Country Facts - Summary
The UN Human Development Report (2010) ranks Nepal at 138 out of 169 countries in the development index.
The estimated per capita income is approximately US$447.
55% of its population are living on less than $1.25 per day.
Mortality rate of children under five are 51 per 1000 births.
The recent decade-long Maoist insurgency has taken a toll of about 13,000 lives and has hampered the delivery of basic services and development assistance.
Large disparities remain between boys and girls in school attendance as well as in the quality of education between urban and rural areas.
Many government schools are in poor condition and are extremely underfunded, especially in rural areas.
About Nepal - Education and Development
Nepal is a land-locked Himalayan country bordered by two economic giants, China (Tibet Autonomous Region) to the North and India in the East, West and South. Home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world including Mount Everest, the Himalayan mountain region are where 80% of the 30 million Nepalese live. Nepal, with a rectangular shape from east to west, has roughly three ecological regions: the mountains (35%), the hills (42%) and the Terai (23%).
2011 has been declared Nepal's tourism year. Scenic mountains, outstanding trekking and the richness in exotic cultures and races make Nepal a popular tourist destination which brings in substantial income into the country.
Although Nepal has benefitted only marginally from the economic growth in its two neighbour countries, the Human Development Report has acknowledged Nepal as one of the top ten performers in human development across the world. According to the report, Nepal has shown significant progress in areas of health and education through effective public policy efforts. Development challenges however exist in access to quality primary education, improving basic health outcomes, strengthening governance and reducing poverty.
Nepal is emerging from a period of armed conflict and faces the challenges of maintaining political stability and the establishment of lasting peace. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report (2010) ranking it 138 out of 169 countries in the human development index (HDI). The estimated per capita income is approximately US$447 with 55% of its population living on less than $1.25 per day. Poverty and malnutrition are widespread with average life expectancy at 67 years and the mortality rate of children under five at 51 per 1000 births. Nepal is heavily dependent on agrarian sustenance farming. Typically, families live and farm on sloping terraces where they grow wheat, rice, and vegetables.
Although Nepali is the official language, English is taught in most schools and considered essential to the future employment prospects of children. The adult literacy currently stands at an estimated 60% with the youth (15-24 years) literacy rate, 2004-2008, for males at 86% and 75% for females.
Continuing and multifaceted inequity remains a major reason for Nepal's low HDI position. According to the Human Development Report, large disparities remain between boys and girls in school attendance as well as in the quality of education between urban and rural areas and across ethnic groups.
Many government schools are in poor condition and are extremely underfunded, especially in the countryside. Although primary education is free, schools are often inadequate and overcrowded. Many schools in remote areas are very basic and often have little furniture, stationary and no blackboards. Typically, young children walk up to several hours return to attend school. Poor weather, especially during the monsoon season, means that they are unable to attend, and the pressures of subsistence farming can also mean that children must help at home and are away from school during various times of the year.
Additional facilities like libraries and computer labs are rare. Although many schools want to provide computer education, very few can afford to purchase and maintain computer facilities. Adequate computer literacy skills are a major factors in determining potential future employment opportunities.