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Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

EiE Crisis Spotlight: Nepal

*** Visit the Nepal Earthquake Profile for information about the 2015 earthquake. ***  


Location of Crisis


Timing of Crisis

A brutal civil war, which began in February 1996 and ended in November 2006 created tens of thousands of displaced persons.

The Sikkim earthquake in September 2011 measured 6.8 on the Richter scale displaced thousands and caused massive damage to housing and infrastructure.

Affected Populations

According to the UNHCR, as of January 2013 there were 107,660 displaced persons living in Nepal. 50,000 of these were internally displaced, 39,810 were Bhutan and 15,000 Tibetan.

According to the Global Education Cluster, as a result of the 2011 earthquake, 4,851 families are reportedly displaced; 6,435 houses/buildings were completely destroyed and 11,520 partially damaged. 357 schools were completely destroyed, and 653 were partially damaged. More than 33,000 children were unable to go to school due to the school buildings having been destroyed or severely damaged.

In the years of conflict during the civil war, Maoist forces made use of child soldiers. World Education has identified over 1,200 former child soldiers since 2007 and is working to provide educational support.

Brief Description of the Situation

Until 1990, Nepal existed as a monarchy and the king had executive power. King Birendra agreed to democratic reforms, creating a parliamentary monarchy with an elected Prime Minister.
In 1996, the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal wanted to replace this system with a socialist republic. This led to an outbreak of violence which became a 10 year war which claimed the lives of nearly 18,000 people, creating thousands of displaced persons.

UNHCR 2009 ©
Bhutanese refugees in class in a camp in Nepal.

Years of conflict have devastated the country. According the UN estimates, 40% of the population lives in poverty and the country is hugely dependent on foreign aid. It is in the top third of aid received proportionate to GDP.

The 40,000 Bhutan refugees fled as a result of persecution and violence in the 80s and early 90s, when many southern Bhutans, mainly the Lhotshampas (Bhutans of Nepalese origin) were discriminated against by the government. By 1992 there were more than 80,000 Bhutans living in refugee camps in Nepal.

The Sikkim earthquake in September 2011 measured 6.8 on the Richter scale displaced thousands and caused massive damage to housing and infrastructure. The IFRC estimates that several hundred schools and classrooms were damaged and 47,000 people were displaced.

Impact on Education

As of November 2011, The Education Cluster identifies 16,575 children in 663 temporary learning spaces targeted in the regions of Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Sankhuwasaba, Terathum, Dhankuta, Bhojapur, Udayapur, and Morang in response to the September 2011 earthquake.

There has been no elected local government for the last 16 years and as a result the school governors are looked up to in order to fill this role. As a result they have little time to focus their efforts on education.
Of Nepal’s 7.8 million students, 3.3m attend struggling public schools while the rest attend private institutions.
The Education for All initiative launched a six year School Sector Reform Programme in 2009 to improve the quality of teaching but its mid-term report in February 2012 found classrooms understaffed, poor evaluation methods poor curriculum design.

A 2011 report by Human Rights Watch found that children with disabilities face huge barriers regarding access to education. The report concluded that "schools are physically inaccessible, teachers are inadequately trained, and some children with disabilities are unjustly denied admission to neighborhood schools".

Education Actors Responding to the Crisis

Child Fund Japan
Foundation Nepal
Nepal Youth Foundation
Plan Nepal
World Bank
World Education
World Vision

Robert Stansfield/DFID 2013 ©
A classroom at Manakamana Primary School in Kailali, built after an elephant destroyed the previous classroom.
Needs and Challenges

According to World Bank, more than half of primary students do not enter secondary schools, and only one-half of them complete secondary school. In addition, there is a lower enrolment rate in secondary schools amongst girls then there is amongst boys.

The UNDP, under its Millennium Development Goals for 2015, has recognised the great improvements made in primary school enrolment, up from 64% in 1990 to nearly 90% today. However, it has also raised concerns that the primary school quality of education is not as high as it should be, neither is the rate of completion.

There are also cultural barriers to girls’ education in Nepal. Many girls are married at a young age or needed to work at home and so they don’t remain in school beyond puberty. Additionally, many Nepalese girls practice Chaupadi, a tradition where they are socially isolated during menstruation. Many girls don’t attend school as a result.

Nepal is at the centre of a region prone to earthquakes and so newly constructed homes and schools need to be constructed in a way that reduces the risk of collapse, should an earthquake occur.

Tools and Resources

The following key INEE resource in English and Nepali can be used to support EiE efforts in Nepal. 

  • INEE Minimum Standards Handbook (English 2010 edition, Nepali 2004 edition)
  • Guidance Note on Conflict Sensitive Education (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction (English)
  • Pocket Guide to Gender (English)
  • Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education (English
  • Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities (English)
  • Guidance on HIV in Education in Emergencies (English)
  • Reference Guide on External Education Financing (English)
  • To access other EiE tools and resources in over 20 languages, please visit the INEE Toolkit.


Key Information Sources


Key Words

Civil war, child soldiers, poverty, gender, secondary education, earthquake


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