Govt nod for ambitious SSDP

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Oct 27, 2016-

The Ministry of Education has finally endorsed the ambitious School Sector Development Plan (SSDP), replacing six-year School Sector Reform Programme (SSRP), aimed at bringing about changes to school education as per the spirit of the new constitution.

The plan endorsed on Tuesday aims at restructuring school education and making basic education—from grade one to eight—free and compulsory with an investment outlay of Rs1.1 trillion over the next seven years which exceeds country’s total budget of Rs1.05 trillion for last year.

The SSDP has set a target of bringing the dropout rate to zero, introducing technical education from grade 9 and making it mandatory for every Plus Two college to provide school level education. The government will bear 88.8 percent of the total cost. While donor agencies have confirmed to provide 6.8 percent of the total budget in support, the ministry is holding negotiations with donors to bridge the shortfall. Currently, 17 bilateral and multilateral donors are supporting the education sector. The ministry has been allocated Rs102 billion for this fiscal year, which is around 13 percent of the country’s total budget.

“The door has been opened for its implementation,” Education Secretary Shant Bahadur Shrestha told the Post, adding that as well as restructuring the education sector, the plan will target to rebuild around 8,000 public schools that were damaged in last year’s earthquakes. The policy has clearly defined the roles of governments at three tiers as envisioned in the new constitution.

The plan will institutionalise the achievement of the SSRP and move forward correcting the lapses on it, Secretary Shrestha explained. It will further achievements gained in under the SSRP—increased girls’ enrolment, growth in the number of female teachers, improvement in infrastructure and increase in access to education.

The SSRP was adopted in 2009 envisioning extending school education up to grade 12, restructuring the school education, increasing girl’s enrolment and dissolving the Higher Secondary Education Board. As a majority of the targets set by the programme remained unimplemented by its deadline in 2014, the ministry extended it till the end of 2015. Despite the ministry has termed the SSRP as a success, it failed to realise its vision in the lack of legal provisions. An amendment to the Education Act was necessary to restructure school education in basic and secondary (grade nine to 12) levels from the existing primary (grade 1-5), lower-secondary (6-8), secondary (9-10) and higher secondary (grade 11 to 12) levels.

Published: 27-10-2016 08:01

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