The government and World Bank signed a $60 million financing agreement for the Nurturing Excellence in Higher Education Programme on August 19 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 to help young people in Nepal realise their development potential,” stated 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 across Nepal including those from disadvantaged groups have access to quality education amid the pandemic’s challenges,” he added.
The Nurturing Excellence in Higher Education Programme builds on Nepal’s successful higher education projects supported through results-based financing. It will help the government align its higher education sector with labour market needs, boost collaborative research and entrepreneurship, improve governance, and access to quality higher education, especially for disadvantaged students. The pandemic has created strong incentives to expand online platforms and blended learning, which the programme will help scale up across Nepal’s universities. The programme will also expand targeted scholarships to help disadvantaged students pursue labour market-driven academic programmes 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 labour 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.”