• Sector Overview

  • Opportunities

  • Laws and Regulations

  • Investment Incentives

  • Education Sector Profile PDF

Sector Overview

The formal education system in Nepal dates back to 1853 when the Durbar High School was established. The nation’s first college, the Tri-Chandra College, was established in 1918. During this period, education was accessible only to the ruling elites. For the general public, education dates back only to the historical changes of 1951.

By the time the Rana regime was overthrown in 1951, Nepal had 310 schools, 11 high schools, 2 colleges and a vocational school. It was only in 1956 that Nepal’s first educational plan was issued. This plan paved the way for the development of Nepal’s modern educational system. Further development of Nepal’s education sector gained momentum in 1971 with the promulgation of the Education Act.

Education structure of Nepal is divided into two levels; school education and higher education. School education is divided into two levels, basic level and secondary level. Early grades to grade 8 is called basic level and grade 9 to 12 is called secondary level. Similarly, higher education is divided into 4 major levels. There are 3-5 years’ Bachelors level, 2 years’ Masters level, 1.5 years MPhil and 3-5 years PhD level. 

The Ministry of Education (MoE) establishes policies and regulates the nation’s education system.  The MoE provides overall policy direction for the implementation and management of the GoN’s education policies and programs. For their part, universities are governed and managed by specific university acts, whereas the Education Act 1971 regulates and governs school management. In the case of School Education, the Department of Education (DoE) is the principal administrative body responsible to develop and monitor school education programs and activities. The DoE implements all educational programs in the districts through District Education Offices (DEOs). The School Management Committees (SMCs), established in each school are responsible to plan and implement that school’s specific activities. 

Under the MoE, there are central level agencies concerned with curriculum development, teacher development, examination, Non-formal education, and Teacher’s records management. Under GoN’s educational training center, the National Center for Education Development is one of the central level agency for teacher training. Under this organization there are 29 educational training centers across the country in order to encourage and promote teacher quality.  In addition, there are 1,053 resource centers functioning under the District Education Offices (DEOs) across the country, established in order to support teachers.

Legally, there are two types of educational institutions in Nepal.  The first type is the public institution, which receives regular government funding grants. The second type, comprised of private institutions which are comparatively smaller in number.  Private institutions are funded either by the fees collected from students, from donor support, or both. Private educational institutions are established either as non-profit trusts or for profit companies.

Institutional Arrangement
Policy Level
Ministry of Education

Regulatory and Implementation Level
Department of Education 
Curriculum Development Center
National Center for Education and Development
National Examination Board
Non-Formal Education Center
Center of Technical  Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT)
University Grant Commission (UGC)

Current Status
In 2014, the literacy rate of Nepalese people above the age of five years was 57.4 % among females and 75.1 % among males. This clearly indicates that females have a much lower level of involvement in the educational system.
Out of the total literate population of 2014, 39% have primary education, 20 % have lower secondary education, 10.2 % have secondary education, 10.2% have higher education, and non-formally educated literate are at 4.2 %. The take-away is clear. There is a much greater participation in primary and secondary education than higher education. In Nepal there are 34,837 schools, 3,656 Higher Secondary schools and 1,369 colleges. 

At the Primary level, the educational enrolment is comparatively high.  However, enrollment gradually decreases at higher levels of education. This is largely owing to the fact that many students drop out of schools because of exam failure, distance of the school from home, lack of access to educational materials, early entry to the employment market, and pressure to help with household work.  
All 75 districts of Nepal have at least one higher education campus with the exception of Mustang and Manang.  By far the largest number of campuses is found in Kathmandu district (273) whereas Humla, Dolpa, Jajarkot, and Rasuwa have one campus each. The distribution of different types of campuses (i.e., constituent [publicly funded], community [privately funded but not for profit], and private [privately funded and for profit]) across various districts. Among the different types of campuses, community and private campuses are more evenly distributed (70 and 61 district respectively) with a coverage in 93.3 % and 83.3 % districts respectively, while constituent campuses can be found in 35 districts. 

A large number of constituent campuses (20 campuses) are in Kathmandu district. Likewise, 25 of the community campuses are in Kathmandu district. This is comparatively higher than other districts. Similarly, 228 private campuses (32.2 % of total private campuses) are also in Kathmandu. Districts such as Humla, Bhojpur, Saptari, Manang and Mustang do not have community campuses.



Vocational education in Nepal is developing rapidly, largely due to the GoN’s increased focus on developing the population to meet industry needs for skilled laborers. The Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), established in 1989, is the administrative body responsible for technical and vocational education and training. Its role is to develop policy, control quality of services, prepare competency based curriculum, develop skill standards of various occupations, carry out testing, and to conduct studies and training needs assessments. The total enrollment capacity of CTEVT in long term programs (29 month TSLC program, 15 month TSLC program and Diploma and PCL program) is 40,735.  The total number institutions providing long-term courses is 529 (among which 421 (79.58%) are private institutes). There are 442 institutions providing short-term courses (6 day skill upgrading training to 1380 hours short term trainings). The courses provided by these institutes range from nursing courses to diplomas in engineering. Curriculum include courses in Civil Engineering, Laboratory Technician, Agricultural Science, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Ayurveda General Science, Forestry, Food technology, Auto mechanics and Biomedical Equipment Engineering. The CVEVT also provides short term courses for Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery, JTA Plant science and Refrigeration and Air-conditioning. 
There is an emerging market for the institutes providing vocational training. Currently, most players on the supply-side are organized as stand-alone entities and operate in market in small and fragmented way.  The number of these vocational training entities can be expected to rise in the near term.  This can also be justified by the number of people migrating for domestic and labor related jobs in the Middle East and Asia.  Many of these jobs require vocational training. A total of 2,723,587 labor permits were issued by the Department of Labor and Employment from 2008/09 through 2014/154. Most labor migrates (33%) went to Malaysia, followed by 19% to Qatar. Nearly three quarters of the absent population left their home in search of employment of which 62.4 % left for countries other than India. The 2012 Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy also recognized the need for skill-development training programs to adjust to the demands of the labor market and make Nepali workers more competitive in the international labor market.


Education city is a new concept in Nepal. It is an area dedicated for all kinds of education institutes and for all levels to provide their services in a common space. Benefits of common facilities including libraries, canteens, research centers and playgrounds can be enjoyed through education city. There are a number of institutions that are increasing their capacity to receive students. These institutions are largely confined to large metropolitan areas. In addition to these, a greater number of students are also pursuing higher education outside of Nepal. The most popular destinations for students are USA, UK, Australia and other English speaking countries. In 2014/15 the number of students receiving no objection letters totaled 28,763. The no objection letter from Ministry of Education is a mandatory document for students going abroad for higher studies. 

In addition, the open border allows many students to go to India for studies without formal authorization. These include not only students pursuing higher education, but also primary education (schooling). Schools in hilly areas of India such as Darjeeling are a popular choice. 

An “education city” can be established in a peaceful environment in the outskirts of any major city.  It might have common facilities including libraries, canteens, research centers and playgrounds. A multi university campus can open opportunities for the advancement of knowledge and research across all disciplines.


Research centers have crucial roles to play in the development of differentiated and effective academic systems, and in making it possible for their countries to join the global knowledge society and compete in sophisticated knowledge economies. While research universities in Nepal have not yet achieved the top levels, they are nevertheless extremely important and rapidly improving their reputations internationally. Tribhuwan University currently has 22 research centers working in such fields as bio-gas, wind energy, flora and fauna among others. Nepal lacks research centers that are committed to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, in a range of disciplines and fields, and featuring the appropriate laboratories, libraries, and other infrastructures that permit teaching and research at the highest possible level. Most countries have recognized that research universities are key to the knowledge economy.


Laws and Regulations

Nepal Education Act 1971

Education Act together with its amendments has effectively merged the higher secondary school and school levels. This Act is expedient to promote quality education through improvement in the management of existing and future schools all over Nepal in order to prepare human resource for national development and to maintain good conduct, decency and morality of the people in general. Any person seeking to open a school must apply to the relevant administrative body pursuant to this act for an authorization to open an Educational Trust.

CTEVT Act 1988

The CTEVT Act is expedient to establish and manage the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training for arrangement of technical education and vocational training in the planned way and set standard of skill and certifying the same in order to produce basic, middle level and higher level technical human resource.

Sub-section 6.2 of Section-6 states that the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) is authorized to grant the right to open and manage technical education and vocational training institutions.

The University Grants Commission Act 1993

The University Grants is established for the appropriate distribution of grant amount received from various sectors for operation and development of Universities in Nepal and for carrying out functions to motivate for providing quality education according to the academic standard of the Universities. 

Investment Incentives

Value Added Tax

  • Schools and universities are exempt from VAT.
  • Research conducted by schools and universities are exempt from VAT.
  • Income earned from professional or vocational trainings conducted with non-profit earning motive are exempted from VAT.


  • Education Service Tax @ 1% is levied on Admission fee and Tuition fee collected by Educational Institutions operated by Private Sectors.

Education Sector Profile PDF