Government of Nepal and World Bank sign $60 million agreement to improve Nepal’s higher education sector

KATHMANDU – The Government of Nepal and the World Bank signed a $60 million financing agreement for the Nurturing Excellence in Higher Education Program today to improve the quality of Nepal’s higher education, scale up online learning, and expand access to academic institutions for underprivileged and vulnerable students.

“Investing in human capital is a key priority of the Government of Nepal to help young people in Nepal realize their development potential,” stated Mr. Madhu Kumar Marasini, Finance Secretary. “This project supports the government’s focus on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the higher education sector and ensuring students all across Nepal including those from disadvantaged groups have access to quality education amid the pandemic’s challenges.”

The Nurturing Excellence in Higher Education Program builds on Nepal’s successful higher education projects supported through results-based financing. It will help the Government of Nepal align its higher education sector with labor market needs, boost collaborative research and entrepreneurship, improve governance, and access to quality higher education, especially for disadvantaged students. The COVID-19 pandemic has created strong incentives to expand online platforms and blended learning, which the program will help scale up across Nepal’s universities.

The program will also expand targeted scholarships to help disadvantaged students pursue labor market-driven academic programs and support equity grants to higher education institutions in needy and disaster-affected areas in Nepal.

“An important aspect of Nepal’s recovery efforts from the pandemic is to ensure that quality higher education is accessible, inclusive, and relevant to the demands of the labor market,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “This is key to helping Nepal build back better and strengthen its resilience. The World Bank is committed to support Nepal in this effort.”