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Nepal’s education system has seen great improvements in the past few decades. The government states that expanding educational opportunities is a priority, and a 2016 education reform bill established free and compulsory basic education for Grades 1 to 8. However, there is still much more work to be done, and many students still lack educational access and opportunity.
The World Bank states that more than 159,000 primary school age children are out of school in Nepal, and attendance and dropout rates remain inconsistent. This is partially due to deeply ingrained caste divisions, which leaves those in lower castes and other under-resourced groups with less access to education. In terms of attendance, UNICEF reports that rates drop from 78 percent of students attending primary school, to only 46 percent attendance once students reach lower secondary school. Many children are forced to drop out of school because they come from historically low-income households and must help their families with farming work, or they live long distances from school and the walk is too far to attend class regularly.