Shifting Nepal’s Educational Policies to Meet Pandemic Needs

Lizzie Ottenstein
Shreejana Mainali
A female student is taking her online classes on her laptop device.

Nepali colleges are trying their best to keep up with unexpected disruptions in education modality and policies, one being the democratization of higher education through accessible online content. This is just one of the ways educational policies are being reformed to meet the moment. Read on to learn more. 

Changes in grading policies 

Schools in Nepal (and around the world) changed online exams and grading systems, prioritizing flexibility and equity. The National Examination Board canceled the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) and 11th board examination. The Cabinet has decided not to conduct onsite or online exams and grade students based on internal evaluations. School districts are still working to roll out unbiased grading policies that don’t hurt the success of struggling students. The Minnesota Department of Education rolled out a reformed grading policy grading middle and high school students with a “N” indicating “no grades” for students who couldn’t complete the course but have the option to continue in the summer. 

Cyber and internet security policies

Schools are preparing to avoid cyber threat by implementing safety policies. Most Nepali colleges and universities added cyber security policies and are rolling out orientations covering online safety and digital citizenship. They are also conducting training sessions on security tools such as antimalware softwares, IP blockers, and so on. Though they are still learning and discovering, most are setting up strictly private groups and forums to distribute class codes or Zoom meeting IDs. Training on how to change the privacy setting of Zoom has been useful. Colleges are upgrading their investment policies by investing in LMS or e-learning platforms with updated security systems.

Investment in ICT courses and skill development

Colleges and universities are planning to roll out graduate level courses, particularly online tech-based courses with reformed ICT policies. The government introduced plans to build ICT labs and added more technical streams online in the lower, higher secondary, and graduate level. This will allow students to graduate online and fulfill the market demand in the ICT sector. Students won’t be compelled to devote four full years to living on campus or paying rents. Universities should deliver curriculum through a blended platform and schools should invest in digital content for advanced ICT and artificial intelligence courses.

Bridging the digital gap

Countries like Nepal are suffering from a lack of stable internet access, shortage of laptops and smartphones, and digital literacy among students and teachers. The government of Nepal is collaborating with internet service providers and telecommunication companies. Vianet, one of Nepal’s top ISPs, has launched an E-learning package with a focus mode feature allowing students to attend online classes and download as many resources as possible with fast speed. Ncell and NTC launched data plans such as Mobile Class Data Pack and the e-Shikshya Package for students and teachers. Colleges are introducing new education models such as the  “flipped classroom” where students can take advantage of both synchronous and asynchronous modes of learning. 

Nepal has a long way to go before online education is accessible to all its students, and the pandemic has made this even more urgent. While there is still work to be done, schools and policies are making changes that will transform education now and even after the pandemic is over.

Read more about how Nepal can overcome the digital divide here!