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Education for all

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Nepal will become a part of the Global Out-of-School Children Initiative (OOSCI) to address the issues of out of school children. The first phase of the campaign has already been implemented in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The status of out of school (OOS) children was discussed today at the launch of a new South Asia Study to address the problems in retaining the number of children in schools.

“Everyone needs to join hands and make progressive investment to ensure that all children receive education,”  said  UNICEF Nepal’s country representative Hanna Singer at the launch of the study.

The study, currently in its second phase, aims to look at the specific problems regarding OOS children from 26 countries and get them to start learning. There is currently a lack of adequate tools and methodologies to identify OOS children, and the study hopes to gather more data to find specialised solutions for each country.

“Policy response has to be catered to the country, as different places have different needs,” said Lieke Van De Wiel, Regional Education Advisor for the UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia (ROSA). She presented findings of the first phase of the study, which included India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Some 27 million children, between the ages of 5 to 13, were found to be OOS in these four countries.

Nepal along with Bhutan is to be included in the second-phase campaign that aims at reaching its commitment to provide quality education for all, one of the key components of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

South Asia has the second highest number of out-of-school children next to the Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, approximately 32.86 million children remain out of school in the region.

According to Nepal’s Department of Education around 700,000 children are out-of-school in Nepal. More than 70 per cent children quit the school as they reach grade five. Speaking at the program,  Mahashram Sharma, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Education (MoE)  said retaining children who are out-of-school due to various reasons is the top priority of the government.

Hariz Baharudin

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