Nepal Education and Languages


According to thesciencetutor, the Nepali is the most common native language of Nepal and the national language of the country. Like Hindi, it is written in the Devanagari script. In addition, over a hundred other languages are spoken. The languages spoken in Nepal belong mainly to two families: Indo-European and Tibetan-Burman languages. In addition, some small ethnic groups of the Terai speak Munda languages.

According to statistical data (Census 2011), Nepali is the mother tongue of 44.6% of the population, followed by Maithili 11.7%, Bhojpuri 5.9%, Tharu 5.7% and Tamang 5.1%. The eleven most widely spoken languages are the mother tongues of nearly 90% of the population.

English is widely spoken among the elite. Many languages of the small ethnic groups are threatened with extinction.


At the end of the Rana rule in 1951, the illiteracy rate was 98%. Since then the situation has improved quantitatively impressively: elementary school education became free and compulsory from 1975 onwards. Despite compulsory schooling, 89% of children are now enrolled in primary school and the literacy rate is only around 59%.

The causes of the educational shortage are social status and poverty. State schools do not charge school fees and offer school meals, but parents often cannot afford the money for books, pens and school uniforms. Girls are less likely to start school than boys and are more likely to drop out of school.

Many of the 40,000 public schools are in poor condition. Most classes are overcrowded with 60 to 80 students and there is a lack of qualified teachers. On average distance of 100 Students starting in first grade, only eight qualified school School Leaving Certificate (SLC), 15 make it to the 10th grade and 85 leave school prematurely.

The academic training has in recent years progress made. In addition to Tribhuvan University, founded in 1959, there are now several universities. Technical universities and colleges are also scattered across the country in the form of 230 – partly private – institutions. Subjects such as agricultural engineering, building trade, sanitary installation, biotechnology, electrical engineering and medical technology are taught here. The institutions are overwhelmed by the annually growing number of students. The education system is geared towards academic training and neglects practical vocational training.

Children on their way to school, Baireni Nepal


The health system is poorly developed. More than half of the population has no access to the most important medicines; there are only 21 doctors for every 100,000 residents. Malnutrition and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, parasitic diseases, tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria, rabies, eye and thyroid diseases are common. The number of people infected with HIV is 30,000. Child and maternal mortality rates are very high. The average life expectancy is around 70 years.

Basic health care for the population is particularly poor in rural areas. In rural areas there is a shortage of doctors and medicines, and the distances to health stations are very long in remote regions. The population is therefore still largely dependent on traditional healing practices.

Since the beginning of the 1990’s, the government has tried to make a minimum of basic health services accessible to the entire population by setting up health stations (sub-health posts) in rural areas. The government’s decision to invest 7.2% of the annual budget in the health sector is an important element of social security.

The health sector remains faced continuing challenges to improve the situation for vulnerable groups: barriers need to be reduced, increasing the quality of services needs and socially equitable funding and the continued availability of drugs has to be secured.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal has recorded over 260,000 infections and over 1,800 fatalities. The hospitals are overloaded and people without life-threatening symptoms are encouraged to isolate themselves at home.


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