The School Year in Nepal
In Nepal, there are two types of elementary schools: public and private. The public schools are free to attend, the private ones are, due to high tuition fees, unaffordable for the lower classes. The elementary education cycle lasts 10 years and is divided into first five years of primary level followed by five years of lower secondary level.
Children in Nepal start school at the age of 5. Nepalese is used in education and it also serves as an official language in multi-ethnic Nepal, with as many as 67 first languages. Nepalese is not a mother tongue for any of the Nepalese children, therefore the teaching in the early grades is somewhat different to what we are used to in Europe. Children have first to learn to communicate in Nepalese, so teaching in the early grades is very similar to our nursery schools.
Children can only enrol in school at the beginning of the Nepalese school year, which starts between the 10 and 17 April each year, which is when the Nepalese celebrate New Year. If the child receives a financial contribution in a different period than just before the start of the new school year, they don't need to wait to start their school until April, but can be enrolled in a so-called preliminary course.
The teaching takes place six days a week from 10:00 am to 6:00pm, with an hour lunch break. Saturdays are off. Fridays are reserved for singing and dancing. Children start first learning to read and write both in Nepalese and English, later on they add history, maths and art classes.
The school holidays take place during the monsoon period, i.e. in June, when the harvest reaches its peak and children can therefore help in the fields. Other days off school fall on significant national holidays , such as Dasain in September or October and Tihár at the turn of October and November.
The school year finishes between 25 March and 1 April, when schoolchildren take so-called