'Over 600,000 school age children still out of school'

Published On: November 4, 2016 12:46 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Nov 4: Some 600,000 children of school-going age are still out of school, it has been claimed. However, the government data shows that the national enrollment rate of schoolchildren is 96.6 percent.

Around 34 percent of total population (some 28 million) of Nepal is children under the age of 15. 

According to the 2011 Census, 1.1 million children of school-going age are out of school. However, data analyst Sambedan Koirala estimates that about 600,000 children of school-going age are out of schools now.

A flash report 2016 of the Department of Education, which has yet to be published, says that there are 4,220,061 children at primary level (Grade 0-5), 1,862,183 children at lower-secondary level (Grade 6-8),  938,635 children at secondary level (9-10) and 450,524 students at higher secondary level (Grade 11-12) across the country.

The officials at the Ministry of Education said that about 1 million children including those of early childhood age are still out of school. “Official data is a part of crafted art, which is not absolutely correct,” they said.

However, Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at the Ministry of Education, said that the net enrollment rate of schoolchildren is 96.6. “This rate belongs to the enrollment rate of the primary-level schoolchildren," he said.

According to the Guardians' Association Nepal, 15.2 per cent of the children at primary level repeat their enrollment whereas the dropout rate is at 6.4 percent. Only 78.4 percent of enrolled children at primary level are promoted to higher grades, said Suprabhat Bhandari, president of GAN. “This means about 25 percent of school-children do not go to school. The government plays the strings of data politics around the school enrollment rate,” he added.

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