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British Council Nepal and UNICEF Join Forces to Advance Inclusive Education through 'LIFE' Project

British Council Nepal and UNICEF proudly announce the partnership on an inclusive initiative, the "Language and Inclusivity in Foundational Education" (LIFE) project based on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s School Education Sector Plan (SESP) in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Human Resources Development (CEHRD). Formalised on 16 October 2023, the partnership aims to reinforce the implementation of the Equality and Inclusion agenda outlined in the SESP at federal, provincial, and local levels in Nepal.

The School Education Sector Plan 2021-2030 highlights the curriculum framework provision of using mother tongue and/or local languages in a multilingual context to facilitate early-grade learning (Grades 1 to 3) so that the medium of instruction used in the classroom corresponds to the learners’ home language and does not present a barrier in learning. The SESP also shows that 4.9 per cent of 5–12-year-olds remain out of school despite Nepal’s commitment to ensuring free and compulsory basic education for all. The data shows a continued disparity in access and learning outcomes for girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds, children with disability and children whose mother tongue is not Nepali (British Council 2019; Hultgren et al; SESP 2022; USAID 2017, World Vision 2022).

The British Council has partnered with UNICEF to initiate the LIFE Project to support the Government of Nepal’s goals for sustainable improvements in inclusive education mentioned in the government’s School Education Sector Plan, Consolidated Equity Strategy 2014 and roadmap on inclusive education through a series of interventions that will improve children’s access to effective and inclusive education through a holistic approach working across multiple levels of the system.

The project will cover 15 palikas in the Madhesh, Lumbini, Karnali and Sudurpaschhim provinces.

The key objectives of the LIFE Project are:

  • System strengthening for promoting quality and inclusive education

In a concerted effort to strengthen the school education system and champion quality and inclusive learning experiences, the LIFE project aims to embark on system strengthening and capacity building. This includes the development of a comprehensive nationwide policy guideline on multilingual education, aimed at integrating linguistic diversity into the educational framework. Simultaneously, the project will actively support local-level governments in assessing language use within their communities, facilitating the preparation of plans that enable children to thrive in a multilingual learning environment. Further reinforcing the project's commitment to inclusivity, community awareness campaigns on the significance of language diversity in children's learning outcomes will be launched. Additionally, the LIFE project will collaborate with the federal government to disseminate the Girls and Inclusive Education (GIE) network's 5-year strategic plan, aligning efforts for a more comprehensive and impactful approach to promoting inclusive education nationwide.

  • Strengthening institutional capacity in local governments to ensure quality and inclusive access to quality learning within their schools.

A key facet of this initiative is the support for disability-inclusive education, operating at both policy and practice levels within schools. The LIFE project will focus on enhancing the capacity of teachers through targeted training programs encompassing multi-lingual education, inclusive education practices, integrated curriculum development, and foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Additionally, the project will actively assist local governments in implementing early screening mechanisms for identifying students with disabilities. To institutionalize these efforts, the LIFE project will support the situational analysis of Student Assessment Technical Committees (SATC) within local governments, ensuring a systematic and sustainable approach to promoting inclusive education for all students. This strategy underscores the commitment of the British Council Nepal and UNICEF to building a more inclusive and equitable education system in Nepal.

The collaboration between British Council Nepal, UNICEF and CEHRD is key in advancing the goals of the School Education Sector Plan, reinforcing the organisations' dedication to creating a more equitable and inclusive education system. The LIFE project's activities will be rolled out in collaboration with key stakeholders, including government bodies, non-governmental organisations, and local communities.

By fostering partnerships at multiple levels, the project aims to create a comprehensive and sustainable model for inclusive education.