Adult Literacy in Nepal

Adult Literacy in Nepal  (1978) 
by Ramesh Shrestha

Publishing History: This report was published by the Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal in 1978.

Acknowledgements: This project was undertaken for the Research Centre of Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University under: communication studies, matrix: 5.3 & 5.4 for the duration of one year. My first grateful thanks therefore go to the Director of the Centre, Dr. Prayag Raj Sharma for granting the finance and for letting us use the facilities under him. I am deeply indebted to Ms. Lindsay Freedman, who was not only an official consultant for four months, but also a friend and inspiration working closely together and offering editorial suggestions for the entire year. Also vary heart-felt thanks to Shree Narendra Pokhrel for his help as a research assistant, to the friendly members of Literacy House in Lucknow (India) for help in the construction of evaluation instruments, and to many others who helped and opened up. Ramesh Shrestha, Lecturer Department of English Tribhuvan University Kirtipur

Foreword: The present report embodies the findings of a project on "Adult Literacy in Nepal" completed in 1976-77. This programme has been implemented in Nepal for over two decades with the objective that non-literate adults of the most productive age group can get the benefit of education even though it had been denied them in their proper schooling age. Educational expansion work in Nepal would have received a great support from a vigorous adult literacy drive. But the present study shows how adult literacy programme has been kept alive only in name during these years in the paper works of the bureaucrats and has hardly got off the ground in its actual execution. It is really a most depressing story to hear of such a highly publicized programme. We, however, draw much consolation from the hope that a more sincere effort will be made in future to make a complete reappraisal of the programme both in terms of redefining the concept of literacy itself and the most effective strategy to attain it in the context of Nepal. Dr. Prayag Raj Sharma, Director Institute of Nepal & Asian Studies Tribhuvan University Kirtiput April 14, 1978 (Baisakh 1, 2035)


1. Terms like 'literacy', 'adult literacy', and 'adult education' have been used as synonymous unless when specified.

2. Abbreviations used in the report are as follows: AES: Adult Education Section, Ministry of Education, His Majesty's Government, Nepal. DEO: District Education Office/Officer, Ministry of Education, His Majesty's Government, Nepal. FAEP: Functional Adult Education Programme (run by HMG, Nepal). HMG: His Majesty's Government, Nepal. IHDP: Integrated Hill Development Project. LEP: Literacy Extension Programme run by His Majesty's Government, Nepal. NDS: National Development Service. NESP: New Educational System Plan. NWO: Nepal Women's Organization. SATA: Swiss Association for Technical Assistance. 1.


1.1 The original plan of the projectEdit

The project was undertaken with the aim of producing a report of past achievements, current programs and problems, and future prospects for the spread of literacy from adult education in Nepal. The aim was to collect information on the work of all agencies significantly active in the field of literacy through adult education in Nepal both in historical and synchronic perspectives and to evaluate their contributions, with the main focus of evaluation on the more widespread agency, the Adult Education Section of His Majesty's Government. This necessitated the study of the available documents on the subject, both on adult education in general and adult education in Nepal. It also required field studies to acquaint ourselves with the implementation of the policies adopted and formulated by the AES, with the various teaching methods, materials, training of teachers, the qualitative and quantitative progress of the participants in terms of their number and their abilities to read and write, and finally, with the social and economic changes brought about by the achievement of literacy among the participants. It was also hoped that these enquiries would eventually lead to determining the level at which a person could be called literate in the Nepalese context, and how far existing programs seemed to achieve this level.

The work was then started collecting data or preparing materials for the history of literacy in Nepal, for the organization of current literacy programs, and, devising, the focal point of the study, evaluation instruments.

From the outset there was the limitation of the project in terms of time and staff. The project started in September 1976 and the report had to be finished by August 1977. There was one part-time researcher for the whole period, one part time research assistant and one consultant for four months. All these did some field work.

1.2 Methods of StudyEdit

The Study of the extent of the national involvement with literacy work in maters of its history obviously required an investigation of the documents and materials published by the sponsoring organizations and involved trying to meet with people who had acquired their literacy skills as a result of their participation in an adult education centre. Apart from the study of available documents, certain questionnaires where sent out to sponsoring organizations in order to get information on their participation in adult literacy work both past and present. Questionnaires were sent out specially to the AES, NWO, and UNESCO in Nepal.

The study of current adult literacy in the country required meeting the sponsoring agencies and visiting literacy centers. It was necessary to interview the personnel of these agencies to determine the extent of their involvement, their policies, and their administrative structures. By visiting literacy centers we hoped to acquaint ourselves with how these policies were implemented and what the problems were. Visiting centers to meet adult students and their teachers and conducting interviews and tests with them would acquaint us with their achievements and failure.

To assess the achievements and failures of literacy work and to find its correlation with such variables as ethnicity, language, geography, occupation, etc, a set of evaluation materials were constructed based on similar evaluation work1 done elsewhere. The evaluation materials consisted of six sections:

Evaluation InstrumentsEdit

Literacy TestEdit

The test of literacy included tests on reading, writing, arithmetic, and use of literacy skills. The target respondents were to be the adults who had their training in adult education in the past few years and those who were undergoing the training currently.

Questionnaires on MotivationEdit

A series of questionnaires were built under this section in order to determine the degree of which the training that these adults had undergone or were currently undergoing was related to the interests of the participants and has been able to hold it. These questionnaires were designed to elicit responses on the expectations and the interests of the learners in textbook content, language, and generally on their own interests, enjoyment, satisfaction and achievements2.

The target respondents were the two types as above. There were two sets of questions, on for the LEP participants, the other for the FAEP participants.

Questionnaires on Social ChangeEdit

The questionnaires in this section were designed to elicit response on certain simple indicators of change in the participants.

Teachers QuestionnairesEdit

Two sets of questionnaires, one for the teachers of FAEP and one for the teachers of LEP, were constructed in order to investigate their background, their opinions, the problems relating to language and ethnicity as they feel it to be, their own motivation, their achievements and failures, their opinions on the usefulness of the textbook and other materials used by them, their methods, problems of relapse into illiteracy, and others.

Community Elites QuestionnairesEdit

Lastly, a set of questionnaires for the community elites, that is, the members of the local panchayat and other community leaders was designed to find out their views about literacy, the impact of literacy on the society, and their own involvement in the work. Sampling

Since the evaluation work involved both LEP and FAEP, the selection of places for field work had the initial constraint that the districts chosen for the work should have programs run both in the past and at present. Another constraint was the division of the country into such horizontal axes as east and west, and the vertical axes such as the northern hills and southern plains – a division the truth of which is recognized as both sociological and political. Keeping in mind the above requirements and constraints four districts were selected for field work by random sampling; two in the hills and two in the southern plains, one each from the east and the west respectively. These districts were: Kavre (eastern hills), Gorkha (western hills), Banke (western plains), and Jhapa (eastern plains). With the limited staff and time it was not considered possible to reach all adult education centers in each of these districts. So the aim was to take the places where a FAEP was run or running as the centre and then take the LEP centers clustered around the above, if possible, by random sampling. The lists of the LEP and FAEP centers were to be taken from the DEO.


Pre-testing of the evaluation instruments was considered essential and a primary school was selected in a village outside the Kathmandu Valley for this purpose. This school was listed in the DEO office as having run a literacy class the previous year and as running a current literacy class. There was a FAEP of Agriculture running at the district head quarters also.

1.3 Change of PlanEdit

A fundamental change in the plan of the project came about as a result of our experiences in pre-testing and in the first district selected for field work. The story is as follows:

Having prepared all evaluation instruments, pre-testing was started in December 1976. All preliminary questionnaires from the DEO were completed and the teacher of the selected centre was interviewed. It was reported by the teacher that the current class had not yet started although it was already late for the year. He spoke fluently about previous classes he claimed to have conducted. On being requested he agreed to find some new literates from the previous year for us to interview the following week. The following week he produced three adults who claimed to have taken adult literacy classes the previous year. Tests were given to them and interviews conducted. It became clear from circumstantial evidence that none had attended an adult literacy class. It appeared they were all literate (e.g. they could read the complete instruments for the test) and that they had not attended a class the previous year (e.g. they gave completely conflicting information about the so-called class). All the investigators were convinced that no class had taken place the previous year.

This was our first practical meeting with what we had been warned about by certain people involved closely in adult education.

Because of the shortage of time and because there was suspicion now on the value of the ‘scientific’ evaluation instruments – both from our first pre-testing and from our increasing contact with the adult education set-up, we decided to go straight into the first field work district selected by random sampling. It was decided to use this district as another pre-testing project.

The first field work confirmed our suspicious. It was impossible in the space of 2 weeks to find a genuine, as opposed to a pseudo, new literate. Here is a brief outline of this first field work: From the Adult Education Section, Ministry of Education, a District Survey Form was filled, that is, information was obtained about the number of LEPs and FAEPs and other related facts about the selected districts. The same form was filled at the DEO. This was supposed to check on the information obtained from the AES. It was found that they did not tally much. At the DEO, lists of names of the students who had participated in the previous year’s literacy classes were obtained for the centers selected for evaluation. To avoid arousing suspicion and hostility a local man was brought in to help obtain information on the people listed and to locate them. To summarise what appears in more detail in chapter III, all the people on the lists who were identified could or would not have attended an adult literacy class. They had been dead for some time, had attended formal schooling, etc.

Parallel to searching for new literates, current literacy classes were sought in order to obtain information from participants and to observe. Almost none of the literacy classes said to be running currently in the field work area were in fact operating.

We had to assume, and this turned out to be correct, that the first field work area was not a-typical. We had to assume that there was little likelihood finding any or enough literates to be able to use our carefully prepares instruments. It had taken a lot of time in the field work area to ascertain the absence of literacy classes. It was, therefore, clearly a waste of time and money to try and obtain a random sample. The three other selected districts, which happened to be little known by the field workers, were abandoned. It was decided that the most useful and revealing information would be obtained by doing field work in two districts intimately known by the researchers, namely Bhojpur and Dhankuta. All ideas of obtaining ‘scientific data’ from the field work were abandoned. Instead, the researchers went into the field with the simple aim of trying to find some sign of adult literacy, both in the terms of new literates of the past year or two years, or in the form of current literacy classes. They were to use the evaluation instruments when or if possible.

As it turned out, intensive field work in Bhojpur and Dhankuta and very few field works in Dadeldhura and Kathmandu confirmed the findings of the first field work. The report then contains no evaluation facts or figures. It contains, in fact, nothing on the evaluation which was supposed to be the focus of the project, because there was nothing found which could be evaluated. The chapter on field work is a simple account of what was found in the field areas.

1.4 Final shape of the reportEdit

The report is divided into 8 sections. The first chapter is the Introduction which is a brief account of the project in terms of plan and implementation. The second Chapter, the history of adult education in Nepal, is an attempt to recreate a clear picture of the history of adult education in the country by piecing together reports and documents as far as available. The chapter presents the history from the pre-revolution period (before 1950) to the period just before the NESP was introduced (1970).

The third chapter, the organizations of current adult education in Nepal, is an attempt to draw a picture of the adult education program at the present time in the country, based on published documents answers to our questionnaires, and our own experiences.

The fourth chapter presents a summary of previous reports.

Chapter five, report on field work, is a description if adult literacy as we found it in the of the field work carried out in the districts of Kavre, Bhojpur, Dhakuta and of minor enquiries in the districts of Dadeldhura and Kathmandu during the months of January-March.

Chapter six contains our commentaries on adult education in matters of policy, implementation, textbook, and other issues of literacy.

Chapter seven contains broad recommendations.

Chapter eight presents conclusion.

The appendix contains tables and graphs, mostly incomplete because of lack of data.

The reference contains list of publications consulted.

1.5 LimitationsEdit

1.The history of adult education in Nepal is based on government and other available reports and documents. The picture presented here is therefore valid in so far as these reports are. Even with these reports all the necessary facts and figures could not be presented because of the often quoted reason that the Singh Durbar fire burnt the documents.

2.Because of the frequent changes in staff, very few of those personnel who had been involved in adult literacy prior to 1970 were available for interviews.

3.The account of the organization of current adult education which draws to a large extent on documents and reports, and certain responses to our questionnaires, again, is valid only in so far as the latter are valid. It is our strong suspicion that the extent of adult education in Nepal is perhaps not as extensive and successful as these agencies lead us to believe.

4.It was often extremely difficult to obtain information about current literacy work and its organization. If relevant facts are omitted, crucial or minor, it is because we were unable to find them.

5.The areas surveyed are a few places in the district of Kavre, Bhojpur, Dhankuta, and even fewer in Dadeldhura and Kathmandu. The impression given by these surveys may not be generalized for the whole country, since, as has been explained above, this was not a random sample, and personnel and time available for field work was extremely limited.

6.For the reasons mentioned above, the methods and instruments were not used in strict schedule during the field work. Of necessity the report on field work is generally impressionistic.

7.For the reason mentioned above, the chapter on field work presents no quantifiable information, or scientific method. It is a simple description of the findings of field work.

8.The tables are not completed in the appendices because the necessary information was not available.


2.1 Pre-nineteen hundred and fiftyEdit

The usual tendency is to trace the history of adult education in Nepal to some distant half-historical, if not mythical, past, to the ‘comparatively undocumented world’ of the kings of ancient times who had to their credit one or two festivals ‘calculated to advance adult education’.1 However, this could not possibly have affected the illiteracy among the mass in any meaningful way, especially when it compounds with the fact that it was mostly only the people born in the Brahmin castes who took to reading and writing in a highly specialized Hindu society.

The literacy rate estimated for the whole nation prior to 1950 is 1%.2 This low literacy rate has been ascribed to the educational policy of the Rana regime for 104 years before 1950 which was one of opposition to mass education.3 Altogether there were 256 primary schools throughout the country. Deva Shamsher, one of the Rana Prime Ministers, is reported to have opened 150 primary schools in and around 1901 when he decreed that any community which could provide 50 students should be given a teacher and free education. However, they were closed down as soon as the family feud drove him out of the power. His curriculum included the three R’S, and some readings of history and geography.4

Padma Shamsher, another Rana Prime Minister, also committed himself to schooling and in 1948, under the basic education system, adult education centers in 5 villages (in Devtapani, Swanra, Chyanpata, Gashahar, and Pustun) of Lamjung district were reported as open with adult participants up to 50 years of age.5

Some literacy also came, and continues to come, from India, from the centers of Brahmin and Buddhistic learning. Some literacy came, and continues to come, from the soldiers serving abroad as Gurkhas who return home after the completion of their service. According to British and Indian estimates, about 3,000 Gukha soldiers are made fully literate each year in the British and Indian armies.6

The educational situation in Nepal by 1950 may be summarized by the following table:7

Illiteracy statistics for the period before 1950 are given as follows:9

Year of census survey Age Level Illiterate Population Percentage of Illiterates

Total Male Female Total Male Female 1952-54 14+ 4,808,919 2,190,869 2,618,050 94.9 90.0 99.4 ]]

2.2 The First Five Year Plan (1956/57-1960/61)Edit

The conscious adult literacy drive for the masses began in Nepal only with the first Five Year Plan for the country. However, it involved preparation of not less than 3 years. In 1952 The Government of Nepal established an Education Board to organize education in Nepal. The meeting of Education Board members in November 1953 suggested that a National Commission for Planning Education for Nepal be appointed to survey existing educational facilities and to prepare a scheme for national universal education in Nepal. This Commission was to include adult education.

In 1953 the Ministry of Education of the Government of Nepal, in co-operation with the United States Operation Mission (U.S.O.M.), invited Dr. Frank Laubach of the World Literacy Foundation to advise the government on adult education. Dr. Laubach set to work together with a team of three educationists. This team prepared a set of five charts, a primer, and a second reader in four parts. The primer contained thirteen lessons and the second readers about twenty five lessons each. The charts contained alphabets according to the Lauback method.10

On March 1, 1954 (reported sometimes as March 8), the Nepal Government and U.S.O.M. signed an agreement to design and undertake the responsibility for adult education in Nepal. The immediate goal of this undertaking was the elimination of illiteracy. In order to administer and carry out the program such personnel as an adult education officer, an assistant to him, a radio education officer, four field organizers, an illustrator, and two typists were also employed.

A Teacher Training Center opened this year.

The Nepal National Education Planning Commission, appointed according to the suggestions of the Education Board in 1953, presented its mimeographed report11 to the Minister of Education on March 1, 1955. This report set out the guidelines for future adult education in Nepal. The Report recognized literacy as the first step in adult education.

The Report made the following recommendations

1.Following the reaching of literacy, the three R’s should be taken up, then religious textbooks, current affairs, and vocational education according to the needs of each locality. 12

2.Preparation of the textbooks by adult education experts. Construction of post literacy literature aimed to give skill and practice in reading newspapers, books, and magazines, and provide information and knowledge of problems and subjects of wide interest.

3.Wall newspapers, education poster, and maps with special issues for festivals and national holidays.

4.Easy language leaflets for home to home distribution.

5.Mobile projection vans and equipment ‘for the composite blend of entertainment and instruction to stimulate the desire for education and to waken interest in the various aspects of village or town improvement.’

6.Encouragement of traditional folk arts and crafts.

7.Solicitation of cooperation of students, social workers, and voluntary agencies.

The Commission set a goal of making literacy classes available to all who want them by 1975.

The Five Year Plan13 for education in Nepal, the first plan of this sort for the whole nation, was drafted in 1956 by the National Education Planning Commission which followed closely the policy contained in the Report. The Plan made adult literacy its second major target after primary schooling as it was considered ‘critically essential to the development and survival of democracy. 14

Targets for the National Plan Education in Adult Education15

Immediate 1960 1965 1975 Adult Education (Age 16+) 600 Literacy classes per year. 100,000 new literates by 1960, some other adult education. 100,000 new literates per year; extensive other adult education. Village libraries and radio for all. Universal voluntary availability of complete adult education program. Teacher Education 300 teachers of adult literacy

The estimated budget is as follows16

Adult Literacy Radio Education Total

No. of part time teachers No. of adult students 2 groups per year Teaching costs Administration and materials cost Personnel Equipment

I year 300 15000 54,000 50,000 5,000 50,000 159,000 II year 500 25000 50,000 50,000 5,000 25,000 170,000 III year 1000 50,000 180,000 75,000 5,000 25,000 285,000 IV year 1700 85000 306,000 75,000 5,000 25,000 411,000 V year 2500 125000 450,000 110,000 5,000 25,000 580000 Total 6000 300000 1,080,000 350,000 25,000 150,000 1,605,000

More than half of the costs for the first year available from U.S.O.M. 17

The plan stipulates teacher’s salaries as Rs. 45 per month for each 3 months course consisting of 65 periods of one hour each.

The implementation actually began only after the program was turned over in September 1956 to the Bureau of Adult Education which had been recently opened as a branch of the College of Education. The Bureau took up the programs in terms of six months, that is twice a year. The immediate purpose of the adult education program was defined by the Bureau as to spread literacy among the adult mass to make them aware of the problems of the country, able to think in terms of their daily and remote needs of life, express freely and meaningfully and to practice the democratic ways of life.18

After this two year’s preparation, the actual classes began to be set up19. By the following June (1957) 179 classes were reported as open. Opening new classes was felt to be an arduous task and the difficulty was ascribed to the unavailability of trained teachers, the meager number of field organizers, and the shortage of educational materials.

It is also reported that all the staff members and the four field organizers were given a short training course in the adult literacy program and the methods of using the material, charts, and other materials. A refresher course on the methods of teaching adults and using the materials was also given to the teachers.

During the second year of the plan (1957-58) 346 classes were opened and 4,280 illiterates were taught how to read. Arithmetic is reported as being taught only after a year of language instruction.

In spite of the target for starting 600 new literacy classes, only 139 literacy classes were started this year (1958-59) due to the problem reported as ‘the lack of cooperation of the inspectors and sub-inspectors’. Some more teaching materials were added to the total.21

The following years of the Plan show a progressive deterioration of the program.

Teacher Training for adult education.22

A Teacher Training Center opened in 1954 to run a training program for primary school teachers. The curriculum included methods in teaching adults. Several primary teachers and village social workers were recruited from six villages in Kathmandu and given refresher courses in adult education with special emphasis on methods of teaching. By 1955 more than 500 teachers and field workers were reported as trained.

The primary school teacher was recognized as the best qualified person in the community to promote interest in the literacy classes. Each trainee in the Training Centre was supposed to receive instruction and demonstrations and was encouraged to practice these skills on illiterate adults of their acquaintance. The method of teaching reading and writing is reported as being based on drill and practice. The teaching method is also reported as being the Laubach method. Each trainee was supposed to take with him one set of literacy materials from the training centers and to receive additional materials when a literacy class was established.

Field organizers were entrusted with the job of supervising various adult education centers and of reporting to headquarters on top of organizing literacy classes.

Radio Education

The ‘School-of-the-Air’ Education for adults from radio broadcasting, went into effect in Nepal on July 2, 1958. 125 radio sets together with 200 batteries and 125 loud speakers were distributed to different adult literacy classes. The Bureau had a modern sound-proof studio where scripts were taped and then sent out to Radio Nepal for broadcast. Adult literacy teachers were notified of the program schedules and were encouraged to have their students listen to the programs.

However, very few centers had any access to the radio sets, and the radio receiving sets were distributed to village in and around the Kathmandu valley only. No provision was made for maintaining these sets and there was no further distribution of additional sets.23 The program was discontinued in 1960.


There were no more than 150 libraries started between 1953-1961 in the whole country and these were seriously lacking in books and other reading materials.

To conclude, during the First Five Year Plan period, the adult education program got off the ground in a vigorous way but deteriorated progressively towards the end. The College of Education Evaluation24 (1957) found that the period of training for the adult education teachers was very short and inadequate to give them any skill to educate adults and that the materials taught to them were not very comprehensive. Besides that, the course taught to the adults was found to be badly written. Wood and Knall also report that in 1961 the program lapsed. The literacy newspaper and other publication efforts were discontinued. They made the following comments: ‘The adult literacy program during the past decade can only be described as ‘erratic’…, the result has been wasteful as well ineffective in terms of the Commission’s goal. The reason is said to be the lack of any follow up materials.

Statistically speaking, instead of the proposed number of 100,000 adults to be made literate during the plan period and instead of the proposed 3,000 literacy classes only 47,950 adults were made literate and only 1917 classes were opened. Instead of training 2,500 part time teachers, the actual number of teachers trained did not exceed 500.

2.3 The Second Three Year Plan (1962/63-1964/65)Edit

The National Committee appointed in 1961 recommended that materials should be prepared for the new literates to prevent them from relapsing into illiteracy. It was also suggested that social organizers be appointed in each of the 75 districts and that special arrangements be made to educate the blind, deaf, dumb and otherwise physically handicapped persons.

According to the Plan, 25 the target for the plan period was to teach more than 100,000 adults in literacy and open 4,050 adult education centers. The duration of classes was also to be extended from 6 months to 9 months although it remained 6 months when actually implemented. 26 Nearly 2,000 teachers were to receive training in adult education methods.

The Adult Education Section of the Government of Nepal in 1962 consisted of a Head, and assistant Head, and an assistant for women’s classes plus supporting staff of 14 organizers (1 per zone). The Section Head, one women’s worker and one field organizer were trained in the U.S. in 1961 and 1962 respectively. Over 50,000 copies of reading materials were distributed. Over 100 transistor radios equipped with extension loud-speakers were also distributed. The Section also broadcasted weekly programs over the radio. For women’s classes 45 hand operated sewing machines were distributed. 27

In addition 75 supervisors were appointed to supervise adult education classes in each of the 75 districts. The Panchayats were also asked to organize literacy classes.

The Unesco team28 in 1962 found that the several programs in adult education being administered by various ministries were not effectively coordinated. The team recommended that an Adult Education Coordinating Committee be established with representatives from several ministries and that a coordinator of Adult Education be appointed to develop a strong, unified and expanding program of adult education. They also recommended, among other things, that the literacy training be raised to 100,000 adults per year by 1970.

During this plan period, 61,790 people were made literate falling short of the target by 40%. Similarly, the number of classes opened did not exceed 2,500 as opposed to the target of above 4,000. No report as to teacher training is available. The total number of the adult population made literate since the inception of the program was estimated as about 100,000 and the total number of classes as 4,700.

2.4 The Third Plan: Five Year Plan (1965/66-1969/70)Edit

During the third plan period, three kinds of adult education ran simultaneously: Literacy Classes, Adult Education Center, and Literacy Campaign.

The Literacy ClassesEdit

An adult literacy class of the first type ran for 9 months with a total of 260 hours of teaching. This program concentrated on the teaching of the three R’s together with such diverse topics as health, agriculture, home science (for women only), cottage industry, social education, general knowledge, and finally, general science.

Participants received free books, slates, pencils, and chalk at the outset of the program, which however had to be returned at the end. After the successful completion of the program, certificates were distributed to the participants.

The Adult Education CenterEdit

An Adult Education Center, of the second type ran programs for the new literates, after the recognition of the fact that if there were no follow up programs for the recently acquired skills the adults would forget them. This program was further subdivided into: Literacy Classes – organized the same way as the literacy program of the first type, and After-literacy Classes which ran the whole year round and was for the development of the skills acquired by the adults through any Literacy Classes. An adult who had passed through the program successfully was considered equivalent to a fifth grader in the formal school system.

The subjects taught under this program were: agriculture, community work, animal husbandry, home management, and health. Debates, seminars, acting, singing, and other short term projects for villages were organized under what was called an Auxiliary Program.

This particular program was required to have a library as a compulsory feature. Another requirement was that if both types of program were given one should be for men and the other for women.

The Literacy CampaignEdit

The Literacy Campaign, the third type had as its general objectives, the eradication of illiteracy from the whole of Nepal, and as its specific objectives, the making of all illiterate people between 14 and 45 years of age from a certain selected zone, district, village Panchayat, or such limited area, literate over a definite time period. 29

The first step in the organization of a class under the Literacy Campaigns was the selection of members for a management committee followed by the selection of volunteer teachers. A section supplying statistics of illiteracy in the areas was set up side by side. Then literacy classes were opened, ideally one in each ward, the further subunit of a village panchayat. The participating adults in the areas were selected from the 14-45 age groups although anybody above 45 years of age was allowed to join. Books, slates, lanterns were distributed free at the outset of the program and has to be returned at the end.

Hamro Desh 30 was the textbook used in the program. A booklet contained a teaching plan for the whole literacy period. Writing skill (of name and address) combines with reading after which arithmetic has to be taken up. The textbook is divided up into lessons for each month. The writer claims, ‘if teaching is taken up strictly according to the syllabus an adult will be able not only to read, write, and do simple arithmetic for practical purpose within 6 months but he will also be able to read a newspaper. 31

The radio continued to give programs for the literacy students, these included poems, short stories, comedy, agriculture, science, and general knowledge.

These booklets take considerable time talking about the problems that are likely to be faced organizing a literacy campaign. These problems are the same as today.

According to a report, 32 during this plan period nearly 500 literacy classes were given in the country and about 91,000 adults were made literate. The target for the adult number to be made literate was 250,000. Quantitatively, this plan period was thus a 50% failure. The report also says that 2, 595 teachers were given adult education teacher training. One 16 mm. filmstrip with ‘Village Development’ as its title was also made. 1.6% of the total education budget was spent on adult education. Different class and Panchayat organizations participated.

2.5 The Fourth Plan: National Education System Plan (1971-76)Edit

A more detailed report on the Fourth Plan appears in the next chapter. Out of the proposed target of covering 500,000 adults during the whole five years (100,000 per year), the number of adults reported to have been made literate is about 263,000, short by nearly 50% of the goal. Functional Adult Education was innovated for the country during this plan period. On paper, about 2,000 literacy centers were given.

2.6 The Fifth Plan (1975-80)Edit

The Educational Programs in the Fifth Plan (1975-80)33 envisage two types of adult education: (a) Adult Literacy Programme with a target of imparting literacy to 600,000 adults during the plan period, and (b) Work Oriented Adult Education Programme to impart relevant knowledge and skills to adults so as to enable them to contribute to local developmental activities’ and to be conducted by the vocational higher secondary schools in coordination with the various extension activities of His Majesty’s Government. It is also said that a coordination committee at the central level would be established for this purpose.

The budget allocated for the five years is Rs. 17,500,000.

Recently, The World Education N.Y., and HMG have jointly taken up the work of adult literacy to continue for three years under what is called ‘Non-formal Education for Rural Development’. AEO is also continuing to do its work simultaneously. 2.7Summary

Altogether more than 500,000 illiterate adults are claimed to have been made literate through different adult education programs organized so far in the country. The target for the next five year plan period is to reach 600,000 adult illiterates. It is interesting to note here that within none of the above plan periods has the target been reached. The following table will show that the first plan ran short by 54% of the goal; the second plan was a 30% failure, the third plan 64% and the fourth plan a 57% failure. 34

Target vs. real achievement


I Plan II Plan III Plan IV Plan Number of illiterate adults to be made literate 100,000 100,000 250,000 600,000 Real Number of adults made literate 46,000 79,786 91,189 263,272 == 3.ORGANIZATION OF CURRENT ADULT EDUCATION ==


3.1 The Ministry of EducationEdit

Following the promulgation of the Shiksha Ain,1 there are two types of adult education organized at present in the country: a Literacy Extension Programme (LEP) and Functional Adult Education Programme (FAEP). The Adult Education Section of the Ministry of Education organizes all of the LEP. Primary Schools in the main and several other organizations such as the NWO, Ex-military Servicemen’s Organization, Factories, and Jails receive quotas to run the LEPs. For FAEP the ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Home Panchayat together with the Ministry of Education combine in organizing the program.

Apart from the AES, the Educational Research Unit of the Ministry of Education is organizing an experimental literacy program in Lahachowk and the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance (SATA) is trying out a literacy project in Sindhupalchowk.

Other bodies which are doing work connected with adult education as support to the AES are Janak Education Materials and the Curriculum Development Centre of the HMG. The Women’s Training School of the Panchayat Ministry is also marginally concerned with literacy. UNICEF has prepared a diary for new literates.

At policy level, as opposed to the implementation level, there is a Co-ordinating Committee2, consisting of a Planning Commission member as Chairman and Secretaries of the Ministries of Education, Home Panchayat, Health and Agriculture as members. This committee decides adult education policy and passes its decisions to a Working Committee the Chairman of which is a Secretary of the Ministry of Education. This Working Committee prepares the working level flow and program for effective implementation through the adult education section of the Ministry of Education.

The above may be summarized as follows:

Adult Education Programme

Experimental Projects

Research Unit, Ministry of Education, in Lahachowk. SATA in Sindhupalchowk

Other Institutes concerned – mainly with materials Janak Education Materials Production Centre Curriculum Development Centre, HMG UNICEF

3.1.1 Literacy Extension Programme (LEP)Edit

All LEPs are organized and administered by the AES of the Ministry of Education. The AES sends instructions and materials to all DEOs in the country, a total of 75, through the Regional Directorate, of which there are 4. The DEOs are in charge of organizing and implementing literacy courses in their districts. In theory they do so mainly by having primary school supervisors select schools which have willing and suitable teachers to run courses. Primary school teachers usually give the courses. The total number of teachers per annum is roughly 5,000, that is, there are around 60 to 65 courses run in each district, sometimes more, sometimes less. A considerable number of National Development Service (NDS)3 students also teach literacy courses. Teachers or the Panchayats and the willing organizations in turn find the illiterate adults to join the course. Since there are supposed to be 20 adults for one course, that is, for one teacher, the total number of students attending literacy classes in one year should be around 100,000, which was the target until recently. New term ‘quota’ is used to mean one course of 20 students taught by a teacher.

The above may be set out as follows:

Literacy Extension Programme (adult literacy)Edit

Teaching Materials

The teaching materials sent out are copies of the textbook Hamro Pustak, enough for each student and teacher. The textbook, however, is required to be returned to the DEO at the completion of each program. No other teaching materials are officially provided.

Financing for each quota

For each quota the teacher is paid Rs. 200/- as salary for the duration of the course. This payment has to be collected from the DEO at the completion of the course which has to be validated by the Supervisor and by the production of the attendance register.

For each quota there is an allowance of Rs. 50/- to cover the cost of teaching materials such as chalk and black board and kerosene for light. This allowance has to be collected by the teacher some time during the course after the supervisor has approved the program.

Length and Place of Course

Courses last six months and are given once a year. These are the months from Paush to Jestha, that is, from January to June. If the climate in a particular region is difficult during these months the course is given in other months.

Classes are given in centers which are usually primary schools, for two hours six evenings a week Sunday through Friday. These centers may change from year to year depending on the availability of students and the suitability of teachers, Adult literacy centers are not required to be run in schools. They may ben run at any place convenient for the participants as well as the teachers.

Classes are conducted in the evening or the morning. In theory, students are supposed to attend the classes for the full six months even if, in the opinion of the teacher, they have attained literacy.


As noted above, teachers are selected by the DEO through the school supervisors. They are usually primary school teachers, but may be other teachers. As such, most, perhaps, have had primary teacher training, if not all. They receive no special training in adult education. A few may have received the 7 days training reported to have been given by the Ministry of Education up to 1970 before the NESP was introduced.

A proportion of NDS students teach adult literacy. A very small part of the NDS training programs is devoted to preparation for teaching.

The Total number of primary school teachers up to 2032 (1975/76) was 19,543 and of them only 7,873 had received training in primary school teaching methods. 4


The only official restriction on students is that they must be over 14 years of age and illiterate.

Size of Classes

Officially, the minimum number of adults required for a literacy class is 20. If there is only a small number enrolled at a center, the DEO has to decide whether or not the course should be given.

Literacy Achievement Test

There is no formal test. But teachers are expected to give a simple test which requires the student to write his name, village and district, to do simple addition and subtraction and to be able to read from the text book, Hamro Pustak.

If a supervisor happens to visit a course at the end he may give some simple impromptu test in the three R’s.

Follow up Program

There are no specific follow up programs for this course. There is no journal for the new literates. The Ministries of Health & Agriculture have produced certain information or propaganda booklets which might be considered follow up materials.


The primary school supervisors are responsible for supervising adult literacy centers. These supervisors are allocated responsibility for all the primary schools of a certain area and it is their responsibility to supervise those adult classes which are being run in that area. A supervisor does not get any additional salary for this additional job.

3.1.2 Functional Adult Education Programme (FAEP)Edit

Functional Adult Education in Nepal was introduced in Nepal during the New Educational System Plan (1971-76). The aim of this type of adult education is to impart to the adult population such knowledge, information and skills as may be of help to them in their daily life5. The program was an attempt to amalgamate the different programs run simultaneously by different ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Home and Panchayat and channels them through the AES. Currently, there are two types of FAEP running in the country: Functional Adult Education for farmers and Functional Adult Education for women in home science. The Functional Adult Education in public health has not yet come off the ground although a primer and a teacher’s handbook have been prepared.

Both types of adult education programs are conducted by the AES of the Education Ministry, working in cooperation with concerned ministries, departments, corporations, factories and other agencies connected with development work. The AES, as with the literacy extension program sends out a limited number of quotas to the District Education Office which in turn conducts the program in a vocational secondary school. The secondary school which receives a quota is required to have the subject (agriculture or home science) in its regular curriculum.


When the vocational secondary school receives a quota the regular teacher of Agriculture or Home Science of the schools is assigned the job of organizing and teaching the course. If the quota is an agriculture type, the Junior Technical Assistant or a Junior Technician from the Agriculture Department working in the area is deputed to join the teacher. If it is a home science type, then the school teacher of home science is selected as the teacher with an additional teacher trained in drawing and weaving. These teachers are trained in their subjects and in how to teach these to secondary school students. They do not have any training in how to do the course with adults.


The monthly salary for each teacher is Rs. 75/-. The center receives Rs. 200/- for buying seeds, fertilizers, needles, cloth, thread etc. An additional sum of Rs. 200/- is also given to the training center for buying exercise books and pencils to be distributed among the adults. Agricultural tools and sewing machines are provided by the secondary schools where the program is held.

Teaching Materials

The only textbook used for the agriculture type functional adult education is Krishi6. There is a handbook for teachers, provided only last year.

Janaswasthay7 is a textbook meant to be used in the public health type of functional adult education. There is a teacher’s handbook.

Some information and propaganda materials published by the related ministry are used in the classes. There are no other materials provided officially by the Adult Education Section to any course.


Participating adults are supposed to be already literate. The number of adults allowed to join a course is 20.

Length of Course

Courses last ten months and are given once a year from the month of Paush (January). Courses are given either in the morning or in the evenings according to the local conditions, for two hours each day and six days a week.

These centers are required to be held at a secondary school and nowhere else because of the materials that are available only in the schools.


The secondary school supervisors are assigned the job of supervising functional adult education centers. They receive no extra payment for this job.


The first functional adult education was of the agriculture type and was run in 1973 (FY 2029/030) in the district of Kaski. 12 centers were opened in 12 schools and 120 adults (exactly 20 in each center) were reported to have gone through the program.

The following year there were 14 centers of the agriculture type in the districts of Kaski and Rupandehi. 18 centers were run in 1975 (FY 2032/033) in the districts of Chitawan, Saptari, Kaski, Rupandehi, and Banke. The Home Science type of adult education was started only last year. A total of 875 adults had been through these programs of both types. For the last year of the program 1976 the target population was 18,000.

3.2 Other Literacy OrganizationsEdit

3.2.1 The Nepal Women’s Organization (NWO)Edit


The Advisory Board of the Nepal Women’s Organization (NWO), centered in Kathmandu, is in charge of literacy, together with three other projects. This board is in touch with the District Women’s Organizations through their members who select the centers, teachers and the students.

The Literacy Campaign

The literacy work initiated by the NWO is called ‘Sakshayart Abhiyan’8 or literacy campaign. Meant for women adults, these literacy classes are conducted by the NWO all over the country with the objectives that ‘the younger and older sisters in the villages would, instead of sitting idle, use their spare time to know how to read and write and be useful in the development of the country, home, and the society9. Since the introduction of the New Educational System Plan the NWO has stopped organizing literacy teaching itself and has joined the system of the Ministry. It receives a specific number of ‘quotas’ from the Ministry each year.

The textbook, Hamro Pustak, is used. Teachers are paid Rs. 200/- plus Rs. 50/- for the incidentals and they receive no training as they had done in the past. There is no formal test of literacy and no evaluation.

Teachers, however, are selected by the District Women’s Organizations and are mostly primary school teachers, as under AES.

Students have to be over 15 years of age. The ideal number in a class is set at 15. 10 is the minimum and the overall restriction on numbers is set by the money available, which is limited.

Reportedly, women are encouraged to join literacy courses by members of the Women’s Organizations who motivate by different methods, including house to house visiting.

Attempts are being made to provide follow up materials. Booklets produced by the NWO for family planning information could be used as follow up materials. The NWO will also distribute the diary produced by the UNICEF.


The NWO itself received The Mohammad Reza Pahlavi honorable mention in 1969 “for its remarkable work in favour of the literacy teaching of women and of their integration into the national effort for economic and social development”10

The NWO organized a district wide competition every year and the Ratna Literacy Shield and a cash prize of Rs. 5,000 are given to the district which wins by making the highest number of women literate.


The NWO is reported to have made 15,000 women literate prior to the year 1971. It is reported to have made 10,000 adult women literate during 1972; another 10,000 in 1973; 14,120 in 1974; and 11,900 in 1975. Altogether 61,020 women were made literate by NWO by 197511.

However, there have been noises of dissatisfaction with the accomplishments of NWO12. It has been doubted if the NWO has been as successful as it claims to have been. There have been signs of discomfort that perhaps NWO's claims are little better than those of the Ministry’s. Our won field work, at least in one district, did not enable us to locate any of the 30 – add adult clames for women said to have been given the previous year not any one of the 600 women reported to have been made literate the same year.

3.2.2The National Development Service (NDS)13Edit

NDS is a one year programme for graduate students of Tribhuvan University. Following the completion of their second semester, students are required to spend a year performing some services in the country. Among others, NDS students are required to give a literacy course for the adults of the area where they are posted.

The usual practice is to receive a quota from the DEO. If no such quota is available, students are required to conduct the course on their own. If the quota is received from the DEO, and in most cases it is the usual finance of Rs. 250/- is then received along with free copies of the text book, Hamro Pustak. However, the amount received this way is usually reported to have been spent on paper and pencils for the participants. The NDS Students receive a fixed amount of money from NDS Office for their room and board each month.

These students receive no additional directives in adult education. They are allowed to put out-of-school children together with the adults and give both groups literacy training. Out of 83 total training hours given before they are sent out, 21 hours are devoted to training in teaching methods. There are no separate hours for adult education teaching methods per se.

Three batches of NDS students, 1006 in number, have already participated in the programme since its inception in 1974. The first batch, 212 in number, was not required to teach literacy. No statistics are available as to how many courses were given altogether and how many people given literacy skills.

3.2.3 The Swiss Association for Technical Assistance (SATA)14Edit

HMG and SATA have jointly undertaken what could be called an experiment in adult education in Danda Pakhar, a village located in the district of Sindhupalchowk under the Integrated Hill Development Project (IHDP).

The objectives of this literacy undertaking involve a systematic establishment of a ‘literate environment’ to support, extend and improve adult education by the training of teachers and the organization of different kinds of courses such as:

Courses for Literacy and Numeracy:

Courses aiming at general functional knowledge and skills to meet the people’s need of this region in raising a family, operating a household, earning a living and participating in public life. Courses aiming at specific functional knowledge and skills in connection with the Project activities and in order to enable the people to earn their living in their own region.

Some other objectives include promotion or various kinds of institutions or activities, which give people a chance to use literacy and to develop and extend their basic education.

Three classes have already been given in which altogether 37 adults received literacy. Two-third of the participants came from the major ethnic group in the area, the Tamangs, and most of them have had their employment with IHDP run projects in the area.

The total number of staff members was 5, three of whom were instructors, one material preparator, and one general supervisor and advisor. All instructors were matriculates and their pay ranged from Rs. 275 to 350 per month. All of them received two weeks training. All members of the group met each day prior to the class to discuss and plan the next lesson.

Among other sensible aspects of the program materials were prepared using key words and key concepts used in the locality, and these were carefully graded. An illustrator worked for three months before the illustrations were finally printed. The curriculum itself was integrated into the total IHDP program in the area so that when these programs reached the people they would already have some concept about the program, and so that the project would serve as a follow-up program.

The experiment gives an impression of a well-organized and well-conceived project. The creation of a ‘literate environment’ is an innovative and useful concept. It helps motivate the adults to desire literacy and gives practice to those who are already literate. So far, subscriptions have been made to some Nepali newspapers, wall newspapers and being set up, a newsletter will soon appear, bookselling will soon start simple calendars and noticeboards will begin to appear in the villages, all of which is expected to contribute towards the creation of a ‘literate atmosphere’.

3.2.4 Lahachowk ExperimentEdit

Lahachowk is a village 7 miles North West of Pokhara where an experiment in literacy work by the Ministry of Education, Research Unit, under the direction of Dr. Prem Kumar Kasaju is going on.

The goal is complete eradication of illiteracy from this village of 9 wards where 73% of the adult population is completely illiterate and 57% of the school going children between the age of 6 and 8 years do not go to school.

The program started last year. Classes meet twice a day for one and half hours each session. The evening program is for women. 42 women have joined the first course. Evening classes are also run form males, both illiterates and semi-literates. The morning shift is for children who number 35 for the first year.

What is innovative about the Lahachowk literacy experiment is its curriculum. The curriculum is continuing. The staff members collect materials and compile them in Kathmandu for use for the next cycle. Teaching topics and materials are improvised according to the needs of the locality. For example, if a child is found to have burnt itself the previous evening, the topic for the day would be the problem of burning. In this way it is hoped to keep adults motivated to join the course and continue with it. Local materials are produced and used in the class room. Periodic demonstrations of these are made. Teachers are paid the same amount as the teachers of Functional adult education that is Rs. 75/- per month. However, these teachers have no training in adult education methods. There is a teacher supervisor.


4.1 The ReportsEdit

A number of reports on adult education have appeared over the past few years. These publications contribute significantly towards highlighting the problems of the programs, and we will, therefore, present a brief summary of the findings of these reports, some of which contain evaluation. We are considering the following publications:

1.“Workshop Seminar on Functional Adult Education 1974 – A short Report.” In Unesco Bulletin vol. VII no. 2, March 1975. This is a report of a seminar held from 18th March to 7th April, 1974, under the auspices of the AES with the assistance of UNESCO.

2.“Report on National Field Operational Seminar for the Training of Literacy Workers” conducted by the AES in collaboration with UNESCO, February 18, 1976.

3.“A Study of Non-formal Education in Bhadrabas Village Panchayat” by Sharda Prasad Dahal and Kapil Prasad Bhattarai (duplicated).

4.“Karyamulak Proudha Shikshya, Adhyan Pratibedan, 2031”. Education Minstry, Keshar Mahal.

5.“Proudha Shikshya Karyakram ko Mulyankan Adhayan” by Shrestha, S.K. and L.B. Belbase. Kathmandu: Rastriya Shikashya Samitiko Karyalaya, Singh Darbar 2030.

6.The Adult Education Supervisors Seminar organized by Regional Directorate and held in Kathmandu in November, 1976. This is an informally put together report of a seminar attended by the present researchers.

7.Apart from these relatively recent publications, some portions of earlier publications like the following also contribute to the understanding of the problems.

8.“Hijo, Aja, Bholi” by Kananlal Sharma. HMG, Ministry of Education, 2024. p. 11-12.

9.“The Development of Education in Nepal” by Hugh Wood, 1965. p. 67.

10.“Evaluation of College of Education.” Bureau of Research. 1957. p. 11.

The problems noted in these earlier reports are much the same as those in the later reports.

In the rest of this chapter footnotes reference to these nine reports which are referred to by their number are enclosed in brackets.

4.2 SummaryEdit


(a) There is unanimity in all reports that adult literacy teachers need special training1. Since some adult education teachers are not highly educated themselves2 it is all the more vital to prepare them in relation to the specialized text books and the special situation of the adults.

According to the Shrestha and Belbase report, literacy teachers are found to range in their qualification from lower secondary students to B.A. equivalent. The teachers, if trained at all, were trained in adult education from 6-15 days only. A high percentage of the interviewed teachers responded that the training was insufficient for the profession. Shrestha and Belbase also point out that the teachers were taken aback when asked about the teaching methods, since they had never heard of such a thing.

(b) The teaching by NDS students has been experienced as the most successful3. They themselves, however, feel the need for a full training in adult teaching.4

(c) The salary of Rs. 200/- per quota, that is, for teaching approximately 20 students for 6 months, is reported as far too low by the teachers and this is supported by others.5 Equally, there are no other incentives for teachers to teach adult literacy. 6

(d) The number of adult literacy teachers is felt to be too low for the number of quotas available. 7

(e) For functional adult education in agriculture, the teachers are trained in the subject. However, some teachers have felt their training inadequate for teaching adults.8


a. Lack of motivation is unanimously given as a major problem. 9

b. Lack of regular attendance is stated as being due to the following reasons;

Household and farm work Fatigue Teachers personality Lack of publicity Economic Problems Lack of pen and papers Insufficient reading materials Thwarted expectations 10

c. Amongst a group of farmers who had participated in FAEP in a survey, 56.32% reported that their chief sources of information were radio, agriculture specialists, and other, and not FAEP itself. 11

d. Contrary to policy, illiterate adults, too, were allowed to join the functional literacy classes. They had the disadvantage that they could not refer to the text book. On the other hand, if literates only had been allowed to join the class, the target of 20 students would not have been reached.

e. The agricultural population of the country clings to their traditional methods in agriculture in spite of their knowledge of the modern methods. The reasons are partly the unavailability of chemical fertilizers and of ready agricultural counseling. 12


a. It is constantly and unanimously reported that support materials for teaching are totally inadequate. These are:

i.Lanterns and kerosene necessary for evening classes. The present sum of Rs. 50/- allocated for each quota to cover these expenses is insufficient. 13 ii.Lack of blackboards, dusters, exercise books. 14 iii.Lack of teaching aids, e.g. flash cards, charts. 15 iv.Lack of materials for functional literacy also prevented classes from running effectively. 16

b. Too many quotas are made available when there are not enough books to supply to these centers. The system of distribution is faulty. The DEO is inefficient in supplying the books so often the text book lies gathering dust at the DEO’s stores. 17

Text book and curriculum


It is reported that curriculum and text books are not in tune with the needs and interests of the adults.18 “It would be more relevant to include agriculture, health, cottage industry and family planning in the literacy programme”.19 In general, a need for textbooks containing information about vocational and practical areas was felt.20


The textbook for agriculture contains too many technical words and not enough illustrations. Teachers generally felt the necessity of lowering the standard of the textbook.

Follow-up materials

It is reported that new literates relapsed into illiteracy because there was no follow-up program and that provision for a follow-up program is essential.21 In Bhadrabas Adarsh Village Panchayat 3% of the illiterates were made literate. But on checking after about eight years, it was found that most of them had relapsed into illiteracy. The reason is ascribed to the lack of any follow-up program. Though pamphlets and journals have been produced and distributed it is not known how much they have been used.22


Literacy programs were said to have been ineffective due to the lack of supervision.23 Supervisors have felt pressure from the public and from officials and have had to declare centers running smoothly when they knew to the contrary.24 Miscellaneous

Language: Tamangs Nepali is not good enough. The whole program faces problems when the subjects to be taught are not Nepali mother tongue speakers.25 In Rupandehi, where FAEP for farmers was held, the national language was a problem to the non-native speakers.26

Administrative Difficulties 27

a. Incidental (Rs. 50/- per course) is given either at the end of the program in a sum or in advance to the teacher in parts. The teachers are, therefore, forced to spend their own money in advance and then get reimbursed by the office later on which involves going constantly to the DEO wasting a lot of time and energy.

b. The supervisor has no trust in the teachers; the DEO has none in the supervisors. The result is embarrassing and the teacher is somewhere in between.

c. There is total confusion in the distribution of quotas. The DEO does not know where the centers are located and supervisors do not know about the centers until several months have passed when they are asked to find these schools and make reports on them. The supervisors feel the need for proper planning before the quotas are distributed.

d. The system demands a full 6 months course even though the course for adult education is always completed before six months elapse. A clear definition of literacy achievement is needed so that after the achievement of this, the participants are not required to run the complete time schedule.

e. The Supervisors have often found different sets of students when they visit the same course twice.

Community Participation

a. The seminar also pointed out that there was a lack of cooperation from the local panchayats. There were no publicity measures, no posters, radio programs, and bulletin.

The summary of the reports, investigations, and evaluations above shows some of the problems in adult education in Nepal rather succinctly. In our own experiences, we have found them generally true, although the validity of some of these reports may be questioned. These reports, like Shrestha and Belbase’s, the National Field Operational Seminar report, Karyamulak Proudha Shiksha Adhyayan, tend to give the impression that adult education centers are readily available for the investigator when he goes out to find them. In these reports interviews are generally conducted with teachers and some with students. Shrestha and Belbase’s have conduted theirs mostly with teachers. According to our own experience, it is extremely rare to come across any adult education center running at all if the name of the center is simply selected from the DEO’s list and visited at the appropriate time without prior warning. We did not find a single center that was on our list operating regularly. So it has to be assumed that the research groups give advance notice to the teachers to warn them they were not being visited at a certain data and time. This would allow the teacher to assemble appropriate students and prepare a grand show. If this is the case, and from our experience we had no other explanation, then the findings of the reports are immediately invalidated to a certain extent.


5.1 IntroductionEdit

This chapter contains the findings of our field work mainly in the districts of Kavre, Bhojpur, and Dhankuta, together with information from discussions, formal and informal, with many persons connected directly or indirectly with adult education: DEOs, teachers, administrators. Minor inquiries were also made in Dandheldhura and Kathmandu. There are no statistics and no ‘scientific facts’ for reasons given in the introduction. Names of persons and places have deliberately been omitted, since we believe that individuals are not responsible for the failure of adult education that we have found. Also many people spoke freely only on the understanding that their names would not be quoted. The Dandheldura and Kathmandu enquiries can be disposed of quickly. Dandheldhura was visited at the end of February. No adult literacy classes at all were being held there because, firstly, no books (Hamro Pustak) had been received by the DEO, even though classes should have started six weeks previously. Secondly, very few people could be found who were willing to have any literacy training and equally few teachers willing to take a quota. Thirdly, many people in the area were still away in the Tarai. The only place within a day’s walk of the DEO where a class was said to have been held the previous year was the jail. Hoping to find a few new literates there and use a carefully prepared literacy test and other instruments an inquiry was made at the jail. It was found that the last of the previous year’s prisoners had been released that morning and with him went the last hope, therefore, of locating a new literate.

Kathmandu was not selected as a field district. But following the negative results in the 3 field work districts, as a last and forlorn hope of observing a literacy class in operation, 13 centers were haphazardly selected in Kathmandu. It was found that not one of them was running a class. There was no more time available to go to any of the other centers listed.

5.2 The Literacy Extension Programme (LEP)Edit

What follows now is an account of the findings of our field work and discussion. The procedure followed in our field work was more a series of improvisations according to the place where we were working than a strict methodology. We would first go to the DEO and obtain all available data on adult literacy classes of the previous two years and the current year. This included the list of names of participants of centers selected for thorough investigation. We would then find a local person who was willing to tell us the truth, in most cases someone whom we ourselves knew very well, since we had selected field work areas in which we had strong personal contacts1. He would know the teachers and most, if not all, the people whose names were on the list as adult students. Our informants usually told us there was no class running currently and that there had been none in previous years. For confirmation, however, we went door to door to try and find the people listed for past years.

We could not expect to meet everybody on each list so we used secondary information from relatives of to so-called participants. We also met members of the school board and chatted with people in village tea-stalls and Chautaras.

In order to check on current classes, we found out the place and time of classes, informed no one of our impending visit and simply went to the center. Our findings were in all cases confirmed by our local informants - classes were not being held, or if held, not more than the first month in all cases.

Our experiences also began to tell us that meeting the teacher was the worst beginning. Nothing could take you further from the realities of adult education than the teachers themselves. Next in order were usually the village Pradhan Panchas and secretaries, for they know what was going on, or not going on, and they naturally wanted to protect the teacher.

We found that our best source of information was school teachers personally known to us. Knowing them was essential. In order to speak freely they had to have complete trust in us, since they had to continue living side by side, as it were, with the adult education teacher.

We shall now try to show what actually takes place. A certain amount of money worth a certain number of quotas is received by the DEO from AES. The DEO has to distribute these quotas, since, if he does not, he is in danger of being accused of inefficiency or irresponsibility. So he distributes them to school teachers, various organizational (e.g. Women’s Organization), and anyone else who claims to be able to give a class i.e. has 20 interested students and is capable of teaching. Very often a school supervisor finds the teacher. Very often the DEO is not really interested in adult education, either because he is well aware that it can not be effective with the present system and under prevailing conditions, or because he finds it valueless under any circumstances. We came across one DEO who did not even find it necessary to keep and account of how the adult education money was spent. The DEO is usually unaware of which areas under his jurisdiction need most attention, how much is already invested in one particular area and usually has no idea of the teacher-recipient’s background.

The person, who applies for a quota, in several cases a number of quotas, is usually not interested in making anyone literate. He takes it because it is there and because it offers a small remuneration at the end. Then he returns to his village. In exceptional cases, he assembles some people to give them some literacy classes, which may, at best, last a month or two. Mostly no class is run at all. In these cases, if a supervisor comes around to inspect the class, the teacher gets prior warning and is often able to assemble for the occasion a miscellaneous group of people to act as participants.

At the end of the stipulated six months (during the month of June), the teacher, that is quota recipient, goes to the DEO with a list of people he claims to have made literate. These names usually lack accompanying details, and adequate address, age, etc and are as ambiguous and anonymous as possible.

In our field work where we checked listed participants we found that the names belong mainly to people who were either:

(a)Not living in that locality any longer. (b)Attending lower secondary school. (c)Already literate (these were usually pahchayat members who had acquired literacy skills years ago). (d)Listed as repeating the course every year (usually in the jail). (e)Not adults (15+). (f)Or dead.

Upon receipt of the list the teacher is paid. We found a few cases in which lists of registered students were not required by the DEO and the teacher was paid without them.

The number of so-called participants is then sent by the DEOs to the AES of the Ministry of Education and these are the figures used in calculating the number of new adult literates.


Most of the few participants going to adult education centers are not adults. There is not much motivation for learning to read and write among adults. They do not seem to consider that reading and writing is really important. They think they are too old now to get any benefits from education itself. They see no difference between ‘black letters and black water buffalos’: both have the same value. To them ploughing their field is more important for their livelihood than reading. They ask literally if education brings light in the eyes.

There is considerable stigma against women going to attend any school. People still consider that education makes a woman a whore. Majority of women cannot come to any adult education centers because of the problem of child marriage. As soon as a girl is married, she becomes a daughter-in-law and subsequently loses her privileges. If there is an illiterate daughter and an illiterate daughter-in-law in two same houses, the daughter has better chance to going to school than the daughter-in-law.

Among the adults, we found that the best motivation for learning to read and write exists among illiterate business people. One DEO reported to us that the people of Manang paid additional sums of money to the teacher for teaching them the skills of reading and writing.

Some villages seem to have greater motivation to educate themselves than others. For example, a Rai or Gurung village with a high number of ex-military people is highly motivated for adult and other forms of education.

The majority of participants in adult education centers consist of non-adults, of children who cannot go to school during the day time, and of younger adults, that is people of roughly the 15-25 age group who had to drop out of school for some reason. The NDS experiences prove this fact. This has some implications. The most motivated for learning are these people, and one of the good things about adult education is that it has adjusted these people to the classes. However, there are some natural frustations, mainly because the curriculum is not designed for them. In order to help these people, some teachers are found to have taken their own initiative in teaching them to learn to write the Roman script because they want to learn it. If the majority of participants in our LEP comes from this group, the curriculum needs to be changed, not to talk of methods. It seems that this points towards the need for a continuing non-formal sort of education which is more than just pure literacy teaching.


Since most of the adult education teachers are primary school teachers, this has added to the difficulties by imposing, of necessity, the problems of primary education on to the adult education. It could be argued first if the primary school teachers are exactly the right model.

Apart from the fact, as shown in the above summaries, that the primary school teachers seem to know nothing about adult teaching techniques, not all the adult teachers are always pulled out of this group. In jails usually one of the prisoners who can decipher Roman letters is selected to be the teacher. In some cases, a primary school child is allowed to teach. In one case, when the center was initiated, at the beginning the most literate among the participating children was chosen us the teacher and the primary school teacher himself simply never turned up for the class.

At the other extreme are the highly educated NDS students. However, they too receive no training in teaching literacy.

Local Participation

One of the reports above has shown that there is no local participation in the popularization of adult education. We found several cases in which even the Pradhan Pancha did not know of the existence of the center and opinion was divided among the Panchayat Members as to its existence.

It seems that the Panchayats are kept out of adult education largely because it is given free. This is mostly a deal between the DEO and the primary school teacher. The teacher does not feel himself responsible to the village and the villagers. The Panchayat in its turn cannot exert any pressure largely because it thinks it would be a sheer imposition, for it is in no way involved itself. One Pradhan Pancha put it succiently when he said that he felt the Panchayat’s wheel ‘punctured’ as far as its efficiency in being operative in adult education was concerned.

5.3 Functional Adult Education Programme (FAEP)Edit

Out of the two types of functional adult education running in the country, i.e. the agriculture and home science types, two agricultural centers and one home science center were observed in the districts of Kavre, Bhojpur, and Dhankuta. What follows again is an impressionistic report based on our interviews with the teachers. It should also be pointed out that the summaries of reports above pertain to functional adult education programs also and something about FAEP has already been pointed out.

Most of the problems of administration, teachers, and adult students are of the same nature as LEP. As in the LEP program, the DEO usually disposes of his quota whether or not the teacher and the school see the need for it and whether or not participants are readily available. One of the vocational secondary schools which teaches the same subject as is available for a quota (agriculture or home science) is thrust upon the job.

As a result these centers too do not run very regularly. It is difficult for the teacher to find enough interested farmers and, even when he does, the course, which is officially required to run for ten months, is too long. It cuts right through the season when the farmer-students mostly go to the fields to work.

Another constraint for admitting the farmers is that the person must be literate. If an illiterate farmer is admitted then he cannot refer to the text book and he is at odds with the others who can already. A different session for the illiterate ones will then have to be managed. On the other hand, if literate ones are not admitted the number is too low.

There are various reasons the farmers are not interested in FAEP. Basically, there is no motivational push from the program itself. The only recourse for a teacher is then to go to each doors and ask the prospective candidates to attend the school. This is a mistake. The farmers do not want to be schooled because, quite understandably, they do not feel the need to learn anything new. They have managed their fields and lives in their own ways up till now and when somebody usually a mere youth down the street, requests them to enroll to learn about agriculture from him, they naturally feel embarrassed.

This gets to be more complicated when the department of agriculture has already involved itself in some ways with the farmers and FAEP has to move in. FAEP then sometimes has the additional burden of having to fight the misconceived ideas about agricultural innovations and the like generated from earlier agricultural programs. Even if there are some willing farmers, the fact that materials such as chemical fertilizers and improved seeds are in short supply, makes the course somewhat meaningless and purely theoretical.

Lack of JTA’s assistance

Theoretically, a Junior Technical Assistant who has had training in agriculture and is an employee of the Agriculture Ministry is required to be one of the members of the teaching team. However, in practice, we did not find the JTAs working with the teacher of the school. The ‘classic role of inter- ministerial co-ordination’ (the ‘inter-ministerial structure’ given ‘to the literacy policy’) so highly lauded by UNESCO in the Nepali FAEP2 does not seem to exist.


The secondary vocational school supervisors are assigned the job of doing regular inspection. As in LEP the supervisors are unpaid and feel it is as an additional burden, which they inevitably set aside as marginal.

Textbook According to the teachers of FAEP for farmers, the text book (Krishi) is not a very useful book. There is no grading of materials and language. A superficial look through the book will show that there are too many foreign words, mostly in English. Scientific vocabulary is kept to the maximum. The textbook also uses units of measurements which are foreign to the farmers. This has added to more complications. One teacher did actually suggest that the tenth grade students of agriculture should use the book. He thought that the book was harder to read and more comprehensive than a similar text book prescribed for the tenth grade of a secondary school.

The textbook for the farmers program was not supplied for the last year at all. About a month after the program was scheduled to begin only the teacher’s handbook was made available.

Lack of Supporting Materials

Farmers are given FAEP classes using one textbook only. A teacher may use some materials, if available, such as pamphlets and posters produced by the Ministry of Agriculture. These pamphlets are usually found not very useful and not adequate in number. In any case, no supply of such follow up materials is made by the AES.

Even though the vocational school in which the program is run is supposed to supply the required materials such as fertilizers, insecticides, improved seeds, the schools have experienced shortages of these materials. The FAEP itself does not receive any of these, even for sample demonstration.

In conclusion FAEP suffers from a lack of motivation in teachers, participants, and sponsoring schools resulting in irregularities in conducting the program. There is no co-ordination between the school teacher and the JTA and the textbook is far from useful to the farmers.


6.1 The Nepal National Education Planning Commission’s Report: A false startEdit

The Nepal National Education Planning Commission’s Report1, basing itself on the ‘three types of incentives’ started with false assumptions and unreal expectations which have undermined our national adult education program from the very beginning. The Report’s recommendations for adult literacy in the country were based on the following ‘three types of incentives that attract adult population to literacy:’

1.They themselves feel the need of learning. 2.They realize that ignorance and illiteracy are degrading in their social life. 3.They recognize and appreciate their duties and responsibilities as enlightened citizens of democracy.

The past twenty years’ experience of national adult education in Nepal has amply demonstrated the error of these assumptions, for if they had been correct there would have been enough motivation on the part of the illiterate adults to join literacy centers which, however, is precisely what has not happened. In other words, ‘they’ do not feel the need of learning as naturally as we would like to believe that they do. Moreover, the illiterate adults’ need in respect of learning may not necessarily be the same as ours. Similarly, ‘they’ do not think that they are ignorant and that literacy is important and that there is any correlation between illiteracy, ignorance, and degradation. Lastly, ‘they’ also do not recognize and understand what democracy is and what is really meant by carrying out the duties and responsibilities of an enlightened citizenship.

In the second place, one also notices in the above extract that some sort of a dichotomous group between the giver and receiver, the definer and defined is being established. The giver is a body of educated-elite, the government, or democracy, which thinks that literacy, as something that they have themselves acquired and profited from, is a highly desirable commodity and that is should be given to those who have not had the privilege of obtaining it, to those who are ‘ignorant’, ‘degraded’, and who do not fulfill ‘their duties and responsibilities and enlightened citizens of democracy’.

This dichotomy is highly undesirable for this is what has separated the literate elites and the illiterate mass and helped to cause so much failure with adult education. When a group defines the other group as lacking in any learning, as ignorant and degraded, as unappreciative and irresponsible, as unenlightened citizens, the definer, keeping himself outside of the other’s system, not only fails to understand the system of the other group’s and therefore worth imposing on the latter. It is only natural then that the latter does not demonstrate agreement with the definition and that it does not respond to these on the same terms as expected by the former. It is simple knowledge that any group within itself is a highly knowledgeable and efficient composite system of a ‘glorious tradition’. Furthermore, it is a matter of personal opinion to accept or refuse to accept that any literate system is superior to a highly efficient system of oral tradition.

The unwillingness to recognize the above facts has led the report to ignore completely the real problems that illiterate adults in Nepal face in spite of themselves and to take the ‘adult population’ as a passive agent ready and willing to accept whatever is given. The program then was initiated to become given oriented and not receiver oriented. The Report and the whole adult education program would have made a better start if it had understood the problem from the point of view of the illiterate adults and had built in to the system strategies to obtain their active participation instead of perpetuating these sorts of false assumption, or what G. Myrdal has called ‘an upper class myth’2.

The wrong remains uncorrected even now. There have been no definite strategies ever evolved for securing the subjects’ maximum participation in the program. Our attempts at adult education in Nepal, where the tradition of literacy and of a literate atmosphere is so recent and in many areas largely non existent even now, will succeed only when some definite areas of motivation are clearly identified and then sold to the consumers.

6.2 The Adult Education SectionEdit

Even after organizing adult education in the country for the last twenty years, the AES has accomplished very little in matters of the production of manpower and publications, and of the continuity of the program.

A brief look into the history above and the table 3 show that the production of teaching-learning materials was the largest during the preparatory and the actual implementation period of the First Five Year Plan. Since then very few textbooks, one journal, and no follow up literature for the new literates seem to have been published.

At the present moment, the AES has provided for the LEP only one textbook, for FAEP 2 textbooks and three teachers handbook. There is not a single journal, nor any literature, nor any radio program as a complementary of follow-up program.

With such an inadequate supply of teaching-learning materials, no regular training of teachers, one or two supervisors’ workshop, and one or two seminar on the theory of adult education, the AES seems to have satisfied itself by supplying an administrative input to the program only. Even here, it is surprising to note that in its so many years of involvement in manpower, the Ministry of Education has produced and retained in its AES such an inadequate number of trained people. Quite a few members of the Department are reported to have been sent abroad for short-time training courses, but most of them are not retained with the AES. Instead of contributing towards a stable and steady growth of staff force in the AES, such training programs have served as short pleasure trips for the officers abroad.

This state of affairs is ascribed largely to the constant transfer of officials from one section to the other within the Ministry4. During the field survey, it was found that one officer who had a degree in adult education was serving now as a DEO. One would have thought that a person with experience in adult education would have been retained with AES. At any rate, officials are transferred so that an officer’s experience with adult education is lost and a new comer has to begin all over again. This contributes to shifting arrangements of the program rather than to any solid continuity. As Reed and Reed point out, these transfers result in ‘maintaining every one on a more general amateur level and discourage self improvement and add to the inefficiency in government’5.

Similarly, even after years of literacy work, the AES has not built up any sort of library of its own to document its own publications or other relevant publications. This means that it is not only difficult to obtain information, but that, as in the case of personnel, experience is completely lost and wasted. A handy reference and documentation library would not only make the AES more efficient it would also facilitate the work of research and information. Right now, the usual excuse, when one asks for documents of past, is the Singh Durbar fire, in which all documents are said to have been burnt. There has been no attempt at re-establishing any of the information.

6.3 The Literacy Extension ProgrammeEdit

The Nepal National Educational Planning Commission defined the purpose of the adult education as to spread literacy among the adult mass to make them aware of the problems of the country, able to think in terms of their daily and remote needs of life, express freely and meaningfully and to practice the democratic way of life1. A broader definition of the term such as this is infinitely narrowed down in the later definition of 1967 when literacy is defined as the development of the skills of reading and writing and of the capacity and efficiency in simple arithmetical concepts and their applications as required in the daily lives of the illiterate adults2. The following year, a literate is defined as some one who can read, write, and speak with understanding simple and correct Nepali. If he can express his thoughts in simple writing and do such practical arithmetical operations as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and keep an account of his household budget, he can be called a literate3. The following year, the same definition is retained except that the word ‘correct’ is omitted4.

Several questions could be raised at the inadequacy and the general vagueness of the above definitions. However, it is not necessary to do, for the Sikshya Ain, 2028 tatha Shikshya Niyamabali, 2028 in 1970 reorganized the adult education program of the country and divided it into two programs: a Literacy Extension Programme (LEP) and Functional Adult Education Programme (FAEP).

Since then any systematic attempt at the definition of the term ‘literacy’ and its objectives seems to have been largely avoided. The term goes undefined in the Ain itself. The New Education System Plan does not attempt any definition, nor does the textbook, Hamro Pustak, which merely notes that the objective of the LEP is to impart literacy to illiterate adults5.

In 1975, the Teacher’s Guide book for Home Science Education defines the aim of the LEP as imparting skills in reading and writing and in simple arithmetical operations used in daily life6. Obviously, a definition like this has made some tacit assumptions about the three R’s and taken them for granted. It becomes clear from the above tentative collection of declarations that there has been no adequate enunciation of the definition and objectives of the program. That is to say, there has been no definite identification of the problems and clear concepts about the ends that are to be attained. Such questions as why the country needs literacy, what good it will serve to the recipients or the givers, what level in the formal schooling system such literacy program should reach, what the areas are, occupational, ethnic or otherwise, that need literacy, what the cultural, economic, or political goals are, what the linguistic goals are, and what the priorities are, are all neglected. What we have is a bold quantitative objective: to make a certain number of people literate. This is the same problem which Gunnard Myrdal points out as one of the drawbacks of South Asia education planners when they think primarily in terms of “how many students to be enrolled, in how many course, in how many schools and not in terms of how well they learned, what they were taught, or how to improve the educational system”7.

Such crucial question as how to do literacy work, or more specifically how to impart literacy, has been completely neglected. There has been not a single piece of research ever done, as far as it is known, on the technicalities pertaining to literacy, for example, the methods of teaching, the types of literacy, the possibility of bilingual literacy, textbook preparation, and other important areas which would require research. As it stands now, it seems that as soon as certain administrative formalities are fulfilled, literacy work is taken as completed. The Finance Ministry allocates a certain amount of money which is then passed on to the AES which then passes it on to the DEO which then passes it on to the teachers. Of course a lot of time consuming paper work will have gone into the job. As soon as this cycle is complete, literacy work is typically accomplished.

In sum, the lack of any rigorous definition of the term and its objectives, and the inadequancy of the standard of literacy achievement, contribute to the futility of the program. With no follow-up program, even the semi-literates the LEP could produce do not get chance to maintain their skill, let alone improve upon, and inevitably relapse into absolute illiteracy. When traditional pure literacy of this type has been considered ineffective and therefore thrown out from most parts of the world, one does not understand why this has been kept going in Nepal.

The Necessity of LEP

As long as the objectives are not clearly defined there can be no definite strategies to attain them. Under such circumstances, a literacy program remains not only ineffective but also quite unnecessary. It is obvious that the LEP is operating on obsolete concepts of literacy long thrown out in most cases as inoperative, especially after the innovation of functional literacy.

Our LEP is what may be called a traditional literacy program, where reading, writing, and elementary arithmetic are taken as ends in themselves, where literacy work is not made to measure, that is, where it is not differentiated according to the environment and specific economic and social objectives, where it is standardized and laid down on centralized basis, where there is no variability and flexibility so as to take into account the diversity of immediate objectives and individual situations8.

In effect, the concept of a ‘literate’ is obsolete. In 1951, the Unesco Committee defined a person as literate if he can ‘both read, with understanding, and write a short simple statement on his daily life9. The aim of our LEP seems to be just to attain that level, for there is no reformulation of the aims in order to meet new requirements. In 1962, the Unesco Committee redefined a literate person in a different way:

A person is literate when he has acquired the essential knowledge and skills which enable him in all those activities, in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group or community, and whose attainments in reading, writing, and arithmetic make it possible for him to continue to use these skills towards his own and the community’s development10.

The latter Unesco definition covers broader areas, although it is not exactly clear. The application of such a definition for Nepal requires information; therefore researches, as to what those social activities are which require literacy for an individual to participate and contribute to the community’s development.

The LEP is functioning in a vacuum and is, therefore, capable of producing, at best, only adults between absolute illiterate and functionally literate, perhaps just a semi-literate. It could not even theoretically, produce adults qualified to participate in the literacy activities of the society. For example, the literates this program produces are not able to read government propagandas, let alone Gorkhapatra, with understanding although they may be able to recognize the letters.

It should be borne in mind that it is considered necessary for an adult to reach the level of knowledge of a pupil who has completed 4 to 6 grades in a modern school before he can be considered truly literate11. Since the objective of our primary schooling is to achieve literacy and since it only continues to grade 3 we could assume that the formal equivalence of adult literacy is no more that grade 3. This, in ideal circumstances of the present program, is inadequate and capable of producing only substandard literates at best.

6.4 Functional Adult Education Program (FAEP)Edit

6.4.1 Planning and ObjectivesEdit

A number of terminological problems are readily discernible in this program. Although the program is often called FAEP, it has also been used as synonymous with functional literacy program12. It will be shown later that this inconsistency leads to general confusion as to the very nature of the program.

All FAEPs are for what is called ‘neo-literates’13. However, this could not be considered a continuing program for the ones who have already participated in LEP, for there are too few FAEP centers compared to the LEP centers, and the curriculum at least is not meant for the new literates. None of the FAEPs contains the component of literacy as such. That makes the program unsuitable for non-literates and incompatible with functional literacy itself.

The textbooks for a FAEP do not properly follow the requirements of a functional literacy textbook. They are constructed the same way as Hamro Pustak is, that is, no survey was conducted to identify the problems that recipients actually face, and the textbooks did not undergo any testing phase in any particular locality for measurements and evaluations. There is no ‘ecological approach’, that is, the textbooks are not adapted and adaptable to the environment. As a result, the whole program is, once again, too centralized and standardized. Even though the program was supposed to be run as an aid to the production of manpower by having the centers in the area where the same kind of developmental projects are being run,14 there is no strict correspondence in this either.

The weaknesses of the FAEP are not very different from those of the traditional literacy program. The FAEP fails to identify the problems, collective and individuals’ objectives are not defined in terms of specific learning and teaching goals. The instruction in reading and writing is completely non-existent and the training component (knowledge and skill, perhaps) exists as a whole isolated chunk. The vocational skills and knowledge that participants may receive are not usable most of the time, so they turn out to be a gamut of unrealizable learning experiences acquired dogmatically. Generally standardized and set up on a centralized basis, none of the programs is variable and flexible, and nor do they take immediate objectives and specific situations into account.

Although the functional literacy program has been seen as a useful part of an agricultural extension campaign15, there seems to be nothing in it to distinguish it from an agricultural extension campaign. This is largely because of the complete negligence of the literacy component (that is, the teaching of three R’s and further training in the development of these skills). This fact immediately disqualifies the FAEP as a functional literacy program as envisaged by the meeting which initiated the Experimental World Literacy Program and defined the functional literacy as ‘any literacy operation conceived as a component of economic and social development project16.

When the literacy component is completely dropped off, and only literates are accepted for the program, then the question arises as to what level of literates should be allowed to join.

One equally vital question which is not answered in any place for the FAEP for farmers is which level of the farmer is the program addressed to, that is, is it addressed to middle level or low level farmers who obviously have different needs.

Again, the level of FAEP has remained undefined. There is no mention as to what level the program itself should be nor what equivalence it should aim at as compared to the formal school. Myrdal rightly points out that the level of functional literacy should be raised for South Asia, ‘where the quality of education is often very low, the attendance rate very poor, and the family home and village milieu illiterate17.

6.4.2FAEP for the FarmersEdit

The FAEP for farmers is therefore not a functional literacy course for the farmers, it could perhaps be described as a farmers training in agriculture which happens to be initiated by the Ministry of Education. A look at Krishi, the only textbook and teaching material used in the program of which the teacher’s guide was published only last year, shows the uselessness of this book as teaching-learning material.

Krishi could be best described as a manual of agriculture for the use of agriculturalists and advanced students of agriculture rather than the textbook for the use of ‘new-literate’ farmers. It runs to 283 pages and contain information on the agricultural practices in ancient Nepal, soil, fertilizers, seeds, sowing, irrigation, harvesting, insets and insecticides, paddy, wheat, and other crops, fruit farming, vegetable growing, animal husbandry, grass, poultry, and fish farming.

Such an indiscriminate selection of topics on which to impart ‘functional literacy’ to the farmers is rather absurd; it shows that the program does not have any closely identified single objective except a rather vague concept of agricultural problems. The contents of it should be compared with the Farmers Functional Literacy Project of India18 whose objective was ‘improving the efficiency of the farmers in the special program of agricultural production known as the ‘High Yielding Varieties Programme’ involving training in the use of seeds, hybrid and exotic fertilizers. In content, Krishi, is found to be more comprehensive than the present textbook prescribed for agricultural course in the higher secondary school in the country.

The contents are not presented simply as they should have bee. There is no gradation of linguistic difficulties. New concepts are taught as a series of scientific dogmas. Discussions become too technical and are full of undigested and irrelevant information all jumbled together.

The book is full of syntactic faults viewed as an adult education textbook. It uses exotic scientific terms and too many foreign words. A rough vocabulary count of the first chapter shows about 65 Sanskrit words which are not used in daily life. It is a absurdly high proportion of new words for a primer of its nature.

The book contains no arithmetic, no reading and writing exercises.

As noted earlier, the textbook construction does not fulfill any other conditions usually used in writing textbooks for functional literacy19. No field work seems to have been undertaken in order to identify the actual problems the farmers have been facing. No analysis of the work now performed by the illiterates has been done to see how much the potential learners already know so that the boredom of repeating the same thing is avoided. The teaching materials do not look as if they had ever been evaluated. There is also no flexibility in terms of the geographical variability of the country.

6.4.3 Functional Adult Education Program for WomenEdit

The FAEP for women has as its objective the goal of imparting ‘theoretical and practical knowledge for neo-literate women in domestic science’20. The curriculum includes such topics as food, nutrition, home management, and child care.

The AES supplies handbook for the teachers. No textbook or a primer or any other reading material exists for the students’ reference.

Once again, as with the farmers program, the literacy component does not exist here. The problems with such a program then are of the same kind as above, that is, its unsuitability for neo-literates, its incompatibility with the concept of functional literacy itself and the problem of the level of literacy that is expected of a potential participant in the program. In sum, then this program is a women’s training in home science rather than a women’s functional literacy or adult education program as we normally understand it.

Again, there was no problem-solution oriented field work before it was decided that the women’s functional adult education needed to include home science teaching as its objective. The need for such a program seems to be felt largely as a given, already existent, traditional, and some sort of an upper-class myth.

The real problems of real women in the country or in selected areas of the country seem to have been set up in an a priori manner, taking women as housewives and the program therefore tailored to fit them. Even here, one feels that the housewife being addressed is not a real and individual person but an abstract model handed down through generations as the same, unchanging, and passive female.

As with the farmers program, this program, too, exists between the gap that is created between the giver and the recipient, a gap that such a program generates of itself because of the dichotomous definer and difinee who have come to face each other. This is a case in point where in a special sense there is the confusion between ‘political or ideological indoctrination with preparation for broad, free reflection on the nature of power and its components, on the forces working in the through institutions. The awakening of political consciousness and the development of democratic virtues are replaced by the idea of training docile and uniform citizens21.

Now, on given facts and statistics, it can be argued that the women’s functional adult education does not need consist exclusively of home science education.

The Nepal Country Paper for the UN Seminar22 identifies the following demographic features of the female population of women which indicate their low status in society:

1.Marriage at an early age (16.8% according to the 1971 census. Widowhood and child marriages are acknowledged as still persisting in the rural areas). 2.High rate of mortality (22.6%). 3.High rate of illiterate (95%). 4.Low rate of participation in the labour force (42.7% for young women aged between 15-24). 5.93.17% of all female workers are farm workers, .67% industrial workers and .51% in service and trades. 6.There is an increase in the proportion of female workers in agriculture. 7.Because of widespread ignorance and lack of knowledge amongst women, they have not efficiently exercised their power. “Mere passing of legislative measures is not going to help the large number of illiterate women unless these measures are efficiently implemented. This most be matched by concerted efforts to educate them so that they may benefit from these legislative measures.”

In light of the above facts, it is not home science but the following areas which the women’s functional adult education should give higher priority to:

1. Agriculture: Giving women training in agriculture side by side with men is not as novel as it may sound. There have been cases of successful programs of this sort elsewhere, for example, in Kenya23.

2. Political and social consciousness: Giving women knowledge about their rights and status in the society.

In sum, the FAEP for women is misdirected. Home Science should not comprise the total teaching or training content but should just be a part of the total program which should include agriculture and social and political education. If home science should comprise a section, there it should not consist of teaching about scientific dogmas (such as vitamins, calcium, and phosphorous which have no real values from the perspectives of the illiterate women) as the present curriculum seems to do, but it should be based on home-based truth of food and bygine. A nice example of such an approach comes from SATA literacy course where the participating people were taught about how to make the best food for babies with a combination of local products such as wheat and milk.

6.4.4 FAEP for the public healthEdit

This program has not been put into practice although there are textbook24 and a teacher’s handbook25 already published. Four areas of ‘education’ are discussed in the books: environmental health, communicable diseases, first aid, and family life.

Once again, it can be noticed that the content is indiscriminate and too vast to be effectively grasped and utilized. The textbook itself shows in its get-up the revolting picture of a figure with intestines. The type employed is too small and the style of presentation rather poor. The textbook again gives the impression of being a manual of hygiene rather than a usable primer. It could be best used as a follow up book rather than a primer.

It suffers from the same problems as the other FAEP textbooks. Not much could be said about the book except that it needs to be replaced by something else as soon as the Public Health Program is started.

6.5 Literacy and LanguageEdit

Language diversity in the country

The three censuses carried out in the country within these last twenty five years report different numbers of languages spoken in the country. The first census report of 1952-54 presents the highest number of languages, 58 in total. The last census report of 1971 presents about 17 languages in total. Dr. Subba26 lists 37 different languages, 11 of which belong to the Indo-European family, 22 to Sino Tibetan, 3 to Austro-Asiatic, and 1 to Dravidian. Altogether 52.44 percent of the total population is reported as native speakers of the national language, Nepali. There are no figures available on how many speak the language as their second language, and how many do not speak it at all.

These reports, although not unanimous in number of languages, do present the picture of Nepal as a nation composed of speakers of different languages. It is also significant to note at this point that the ethnic, cultural, and geographical differences in the country do correlate with language differences and that the broad cultural areas of Nepal are defined from these linguistic units27. This linguistic diversity, corresponding to the ethnic, cultural, and geographical diversity offers a greater motivation for questioning the current policy of literacy in the national language only and for considering the necessity of bilingual literacy both for the adults and the children of the country.

Summer Institute of Linguistics and bilingual literacy

As in Papua and New Guinea, and in certain South American countries, the SIL in its stay in Nepal had carried out some bilingual projects in literacy. It has published several pre-primers, primers, practice reading materials, stories, series of readers using local languages and with parallel translations into the national language. They have prepared such materials separately for Derai, Danuwar, Rai, Bhojpuri, Jirel, Tamang, Chepang, Kulung, and Gurung language speakers. The program was designed to teach speakers of non-Nepali languages the script of the national language, to provide a bridge into Nepali, and to practice reading and increase their knowledge of Nepali.

Elisabeth Christmas28 and Beth Morton29, both of SIL, provide principles and rationale for bilingual literacy in Nepal. In the bilingual literacy program as envisaged by SIL, the curriculum makes use of two languages, one minor and one national language, as media of teaching and the letter is chosen as the ultimate goal medium. Minority languages are used in the initial periods which later are bridged into the national language.

In a brief report of this nature, one cannot afford to enter into the theoretical controversy of vernacular vs. national language literacy, nor reject or defend any view point as final. When no reliable figures are available on the number, degree, and type of bilingualism that exist in the country, it is still harder to do so. However even though this involves stupendous problems of expertise and money, bilingual literacy is a viable concept to be used at least in some parts of the country among some groups of people. It may contribute to the enhancement of adult education. The use of minority languages may help to secure motivation for these language speakers to join the program.

There is an idea and fear, it seems, that any promotion of minor languages may be detrimental to national integration. This idea is not uncommon in people who have no experience or professional knowledge of multilingual societies. The arguments to support this view, however, are often based on unreal assumptions. In fact, languages are the national resources and can be harnessed and utilized in terms of the country’s developmental targets30, and can be utilized in this case in two main ways. First, these various major and minor non-Nepali languages could be used as a medium for securing national consciousness in the sense of supra-ethnic identification. One of the ways of securing the attachment of the people of different groups to the nation is to promote their language and follow it up by concurrent changes in their social status31. Thus, the use of vernacular in literacy work may be an element which would help mobilize the ethnic attachment of the people to the national attachment. Secondly, the use of the national language in the bridge materials would extend the use of that language. This would facilitate the government propaganda to reach the people and the people to participate in the national system.

6.6 Topography and Population DensityEdit

The topography of the country as a constraint in education is fairly well recognized. Reed & Reed devote a complete chapter to it32 citing some absurd incidents that had taken place as a result of the mountainous nature of the country and its monsoon rains. The topography makes the adequate running of school and the gathering of students difficult. When the most preferred hours for adult education is evening33, the ruggedness of the mountain makes it difficult for people to go to a certain center and gather for the class at that time.

The low population density in some areas combines with the problem on topographical barriers. The low population density does, in fact, correlate with low literacy rate, e.g. the mountain districts in the western part with extremely low population density of 3.6 persons per square kilometer, such as Manang, has only a 4.7 percent literacy rate34; Humla with 4.9 persons per square kilometer has a 6.1 percent literacy rate.

The topographical features were a barrier in people’s movement and still are in some parts of the country. Recently, there has been a greater movement of people from the northern hills to the southern plains, the main reasons being economic advantages which may also bring educational advantages. It can be seen that the greatest migration rate has correlated with the greatest literacy rate. For example, the migration rate into the eastern plains from the eastern hills35 rose to 157 percent and Koshi and Mechi have the highest literacy rate of 23 percent and 22.95 percent, in the eastern plains. Compared with that, Karnali Anchal which has the worst literacy rate, 6.1 percent, implies a relatively stable social pattern36.


Almost all the literature available in adult education in Nepal, from The Nepal Educational Planning Commission’s Report to the recent Mid-term Evaluation1, are full of recommendations. Equally, each recommendation has gone completely neglected. There is not much to add to these except to point out some broad areas which need immediate attention.

The program needs to identify its goals better. The administrative set up needs to be thoroughly reorganized. It should be emphasized here that imparting literacy skills to an illiterate population is more than imparting mere ability in what is called rudimentary reading, writing, and arithmetic. When we give literacy to a group, we are asking some uneasy questions on the deep-rooted values and belief system of the recipients, we are forcing them to adopt some fundamental changes in their approach to life and the universe. By bringing a transition from oral to written culture, by bringing any iota of liberation from on individual mind to the universal mind, literacy is an enormous undertaking. In a country like Nepal, literacy work becomes essentially, an enquiry into the poverty of the nation and its struggle to free itself from it. The enormity of the undertaking is too complex for a section of the Ministry of Education possibly to do justice to the work. It should be taken up as an independent autonomous organization. In fact, it is gratifying to note that the mid-term evaluation report has recommended the establishment of such a bureau.

The new work then will have to be seen in the light of all the recent innovations in literacy work, in its concepts and theories, as dynamic and complex undertaking involving several interdisciplinary areas such as sociology, anthropology, culture, language, education, etc. The organizational part of the work needs to be seen not just as an administrative bureaucracy, but as a composition of several units, of policy makers, material production and distribution, supervision, evaluation, training, illustration, audio-visual, radio program, press and printing, publicity, etc. In other words, instead of District Education Officers and Supervisors alone, the program has to have experts in printing, graphics, economics, education, reading, linguistics, evaluation, training, etc. Instead of mere primary teachers, the program then needs to mobilize all these experts, volunteer organizations, army, religious Guthis, Panchayhat organizations, students, children, etc. Then a better picture of adult literacy emerges, not of a mere self-defeating fairly mechanistic system, but of a system which can be a true medium for ‘intellectual, sentimental and psychological chain reactions, which arise when relations are established between one human being and another2.’

The lack of a follow-up program has made the investment in literacy produce no returns. There is an immediate need to organize massive follow-up program before a big number of what is claimed as new literates through not only adult education but also through elementary education relapse into absolute illiteracy. The follow-up program should lead the new iterates to a continuing informal self educating system. Village and mobile libraries need to be established and, before that, books in simple language be written for them. The big national daily newspaper Gorkhapatra could contribute by devoting a section of the paper as materials for the new literates.

A raise in the teacher’s salary is often recommended. A teacher is paid Rs. 200/- per course, that is roughly Rs. 34/- a month, which is too little to motivate anybody. Compared to the remuneration of Rs. 75/- during the First Five Year Plan period, this is a very low figure. It could perhaps also be recommended that pupils be paid a daily wage in lieu of what they would earn if employed in public works, an example the Ministry of Labour of Israel followed3. However, it is true that a mere raise in pay and expenditure is not going to solve the problem. If Rs. 34/- a month can attract so many teachers and supervisors, it can easily be inferred that more money may attract more people, and thus, given the present state of affairs, our program could turn out to be a hotter bed of corruption.

The objectives of adult education cannot be realized by teachers of elementary and secondary schools alone, teachers who have no training, no motivation, and no sense of attachment to the job. The need for training the available primary teachers and the formation of a competent and dedicated army of teachers can hardly be overemphasized. The incomplete figure of the number of teachers trained within these last twenty years in adult education does not show more than 3,000 and the number is just half of what the country will need in order to meet the target of making 125,000 adults literate every year.

The theory and methods of adult literacy work has changed enormously over the past few years with the experience of a great deal of experimentation, trial and error. The Nepali adult educationists would naturally like to keep themselves up-to-date with the innovations. Although a poor country like Nepal, however, can not afford risky experiments, cheap and effective methods of adult education are being envolved, and benefits to Nepal must be accrued from them. Literacy work in Nepal is about to be carried out as a joint-collaboration of Word Education, N.Y. and HMG under non-formal education for rural development. Any attempt at integrating literacy into other developmental projects should theoretically bring more effective results than the traditional method of isolated literacy work as has been done up to now.

Whichever direction future adult literacy in Nepal takes, there are two broad considerations which must be emphasized here at the end. First, there is the need for saving the program from the program, of the system itself. The habit of building unrealizable goals in terms of eradicating illiteracy universally from the country must be replaced by humbler aims of selecting a few villages. The habit of building monuments of bureaucracy in terms of employing several levels of incompetent functionaries and wasting tons of paper work must be given up also. Secondly, the atmosphere for adult participants to give and receive their own literacy must be created. The form and content of teaching – learning experiences and the method of transmitting them needs to be motivated from the work-sites themselves. If they do not come from there, there will be no adult literacy.


The failure of adult literacy work in Nepal is not an exception but a rule in the history of world adult literacy. The Nepali failure is a case in proof of what is generally found true about the global literacy programs: ‘literacy campaigns have earned more tombstones than monuments.’1

The reasons our literacy programs have been a failure should have been sufficiently clear by now. Adult literacy has so far been a half-hearted job. Is has suffered from unclear and misguided policy, sometimes from what is called ‘wasteful experiments in educational planning’2, from vague and loose implementation, and from the lack of an effective evaluation as a continuing process serving as a regular feed back to the program. The problems have to do with inadequate and unusable teaching –learning materials, unmotivated and incompetent teachers, supervisors, and administrators, lack of community participation, of motivation among the target adults, general stigma towards change and education, lack of follow-up programs, etc.

The results: negative impact on the target population and the community; and on teachers, supervisors, and other parts of the ‘giver’. Thus, it appears that our war on illiteracy is lost on the both fronts. It cannot be proved ‘scientifically’ but it can be estimated that instead of making a positive impact on the grass root level of the program, the program has added to the moral depravity of the nation, of the people involved in it by choice and of the people dragged into it as an innocent party of the former, that is, of the people whose names are used in the register of the teacher, supervisor, and DEO as literacy-recipients. If the present faults are not redressed and if they continue in the very extensive measure as now, soon the whole adult literacy program may have generated and accumulated such an amount of stigma (call it defeatism, negativism or whatever) in the people’s mind that it will be increasingly hard to create any suitable atmosphere for the program to continue and soon a remedial re-education of the people’s attitude towards adult literacy may be required.

The system has thus defeated itself proving itself the major constraint of adult literacy. However, the national fight against illiteracy should continue and adult education will have to be given a high priority. Out of the current literacy figure, reported as nearly 20% of the population about half of this number is contributed through adult education3. Even if only a part of the statistics is true, the number of illiterates is growing in the country at an alarming rate, two hundred thousand per year as some statistics show. About 48.2% of the total population between the working populations of 25 to 49 years of age has remained neglected. It is predicted that the number of illiterate adults of 15-49 years will reach 8,000,000 by 1984.4


(a) Literacy date (Incomplete)

No. of centers opened No. of adults made literate Materials No. of Titles Prepared no. of copies Budget in rupees Percent spent on adult education No. of teachers trained in adult education No. of libraries opened Radio program

Allocated Allocated Allocated for

Period X

X 5 charts 5 readers 5,000 25,000 2,355

3 1,000 4 charts 4 readers

28,050 38,334

500 reported as trained by 1955

Year Plan (1956-1961)1

301 7,525 2 charts 1 reader 2,000 10,000

5 reprints newspaper 125,000 10,000

220 5,500

5 pamphlets newspaper 50,000 60,000

1402 3,500 newspaper 26,000

Started from July 2, 158 815 4023 20,375 10,050 newspaper 5 reprints 26,000 120,000

1 year No. of centers opened No. of adults made literate Materials no. of titles Prepared no. of copies Budget allocated for adult education Allocated for education % allocated for adult education No. of teachers trained in adult education No. of libraries opened Radio program AY Year

62 223 4,786

D Plan: Three Year Plan (1962-65)4 63 625

64 1,062 26,575

650,000 28,231,233

65 912 22,800

450,000 26,520,220 1.7

Plan: The Five Year Plan (1965-1970)5 66 633 13,580 newspaper 27,000 711,988 22,842,447 3.1 211 X 24 hrs. 67 691 16,060 newspaper 26,550 688,476 23,735,000 2.6 467 14 " 68 7946 16,3407 textbook & curriculum 39,000 619,000 28,485,000 2.2 431 2 " 69 1,000 21,200 textbook & curriculum newspaper 52,500

6,000 812,000 33,847,000 2.4 485 25 " 70 150 24,000 textbook & curriculum newspaper 51,000







" Plan: The Five Year Plan (1970-75)8

  • 2,000

40,000 Publication of Hamro Pustak, Krishi, Janaswasthya, teachers guide ot the last two title, and teachers guide to griha bigyan. 900,000 39,950,000 2.25

5,298 62,433

1,000,000 62,199,000 1.6

4,130 83,885

1,300,000 82,214,000 1.6

4,013 80,274

1,400,000 9,328,000 1.5

3,769 76,680

1,600,000 165,978,000 0.9


Chapter 1Edit

1.See Handbook on Farmers Functional Literacy Project. Government of India, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, New Delhi, 1971. Also see Guide for Evaluation, Farmers functional Literacy Programme. Directorate of Adult Education and Social Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi 1975. 2.See Ward, T & Dettoni: Increasing learning effectiveness through evaluation. T.W. Ward & W.A. Herzog, Jr (ed): Effective Learning in non-formal education. East Lansing, Michigan State University, 1974.

Chapter 2Edit

1.The Five Year Plan for education in Nepal: Bureau of Publication College of Education, Kathmandu, 1957 (drafted 1956). 2.UNESCO estimates quote Nepal’s illiteracy at mid-century in the 95-99 percent bracket in World Illiteracy at mid-century, a statistical study UNESCO, Paris, 1957, pp. 39 3.Uprety T.N.: Financing elementary education in Nepal. The American Nepal Education Foundation, Eugene, 1963. 4.Acharya Babu Ram: “Nepali Shikshya ko Itihas”. Navin Siksha 1:4, 1957. 5.Gorkhapatra 49:112, 2005 Magh 8. p. 1. National Archives, Gorkhapatra microfilm, no. 11. 6.Wood, Hugh B.: Educational Statistics for Nepal. American Nepal Education Foundation, Eugene: 1962. 7.K.R. Aryal: Education for the Development of Nepal. Shanti Prakashan, Kathmandu, 1970. pp. 29. 8.National Educational System Plan 1970-75, Education Ministry, HMG, gives the figure as 321. p. 2. 9.UNESCO: Literacy 1969-1971. 1972. 10.Tandukar, R.P.: “Adult Education under the Five Year Plan” Education Quarterly 1:2 June 1957 College of Education. “Need for Adult Education in Nepal” Education Quarterly 1:1. March 1957. College of Education. 11.Published as Education in Nepal, Report of the Nepal National Education Planning Commission, 1956. Bureau of Publication, College of Education, 1956. 12.After the teaching of literacy, the agriculture and home extension education is the second phase proposed in the report. Farmers and craftsmen are reported to have already been taught and then to go under the Village Development Programme. The ultimate goal of adult education proposed by the Report was cultural education, history, and geography of the country and the world plus fine arts, music, culture, and handicraft. pp. 156. Ibid. 13.The Five Year Plan for Education in Nepal: cp. cit. p. 29. 14.Ibid pp. 29. 15.Ibid. Table VII pp. 35. 16.Ibid. Table VI. Pp. 31. 17.Total U.S. contribution amounts to Rs. 2,411,000 to the improvement of Adult Education Organization and to coordination and assist teachers at 17 adult education centres in the country. A Quarter Century of American Assistance to the Development of Nepal. The United States Information Service, Kathmandu, January, 1976. 18.Evaluation of College of Education. Bureau of Research, College of Education, 1957. 19.Tandukar R.P. : “Adult Education under The Five Year Plan” op. cit. 20.Missing 21.The following materials were added: 1. Proudh Shikshamala Part I & II; 2. All about Tuberculosis; 3. All about Cholera and Typhoid; 4. All about Basic Foods; 5. All about Elections; 6. All about Social Studies; 7. Posters. In total, more than 175,000 adult literacy pamphlets and newspapers had been printed between 1955-59. 22. See Tandukar, R.P. op. cit. and manual for training teachers, prepared by the staff of the College of Education, Nepal Bureau of Publication, College of Education, 1956.pp.63. 23.Wood, H.B. & B.Knall: Educational Planning in Nepal and its Economic Implication. Kathmandu: 1962.p.65. 24.Op.cit.p.11. 25.Tri-barshiya Yozana (2019-2022), Rastriya Yozana Parishad, HMG, Nepal, 2019. 26.N.R. Padhye: “History of Literacy Education in Nepal”. Unesco Bulletin, p. 9. 27.End-of Tour report of Harold Winter, Chief, Education Division, USAID, Nepal. Airgram, USAID/Kathmandu TOAIDA 105. 28.Wood and Knall Report, 1962. op. cit. 29.Prachanda Raj Singh: Shakshyarta Aviyan Nirdeshika, Ministry of Education Adult Education Section, HMG, 2025. 30.Nir Mardan Basnyat: Hamro Desh (Samajik Shiksha) Part I, Ministry of Education, Educational Materials Center, 2021. 31.See Prachand Raj Singh: Proudha Shiksha Sakshyarta Pathyakram. 32.Tesro Yozana ma Shikshako Pragati (2022/23-2026/27) Tathyanka Anusandhan Sakha (HMG) 2027. 33.Manpower Subdivision Planning Division, Ministry of Education, 1977, p. 6. 34.Also see. Appendix A.

Chapter 3Edit

1.Shiksha Ain, 2028 tatha Shiksha Niyamabali, 2028, Ministry of Law and Justice, HMG, 2028 2.Missing 3.See p. 56. 4.Nepal Adhirajyako Vidyalaya, Bidyarthi Tatha Sikshyak Bibaran; His Majesty’s Government, Ministry of Education, Planning Division, Statistics Section, Keshar Mahal, Kathmandu 2032. 5.National Education System Plan for 1971-76, Ministry of Education, HMG, 1971, p. 57. 6.See p. 110-113 7.See p. 117. 8.Sangathan ra Pauranik Nari: NWO, Family Planning Division, Kathmandu (2032) p. 4. 9.Ibid p. 5. 10.Unesco: Literacy 1969-1971. Paris: 1972 p. 126. 11.Statistics provided by AES (mimeo). 12.See Durga Pokhrel: “National Reconstruction Women’s Role”. In Durga Pokhrel (ed.): Birendra Ra Bikas, Birthday Soyenir Kathmandu: 1978. 13.Rastriya Bikas Sewa, Hanbook: Rastriya Bikas Sewa Nirdeshanalaya, Tribhuvan Vishovidyalaya, Kirtipur 2033. 14.K+V Eichenberger: General guidelines for a long-term working programme. Education Sector, IHDP, HMG/SATA, 1975.

Chapter 4Edit

1.(1) p. 17, (2) pp. 32, 33, 102, 121. (3) p. 8. 2.(2) pp. 38 & 39 where it is noted that ‘the teacher herself was not confident about some of the letters in the alphabet. 3.(2) p. 12, 14, (3) p. 4. 4.(2) p. 32. 5.(2) pp. 33, 102 6.(1) p. 18. 7.(6). 8.See (1). 9.(1) p, 27: (2) pp. 87, 93. 10.See (1) (2) and (5). 11.(2) Where it is reported that in Indrayani Adarsh Village Panchayat, literacy did not help raise living standard. 12.(6) group ‘c’ 13.(1) p. 17. (2) pp. 32, 102. 14.(2) p. 32. 15.(2) p. 10. 16.15 (2) p. 27. 17.(6). 18.(1) p. 17. 19.(2) p. 27. 20.(2) pp. 32, 101, (3) p. 8. 21.(1) p. 15 (2) p. 14 (3) p. 4. 22.(2) p. 14 (3) p. 4. 23.(2) p. 10. 24.(6) Group A report. 25.(2) p. 7. 26.See (2) 27.Based on (6).

Chapter 5Edit

1.See Intro. p. 11. 2.Unesco: Literacy 1965-67.

Chapter 6Edit

1.See pp. 20-22. 2.Myrdal, G: Asian Drama, an abridgement by Seth S. King. 3.See Appendix (A). 4.See Reed, H.H. & M.J. Reed: Nepal in Transition. University of Pittsburgh Press. 1968. 5.Ibid. p. 51.

1.See p. 20-22. 2.Hijo, Aaja, ra Bholi cfzlIft k|f}9x?df k9\g], n]Vg] / b}lgs hLjgdf cfOkg]{ ul0ft ;DaGwL ;fwf/0f wf/0ffx? / To;sf] k|of]u ug{;Sg] Ifdtf / lgk'0f{tfsf] ljsf; ug]{ . 3.Singh, P.R.: Shakshyarate Adhiyan Nirdeshika. HMG, Education Ministry, Education Department. Adult Education Section, 2025. ;fIff/ eGgfn] ;/n z'4 g]kfnL efiffdf n]vfk9L ug'{, af]Ng' a'em\g' . cfkm\gf] dgdf nfu]sf] efj ;/ntf k"j{s n]vf JoQm ug'{ Jojxf/lt/ ;/n hf]8, 36fp, efu u'0fg / kfl/jfl/s cfDbfgL vr{sf] lx;fa /fVg ;Sg]nfO{ dflgG5 . 4.Singh, P.R: Proudha Shiksya Sakshyarta Pathyakram. HMG, Education Ministry, Education Department, Adult Education Section 2026. 5.See: Preface to Hamro Pustak. 6.Griha Bigyan Shikshyak Nirdeshan Pustika. HMG, Education Ministry, Adult Education Section, Keshar Mahal, 2032. p. 2. 7.G. Myrdal: Asian Drama. op. cit. p. 323. 8.See Functional Literacy, why and how, Unesco, 1970. p. 9. 9.Quoted in Youth and Literacy, Unesco, 1973. 10.Quoted in Mary Burnett: also of literacy, Unesco, 1965. 11.Ibid. 12.For example, see N.R. Padheye, Unesco Bulletin op.cit National Field Operational Seminar for the training of literacy workers (op.cit) p. 22, and Nepalma Shiashik Pragati, Rastriya Shiksha Anusandhan Prabartan tatha Bikas Kendra, Maharajgunj, 2034 p. 26 where they are used as synonymous. 13.Griha Bigyan Shikshyak Nirdeshak Pustika HMG, Ed. Min AES 2032 p. 2. 14.Shikshya Ain 2028 tatha Shikshya Niyamabali 2028 (op.cit.) 15.Practical Guide to functional literacy, Unesco, 1973, p. 11. 16.Functional literacy, why and how. op.cit.p.9. 17.Myrdal, G.op. cit p. 328. 18.See Handbook on farmers’ functional literacy project. Government of India, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, New Delhi, 1971. 19.For example, see Literacy 1969-1971, op.cit. See also Rage, K.B. and R.S. Mathur: Teachers’ guide to first book: an experimental project on problem oriented materials (Jitpur district). Directorate of Adult Education, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi. 20.Griha Bigyan: Shiksyak Nirdeshan Pustika (op. cit.) p. 3. 21.Learning to be, the world of education today and tomorrow 1973, sterling, Delhi, p. 150-151. 22.The Nepal Country Paper for the UN Seminar on Participation of Women in Political, economic, and Social Development held in Kathmandu, February 15, 1977. mimeo. 23.See Coombs, Philip: The World Education Crisis. A.H. Wheeler, 1970, p. 143 see also. See also Mathur, J.C.: Adult education for farmers in a developing society. Indian Adult Education Association, New Delhi, 1972, Chapter VIII. 24.Jana Swasthya (Karyamulak Proudha Shikshya). Education Ministry, Adult Education Section, HMG. 2031. 25.Jana Swasthya, Shikshyak Nirdeshan Pustika, Education Ministry, Adult Education Section, HMG, 2032. 26.Subba, S: The languages of Nepal. In Seminar Papers, Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, 1976. 27.Gurung, H.B.: Geographical setting. In Nepal a Profile. Nepal Council of Applied Economics and Research, Kathmandu, 1970. 28.Christmas: E. The rationale for bilingual education, address given at Institute of Nepal and Asian Studies Summer. Institute of Linguistics Seminar in bilingualism, 24 July 1974, Kirtipur, (duplicated). 29.Morton, Beth: Towards bilingual education program for Nepal. In Seminar Papers op.cit. 30.Jernudd, B.H. and Das Gupta: Towards a theory of language planning. In can Language be planned edited by Joan Rubin and Jernudd, East West Center Book, 1971. 31.Based on Kelman, H.C.: Language as an aid and barrier to the involvement in the national system. In Rubin and Jernudd (ed.) above. 32.Reed & Reed. op. cit. pp. 23-33. 33.Shrestha & Belbase op.cit. 34.From 1971 census report. The most recent statistics report the literacy rate for these districts as 18.3 percent and 12.2 percent. 35.Rana & Thapa, Population & Development Seminar. Vol. II Centre for Economic Development and Administration, Tribhuvan University, 1975, p.52. 36.See Appendix B (E) & (F) for Anchalwise distribution of literacy rate.

Chapter 7Edit

1.Madhawadhi Mulyankan Ka Sujauharu, 2033. 2.UNESCO Commission’s comments on the success of the Cuban Literacy Campaign, Quoted in Jeffries: op. p. 6. 3.Haramati, S.: Literacy education from theory to practise. Mount Caramel International Centre for Community Services, Haifa: 1973.p.120.

Chapter 8Edit

1.Richard, C.G. (ed.): The provision of popular reading materials. Monographs on Fundamental Education. No. XIII, Unesco, 1959.p.5. 2.Cited as one of the major problems in educational development in Asian Countries in the Conference of Asian Ministers of Education and Minister responsible for Economic Planning, Bangkok, November 1965. Quoted in M.L. Singh: “Population and Primary Education Development in Nepal”. Unesco Bulletin Vol. VI. No. 4. 1974. 3.See Adhirajya Ko Shaikshik Sthitiko Adharma Jillaharuko Barkikaran Anusandhan Pratibedan. Rastriya Shikshya Samiti, 2033. (mineo.) 4.“Workshop Seminar or Functional Adult Education a Report.” Unesco Bulletin 7. 2 March 1975.


1.Wood, H. B. & B Knall : Educational Planning in Nepal and its Economic implications (1962) 2.Hijo, Aja, ra Bholi gives the figure as 240. 3.Development of Education in Nepal (Nepal Today Series VII, 1966) gives the number of centres as 362 and the number of adults as 9800. 4.Development of Education in Nepal, Nepal Today Series VIII. 5.Tesro Yozanama Shikshya ko Pragati, HMG. 6.Includes 37 Proudha Shiksya Kendra. 7.Includes adults made literate by Proudh Shikshya Kendra. 8.Yozana Karyanowayan ko Tinbarsha.


Acharya, Baby Ram : “Nepali Shikashyako Itihs”. Navin Shikshya 1.4. 1957 Kathmandu: College of Education.

Aryal, K.R. : Education for the Development of Nepal Kathmandu Shanti Prakashan, 1970.

Basnyat, N.M. : Hamro Desh (Samajik Shikshaya) Part I. Kathmandu: Ministry of Education, Department of Educational Materials Center, His Majesty’s Government, 2021.

Bureau of Publication, College of Education : All about Basic Foods, Kathmandu, 1959 (in Nepali) : All about Baby Care, 1957 (in Nepali). : All about Cholera & Typhoid, 1959 (in Nepali). : All about Elections, 1959 (in Nepali). : All about Social Studies, 1959 (in Nepali). : All About Tuberculosis, 1959 (in Nepali). : All about Unseen Foes, 1959 (in Nepali). : All about Worm, 1957 (in Nepali). : Buddhiman Manohar Parts I – IV, 1957. : The Five Year Plan for Education in Nepal 1957 (Drafted 1956). : Navin Praveshika, 1957. : Proudha Shikshyamala Part I & II. 1959.

Burnet, Mary: abc of Literacy. Paris: Unesco, 1965.

Christmas, Elisabeth: “The rationale for bilingual education, address given at Institute of Nepal & Asian Studies – Summer Institute of Linguistics Seminar on Bilingualism 24 July 1974”. (Duplicated).

Communicating with Pictures: NDS – UNICEF, A Joint Project, Kirtipur: Tribhuvan University, 1976.

Coombs, Philips: The World Educational Crisis, a system analysis. Published in India by A.H. Wheeler & Co. (P) Ltd., Allahabad, 1970.

Dahal, S.P. & K.P. Bhattarai: A study of non-formal education in Bhadrabas Village Panchayat. (mineo).

Education in Nepal, Report of the National Education Planning Commission. Kathmandu: Bureau of Publications, College of Education, 1956.

Eichenberger, K. & V.: General guidelines for a long-term working programme. Education Section, Integrated Hill Development Project, HMG/SATA, 1975. (mimeo).

End-of Term Report of Harold Winter, Chief, Education Division, U.S.A.I.D., Nepal. Airgram, USAID/Kath TOAIDA 105.

Evaluation of College of Education. Bureau of Research, College of Education, 1957.

Guide for Evaluation, Farmers Functional Literacy Programme. New Delhi: Directorate of Adult Education and Social Welfare, Government of India, 1975.

Gorkhapatra 49:112, 2005 Maagh 8. Kathmandu: National Archieves, Gorkhapatra microfilm: 11.

Gurung, H.B.: “Geographical Setting”. Nepal A Profile, Nepal Council of Applied Economic Research, Kathmandu, 1970.

Handbook on farmers Functional Literacy Project, New Delhi: Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of India, 1971.

Haramati, S.: Literacy Education from theory to practice. Mount Caramel International Training Centre for Community Services, Haifa, 1973.

His Majesty’s Government: Adhirajya ko Shaikshik Isthitiko Adharma Jillko Bargikaran Pratibedan. Rastriya Shikshya Samiti, 2033 (mimeo).

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