School Sector Reform Project (SSRP)

School Sector Reform Project (SSRP)

YEAR: 2014
THEMES: Education

The School Sector Reform Program (SSRP) is a follow-up of the ongoing “Education for All” program in Nepal. Since 2010, free textbooks have been distributed to all students up to grade 10 in community schools throughout the country. According to the project guidelines, students are expected to receive their textbooks by April 28 (within the two weeks of the start of the academic year with the exception of a few mountainous districts). Unfortunately, textbooks are not getting to the many of the target schools on time. Yet, there is not a well developed monitoring system which can track the performance gaps in the textbook printing and distribution process.

Due the lack of available data for monitoring purposes, the sub-project goals were to verify the quantity of printed textbooks and report the number of textbooks received by students. The collected data offered a snapshot of the existing textbook distribution conditions.

The sub-project had four specific objectives:

  • Familiarize stakeholders with the printing and distribution process
  • Verify the quantity of printed school textbook as per printing plan
  • Gather data about the distribution process
  • Make recommendations to improve the process

The initial assessment of the awareness levels surrounding textbook printing and distribution process (TPDP) showed that district and school level stakeholders had limited knowledge of the process. Hence, SKY-Samaj shared information about the TPDP and organized awareness raising events. State officials participated in these meetings.

An initial assessment of awareness levels surrounding the textbook printing and distribution process revealed that district and school level committees had limited knowledge and were not functioning properly. Hence, SKY-Samaj shared information about the process and organized awareness raising events as a first step. State officials participated in these meetings.

Citizen report cards (CRCs) showed that only 45% of students received complete sets of textbooks within the two weeks of the start of the academic year. Janak Education Material Center (JEMC), the government owned printing house, delivered 82% of the available textbooks by the scheduled delivery date (April 14) and did not increase the percentage delivered over the next three months. Private printers delivered 76% of the available textbooks on time. The delivery channel of private printers was short compared to that of JEMC, and as a result, there was rapid progress in private printer textbook delivery between March 19 and April 15.

The student survey showed 95% of the students received a complete set of textbooks by July – three months after the start of the academic year. Almost all students received their textbooks by August. The final sub-project report offered several recommendations to improve the process.

Janak Education Material Center (JEMC),  the government owned printing house, is primarily responsible for textbook production and distribution and the greatest contributor to the unmet delivery target. JEMC’s inefficiency, combined with non-functional monitoring systems at the school and district levels, resulted in a slow delivery process that negatively impacted the students’ right to get quality public education. Similarly, their chances for better life opportunities are likely reduced due to the limited educational resources in remote locations of Nepal.

The sub-project findings were shared with the District Education Offices, which have taken actions to improve the textbook printing and distribution process (TPDP). Although the information provided by CARTA could be very useful for improving the textbook delivery timeframe, it remains unclear who will be responsible for the data collection process, if anyone. Data collection is expensive and can be easily tampered with. Thus, an independent party such a civil society organization (CSO) could be a good option for gathering unbiased information. Yet, it is not clear whether external data collection will be implemented.