Nepal Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programmes

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1 IBE/2006/EFA/GMR/CP/59 Country profile prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2007 Strong Foundations: Early Childhood Care and Education Nepal Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programmes Compiled by: UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) Geneva, (Switzerland) 2006 This profile was commissioned by the Education for All Global Monitoring Report as background information to assist in drafting the 2007 Report. It has not been edited by the team. Information included in the series of profiles has been compiled by the IBE. In several cases data have been revised and/or expanded thanks to the helpful support of Ministries of Education and UNICEF offices worldwide. The views and opinions expressed in the present document are not necessarily those of the EFA Global Monitoring Report or UNESCO. The profile can be cited as follows: Country Profile commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2007, Strong foundations: early childhood care and education. For further information, please contact:

2 NEPAL Early Childhood Education and Care (ECCE) programs A. GENERAL INFORMATION, STATISTICS AND INDICATORS Starting age of compulsory education (if applicable): Children enter primary education at age 5. Primary education (years 1 to 5) is free but not compulsory. 1. ISCED 0 PROGRAMS (USUALLY, PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION) (ISCED = International Standard Classification of Education) 1.1. National definition of ISCED 0 programs: The Government s National Policy (EFA National Plan of Action) states that there are two kinds of Early Childhood Development Education: (a) school-based pre-primary classes, and (b) community-based ECD centres. There are also lots of private Mickey Mouse kindergartens although they are not covered by the plans and strategies of the Department of Education Normative age group(s) covered by ISCED 0 programs: 3-4 years of age (ECD centres for 3-year-olds and pre-primary classes for 4-year-olds) ISCED 0 programs: statistics and indicators (source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics UIS) Enrolment: Percentage Year Gross enrolment ratio (GER) /05 Net enrolment ratio Not available Percentage of children entering primary education with previous 9.6 preschool experience Source: UIS. For 2005, the government estimates GER at 47%.

3 Enrolment ratio by age group (percentage, also including the first years of primary education when applicable): Not available Less than 3 years of age Age 3 Age 4 Age 5 Age 6 Age Teachers, 2002/03: Total number of teachers Of whom female (%) Percentage of trained teachers (all) Percentage of trained teachers (males) Percentage of trained teachers (females) 12, Source: UIS. ( ) Not available. Note: The number of ECD facilitators, and especially qualified facilitators is not available. There are about 8,100 centres in the country Funding: Percentage Public current expenditure per pupil as percentage of the Gross National Product (2003) per capita Source: UIS. Note: According to the Annual Status Report (MoES, 2005), the funding percentage of the overall Education budget for ECD was 4.5% in 2004/ Main source(s) of financing: There are 1,079 community and school based Early Childhood Centres directly supported by other agencies than the government (UNICEF, Save the Children US and Norway, Plan, World Vision, ETC and Seto Gurans). Total funding for ECD in 2005 by the four major agency and INGO donors (in US$, the contributions of smaller NGOs and CBOs are not accounted for): Plan International 1,029,725 Save the Children US 179,623 UNICEF 395,702 Save the Children Norway 95,173 Total 1,700,223

4 The proportion used for ECD centres is not known. 2. OTHER ECCE PROGRAMS (Generally preceding ISCED 0 programs) 2.1. National definition of other ECCE programs: See above 2.2. Normative age group(s) covered by other ECCE programs: 0-3 years 2.3. Estimate number of children covered by other ECCE programs: Not available B. BACKGROUND INFORMATION CONCERNING ECCE PROGRAMS (INCLUDING ISCED 0) 3.1. Legislation concerning ECCE: The Local Self-governance Act 1999 has given the authority to the local bodies Village Development Committees and Municipalities to establish pre-primary schools/centres with their own resources, and grant permissions to establish, and run such schools/ centres. The Education Act, 2028 (including seventh amendment, 2058) distinguishes between two forms of early childhood development (ECD): pre-primary classes and child development centres. Pre-primary classes are school based and are principally aimed at children between the age of four and five. Child development centres are community based and are aimed at children below four years of age. However, there are disparities between the principles and practices. Many programmes, for instance, are not running as per the definition given in the Education Act and Regulations Official body/bodies in charge of supervision or coordination: In 1999, an Early Childhood Development Section was established under the Department of Education of the Ministry of Education and Sports to look after the ECD development needs in the country. (See also point 3.3 below.) Department of Education/ECD Section consists of an Under Secretary (Section Chief) and two section officers.

5 3.3. Other entities involved in the provision (e.g. municipalities, local governments) and main types of providers (e.g. public, private, mixed, community-based, etc.): Some welfare organizations are also running ECD centres, mainly for orphans and destitute children. Many programmes of this type are conducted by philanthropic organizations like the Nepal Children's Organization, SOS Children's Villages, UCEP and Paropkar. The Children Welfare Co-ordination Committee under the National Social Service Co-ordination Committee monitors and co-ordinates the activities of these organizations. At the national level, a National Early Childhood Development council was formed in 2005 and is chaired by the Ministry of Education and Sports with members from Ministry of Health, Local Development, Women Children and Social Welfare and UN agencies and NGOs. This council provides a broad base to harmonize ECD activities and to ensure coordination among national and local level programmes. At the district level, District Child Development Boards (DCDB) have been constituted in some districts chaired by District Development Committees. As per the 2004 ECD strategy, these Boards will be formed in all 75 districts in the country. The board is responsible to ensure community participation and to coordinate with local Government bodies, I/NGOs and local authorities and to raise funds and providing support to construct ECD centres. At the village and municipality levels, the Village or Municipal Education Committee will be responsible to coordinate the child development activities at the local level. The Committee will also look at pre-primary classes carried out in public and private schools Type of personnel involved: See previous sections 3.5. Type of staff training (requirements): See previous sections 3.6. Recent national policies and reforms: The text below is drawn from the 2004 ECD strategy: Pre-primary education is available only to a small minority of children exclusively in urban settings. All pre-primary schools are private and charge fees. The Basic and Primary Education Project is working to broaden the network of pre-primary educational institutions. Pre-primary education is not currently part of the formal education system. A very limited percentage of children have access to private, fee-paying pre-school establishments exclusively in urban areas. Almost all of the 4,004 private schools in Nepal have pre-primary nursery and kindergarten classes. Most of these private schools have three sections: nursery, lower KG and upper KG. The Basic and Primary

6 Education Project has included the promotion of early childhood activities on its agenda. Community participation in the development of early childhood development (ECD) has been the strategy of the government since the Seventh Plan ( ). Accordingly, provision was made for opening pre-primary schools by communities, NGOs, groups or individuals. This provision was made primarily to address the problems of the high repetition rate in Grade I, which was particularly due to the enrolment of under-age children. Many schools needed to open different sections, particularly for low achievers, which consisted mainly of under-age children coming to the primary schools with their elder siblings. Many instances of primary schools have been found where a large number of children below the school age have been admitted. This situation has arisen because of the lack of other provisions for preschool age children. The situation is likely to remain for some years to come. In most of the cases where younger children are admitted to Grade I, children stay in the school for two years or more. Some schools have formed what they call children s classes. In the early 1990s, pre-primary classes were established to enhance the quality of primary education by preparing pre-school age children for school. The Ninth Plan aims to make early childhood centres different from the primary school, and to make them community-based centres for the overall development of a child within a playful and enjoyable environment. The high-level National Commission for Education (1997) has also emphasized the need for developing child-friendly ECD centres in the community. Through this strategy of community-based ECD, the government aims to build up partnership with the communities in management as well as in cost-sharing. Under the provisions of the Basic and Primary Education Project (BPEP) II, in order for a community to run a Shishu Kakshya (SK child-care centre), it should first of all form a management committee to work out the details of running an ECD centre, then formally apply to the District Education Office for permission to run the centre. The community must provide a room and other physical facilities necessary for running the SK. The community should also make provision for the salary of the SK teacher. The BPEP II responsibility is limited to providing training to the SK facilitators, making some of the teaching/learning support materials and facilitator guidebooks available. At present more than 7,023 community-based ECD centres are in operation across the country, which are receiving technical support from the Department of Education and District Education Offices through Resource Centres. These centres are not enough to accommodate all children between 3 to 5 years of age. Presently, under BPEP II, the Government is providing support to community based ECD centres for facilitator's salary (Rs 13,000 per year), establishment costs (Rs 2,000 each), basic material costs (Rs 1,000 each) and a maximum of Rs 27,000 to match the fund collected by the community. BPEP II also bears the cost of basic and refresher training for facilitator and orientation Programmes for the management committee members. However, many centres have not yet been able to raise the fund to match the entire amount provided to them by the Government. Only a few communities have so far been able to mobilize their resources to raise funds for ECD implementation and carry out income generating activities for its sustainability. Most ECD centres simply deposit their money in a bank for a small amount of money from its interest. Apart from this, they have no other substantial source of income to run ECD programmes. (Source: Ministry of Education and Sports,

7 Department of Education. Strategy paper for early childhood development in Nepal. Kathmandu, 2004.) 3.7. Efforts targeted at vulnerable or disadvantaged children: The national policy emphasizes the need to make optimal use of expertise, resources and institutional capacity to expand ECD provisions with a focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. With regards to construction and learning materials of ECD Centers, in the case of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, the Government will request other development partners and I/NGO to provide minimal support for construction of building and other indoor and outdoor materials. Whereas the general principle is to have the community and the schools running ECD programmes to be responsible for construction. These national policies are not being fully followed at the district level. There are still many disadvantaged parts of the country that is not receiving benefits of the ECD education in the communities. In the districts covered by the UNICEF supported Decentralised Action for Children and Women Programme, efforts are ongoing to direct allocations for centres to the poorest communities Special projects/programmes aiming at expanding or improving ECCE: The National policy has aim to construct 6,000 new ECD centres within the school year of 2005/6. The government reports that they will achieve their target construction. The long term plan is to have a total of 13,000 centres by 2007 and 74,000 by Unfortunately, the DEO does not have enough resources to fully support the expansion. For example, the facilitator s training has been reduced from 16 days to 8 days. Matching funds are also not available for all new centres since the expansion of 6,000 new ECD centres was not budgeted for in 2005/06. Learning materials have been purchased through the district education offices and are being distributed to the ECD centres around the district. Special trainings are given to make learning materials out of locally available materials. Many NGOs and partners are participating and encouraging this practice of utilizing locally available materials Information concerning the curriculum (if applicable) or the contents of ECCE programs Objectives and aims: Most pre-primary classes are catering to children between 3 to 7 years of age for a duration of two to three years, whereas community-based ECD centres are catering to children between 3 and 5 years of age for one or two years. The curricula and pedagogical processes employed in these two types of ECD programmes are different from one another although both of them are guided by the common objective of holistic child

8 development and both aim at creating an enjoyable learning environment that will foster physical, mental, social and emotional development of children Learning areas and teaching-learning methods: The Pre-primary Education Unit in the Curriculum Development Centre has developed a pre-primary curriculum. It has conducted a number of training activities for pre-primary teachers. It is estimated that there are around 5,000 preprimary classes in operation throughout the country. Some of them employ Montessori, Kindergarten and other approaches appropriate to their pedagogical needs in pre-primary education. Nonetheless, many such schools are using traditional approaches to cater to the needs of early age children and run pre-primary classes as a downward extension of the primary schools. Child psychologists and ECD specialists are raising serious concerns about the use of heavily loaded cognition based curriculum and content oriented pedagogy in such classes. Most private schools are neither able to hire or develop ECD experts to work in such establishments, nor has the government been able to cater to the needs of child development Average number of hours per week and average amount of weeks per year: Centres run an average of 5 hours a day, 6 days a week = 30 hours a week Any other relevant and pertinent information One of the basic ECD centre issues is that there are significant differences in the way the school based and the community based are running. Most of the school based centres are run by the DEO, and most of them are more primary schools than development centres. On the other hand, most of the community based centres are supported by the donors, and the quality is generally better, and the centres are focus around child development in a holistic manner.

9 C. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION REGARDING ECCE (TO BE COMPILED IN COLLABORATION WITH UNICEF OFFICES WHERE POSSIBLE) 4.1. Parenting programmes are usually addressed to parents and families of children less than 6 years of age. Please provide information about any parenting programmes in your country according to the table below: Type of programme Parenting education through early learning centres and child care centres As component of health and nutrition programmes, such as information about child development included in health and nutrition visits Yes or No (note for each programme) Save the Children US has revised its Parenting Education classes as of 2005 to be incorporated into the ECD programme. The ECD facilitator holds classes for the parents once a week in the ECD centre. This requires no separate resources. These classes are held in their 3 programme districts. The National programme of the Dept.of Ed for Parenting Education was stopped in In UNICEF programme areas local community volunteers are trained to conduct monthly growth monitoring of children 0-3 years. Using a conceptual framework, the volunteers facilitate discussions on likely causes of Please estimate the number of beneficiaries (if possible) By 2003, 45,000 parents were orientated through Dept of Ed programmes.

10 Parent groups that meet to discuss issues of their young children, including health, nutritional status, and development malnutrition and advise parents on causes of action to take to ensure that the child grows well UNICEF runs Parenting Orientation classes through local partners in UNICEF programme areas. The classes are conducted by a trained facilitator and run for 3 months, average 2 hours per day, 6 days a week. There are usually 25 participants per class. Plan International runs parenting education classes in their programme districts. Roughly some 600 classes are conducted in a year, covering some 15,000 caregivers As component of adolescent, livelihood or literacy programmes Media broadcast, such as Sesame Street, with media for and with children Other (please specify) Meena cartoon (only in urban areas where electricity and media equipment is available) Are any of these programmes targeted specifically toward the vulnerable, poor, disadvantaged or excluded? If so, which ones? (Please provide/attach any additional and relevant information if available). The UNICEF supported Decentralised Action for Children and Women Programme, is meant to target the poorest and most marginalised. Parenting Orientation classes in programme areas should thus target the vulnerable, poor and disadvantaged. It should be noted that the targeting is imperfect Is there a national-level system for monitoring children s development or school readiness prior to entering primary school? No

11 4.3. Is there a policy on early childhood (ECCE, ECD, etc.) that has been accepted? If not, is there one under development? The National Strategy Paper for Early Childhood Development Education, in line with the Nepal Education for All National Plan of Action and EFA Core Document was launched in Along with the National Strategy Paper, the government has also made minimum guidelines for ECD center operations and management. This guideline has been distributed to ECD centers around the country. [Information revised and additional data provided by the Department of Education and UNICEF, December 2005 January 2006.]

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