This week the EU Delegation participated in two important exchanges between the European Union and Nepal: The Joint Commission (link to press release) and its Sub-Commission on Development Cooperation. We discussed the progress of our joint commitments in our priority sectors of cooperation. Today we would like to share with you our joint work and results in the field of EDUCATION.
The European Union has a longstanding support to the education in Nepal since nearly 15 years and we committed more than 14 billion NPR.
Why? Because access to education is a first step to create opportunities to eradicate poverty. The European Union supported public primary and secondary education but also Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) and Higher Education. We are working closely with the Government partners and other international actors, including the EU Member States such as Finland in order to increase participation of all children to a quality school education.
What have we achieved? Our join efforts led to a Net Enrolment Rate in primary education (grades 1-8) of nearly 93%%. We provided free textbooks, scholarships and the provision of midday meals in targeted schools that were most in need we have contributed to enhancing access to education. School safety is a crucial issue. In the past five years, EU support has constructed more than 5,000 new schools following safety standards and this will be nearly 7,000 when the works have finished. In the current crisis, we have supported the piloting of e-learning in Technical Education and Vocational Training with the public sector and have 10 ongoing pilot projects matching the public with the private sector. This will increase the quality of education and provide more jobs with higher salaries and more opportunities for students. Nepali students have been supported in their education and academic exchange. Erasmus is one of the most successful programmes of the European Union, bringing young people together and allowing them excellent education that they can use in their home countries. Every year, the number of Nepalese awardees of Erasmus scholarships is increasing and this year we paid farewell to 58 Nepalese students on their way to Europe. In total, more than 800 Nepali students from all over Nepal have won our Erasmus scholarships and we are proud that they are closely connected in the Erasmus Alumni network, bringing back the European experience to their communities, families, jobs and companies in Nepal.
What have students achieved? The real question is what is the learning achievement of students? This is currently low in Nepal as an average. Quality education can be improved by increasing the quantity and quality of teachers. About 10,000 teachers for primary education and 2,700 teachers for secondary education were selected and deployed in 2019 through our joint team effort. We are also proud that the percentage of female teachers in primary education has reached 43% already. The COVID Pandemic has a big impact on the learning achievements of students. The European Union has committed another nearly 3 billion NPR so the investments into the education can continue. With EU funding the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTVET) could set-up an alternative mode of teaching and learning through online/virtual mode and an E-learning program has been successfully piloted at three government led institutes during the lockdown so the students could continue their learning achievements. We have also supported Civil Society Organisations to mitigate service interruptions in the education of vulnerable children.