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Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Themes Education
Education Strategic Plan

Brief Context

Education is a major national issue in Nepal receiving considerable funds from the government and donor agencies yet issues of quality, equity, management, access and inclusion still remain. One of the greatest challenges to Nepal’s education system is the need to ensure that access to quality public education systems is inclusive for all groups of students and to reduce the achievement gap between students of different economic circumstances, caste, ethnicity and gender. Another major obstacle is improving the quality of education as lecture style teaching and rote learning is still prevalent in schools and colleges. Teaching children to think critically and develop presentation skills will require major investments in teacher training, and classroom and teaching material development.

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

The major strategic areas for intervention within education in Nepal are quality, access and management.

The most important strategic intervention in education is to improve quality, access and administrative management in the education sector. ASD will support local innovative initiatives that work on our major strategic areas for intervention, quality, access and management.  ASD will promote the involvement of local and regional stakeholders to help in improving the quality of education by holding discussion sessions with Parent Teacher Associations, School Management Committees, students, District Education Officials, Student Unions, retired teachers, Government education agencies, Policy think tanks, and local civil society organizations. Depending on the platform activities and research, policy briefs will be prepared on pressing issues related to the education sector.

Vision:

Promote quality and equity in public education institutions of Nepal inclusive of caste, ethnicity, gender and economic status.

Goal:

Ensure inclusive access to quality education

Objective

  • Facilitate dialogue among education stakeholders

Stakeholders: PTA, SMC, Teachers, Parents, Students, Student Unions, Retired Teachers, DEO

  • Identify policy gaps in the education sector to formulate policy briefs

Stakeholders: Government education agencies, education institutions and policy think tanks

  • Facilitate grant-making to support local initiatives to address existing gaps in education

Stakeholders: Local civil society organizations

Major strategic areas in Education:

  • Access and Equity: To make sure access to public education systems are inclusive for all groups of students and to reduce the achievement gap between students of different economic circumstances, castes, ethnicity and gender
  • Quality Education: To ensure quality education in public schools and colleges by helping create capable teachers and by creating accountability
  • Management: To strengthen the administrative management of schools and colleges

Tools and Strategies:

Project grants, advocacy, research, public awareness-raising, convening stakeholders

Strategy outline for collaboration with Open Society Network Programs Working on Education are:

1.   Higher Education Support Program (HESP)

 HESP’s major intervention in Nepal has been the establishment of the Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities. The Nepa School has been set up to serve as a model institution of higher learning in Nepal with the two-pronged goal of bringing about a shift in the teaching and learning practices in Nepal, as well as to attract well-trained faculty into the teaching profession and retain them to teach and conduct academic research. For the first couple of years, as the Nepa School assembles a core group of faculty members and works on matters such as seeking affiliation, devising a curriculum, etc, the School will offer a program called the Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences. Thereafter, Master’s level courses will be offered although it has not yet been decided what disciplines will be on offer since such subject matters will in large part be determined by the availability of teaching faculty. Part of the goal of the Graduate Diploma is also to prepare students who have undergone undergraduate or higher studies in Nepal for the Master’s program to be offered by Nepa School in the future.

Another immediate intervention planned with HESP is a faculty development program for autonomous colleges that have been selected for support by the World Bank through the University Grants Commission as part of the Second Higher Education Project (SHEP). Selection into SHEP involves the infusion of grants up to USD 2.5 million which itself is tied to various performance parameters along with the stipulation that a matching portion of that amount be raised by the colleges themselves. SHEP itself was conceived by recognizing that Tribhuvan University cannot be easily reformed and that the only way to improve the quality of higher education in Nepal is to help its various constituent and affiliate colleges by either becoming autonomous or by strengthening their institutional autonomy. It is hoped that the proposed faculty development program will help these colleges make better use of the funds they will receive through the SHEP.

2.    Education Support Program (ESP)

 ESP’s major activity in Nepal has been the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Program (RWCT), an implementing program currently steered along by ASD together with Social Science Baha and in close cooperation with the National Center for Educational Development (NCED), Nepal’s Ministry of Education, the Government of Nepal, and the Faculty of Education at Tribhuvan University. An advisory committee comprising representatives of NCED, the Faculty of Education, the Ministry of Education, and non-affiliated experts provides guidance to the Critical Thinking (CT) Program in Nepal.

A total of five CT trainings for in-service and pre-service teachers have been held: in July 2009, November 2009, April 2010, July 2010 and December 2010. It has been agreed that the CT Program will be spun off to be run as an independent program with the certification of Nepali CT trainers. After consultations with the major stakeholders, the CT program is now being implemented by Goreto Nepal, a Nepali NGO in coordination with ESP.

In addition to the CT program, ESP has also expressed interest on issues such as education and federalism, and on the privatization of education in Nepal. ASD plans to facilitate ESP’s work in these areas in Nepal by helping identifying partner organizations. ASD has decided to limit its focus on the education sector in three areas: access, quality and management. Since part of ASD’s function is to facilitate grant-making for OSF, it has been receiving many proposals from local organizations wanting to work on these issues. ASD seeks technical support and advice from ESP on how the proposals can be improved and interventions streamlined further.