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USAID has supported many initiatives to develop and improve the education sector of Nepal from as early as the 1960s. Most recently, USAID, together with other donors, is providing direct support to the Ministry of Education through the Early Childhood Education Development (ECED) program to prepare Nepali children for basic education and to build the future workforce of Nepal. The need for quality and accessible ECED services in Nepal is demonstrated by the poor performance of Nepali children in their early primary years: for 2008–2009, children’s repetition rate at grade one was 18 percent. The Government of Nepal’s School Sector Reform Plan (2009-2015) recognizes ECED as a key factor in children’s success in school and productive adulthood.
USAID’s program is designed to strengthen government ownership and credibility, increase community awareness of and demand for ECED services, and improve the government’s ability to monitor and evaluate the national network of ECED centers. USAID helps the Government of Nepal strengthen early childhood education, particularly early grade reading, by updating its curriculum, improving teachers’ skills and building the foundation for subsequent primary education. The program works closely with the Government to increase the percentage of new entrants in grade one with at least one year of ECED experience, helping to reduce repetition and drop-out rate at grade one. The Government’s target is for 87 percent of 4-year-old children to receive quality ECED services by 2015, and for 64 percent of children entering grade one to have had ECED experience by the targeted year.
- USAID, through Nepal’s Department of Education (DOE), helped improve the monitoring system of the DOE and sub-district offices. Now the DOE and sub-district offices are monitoring more than 27,000 ECED centers.
- USAID has trained over 26,000 ECED facilitators, 15,000 school management committee members, more than 1,000 resource persons responsible for providing technical support to ECED facilitators and school teachers and 15,000 parents. As a result of these trainings, the facilitators have better knowledge of the importance of nutrition, sanitation and safety for children’s all-round development, and are using child-friendly approaches. USAID’s efforts have increased community awareness of and demand for ECED services.
Last updated: August 18, 2014