photo: Indra Gurung

In the current situation of covid-19, it is important that the reforms and great results already achieved in Nepal's education sector in recent years are not wasted.  Nepalese education authorities have developed a separate covid-19 response plan that complements the activities of the ongoing National Education Sector Development Program in order to minimize known risks.

An estimated 8.2 million Nepalese children are out of school due to school closures. As a direct consequence, the final exams were cancelled for grades 10-12, for instance.

In addition, during the pandemic, schools have been widely used as quarantine facilities. The UN estimates that as many as 500,000 migrant workers are expected to return to Nepal. If no alternative facilities are found for quarantine centers, it will be more difficult to reopen schools.

Prolonged social and school closures are estimated to have a negative impact on the beginning of the coming school year. Problems are anticipated in, among other things, enrollment in schools and drop-outs, quality of teaching, the allocation of funds spent on teaching and learning outcomes. In addition, in the long run, negative spill-over effects can be expected on jobs in the education sector, the accumulation of human capital and thus also on the development of the country as a whole.

In the spring, the Nepalese Ministry of Education issued a formal request to all donors for support. So far, in addition to Finland, Unicef, the EU, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, Save the Children and the Global Partnership of Education (GPE) have promised support. Support is channeled through the Nepal Education Sector Development Program (SSDP).

The objectives of the project are 1. Ensuring adequate management and coordination capacity, 2. Preventing infections and strengthening resilience 3. Ensuring the continuity of inclusive education.