Education System Before Democracy in Nepal

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This blog will help you regarding these frequently asked questions:

  • How were people educated before democracy?
  • When was democracy established in Nepal?
  • Why was education limited?
  • Who introduced education to the public?
  • Who established Kanya pathshala in Nepal?
  • How has the system flourished considering the past?

Nepal has a democratic history of a short time with only about 70 years of democratic history, Nepal got democracy for the first time in 2007 B.S. (1951 A.D). Prajantantra (democracy) was established in Nepal on Falgun 7 2007 B.S. with the end of the tyrannical rule of the Ranas which lasted 104 years.

The situation of Education before 2007 B.S. (1951 A.D)

Formal education was started in Nepal only after the Rana Regin before that Nepal completely depended upon education given by priests about religion and warfare. People of Nepal were taught in Sanskrit and the education was mostly provided to Brahmins and Chhetris, the poor and lower caste were left out

The Ranas introduced formal education in Nepal but feared an educated public. The Ranas, thus, kept Education exclusively to the elites- the off-springs of Ranas had access to education. Rana felt the danger and knew that if they let the public get educated then, their autocracy would come to an end. With the knowledge of this fact, Ranas opposed any form of public schooling for people.

Jung Bahadur Rana brought western education to his children after his visit to England in 1853 AD. JB Rana imported 2 teachers from England to teach the children of the ruling family at his residence. Later the school was shifted to Thapathali Durbar, then to Charbuja Durbar, Seto Durbar, and Narayanhiti Durbar before being located at the present building at Rani Pokhari. It was called the Durbar High School, today it is famously known as Bhanu Bhakta Madhyamik Vidhyalaya. This very school later began admitting children of high-class government officers in 1876 AD.

In 1901 AD, Prime Minister Dev Shamsher Rana made reforms where he proposed public primary education using Nepali as the language of instruction and opened Durbar High School for non-Ranas. He issued a decree to open schools throughout Nepal. Nearly fifty Bhasa Pathshalla or elementary language schools were opened within Kathmandu Valley and a few beyond the Valley. Pundits were provided by the government to those communities that could collect 24 students and arrange places for the students to sit and read. Patis that were otherwise used as shelters for travelers were also used as schools.

But it was soon stopped by Chandra Shamsher, who took over the powers of Dev Shumsher and stopped the distribution of free books and slates which were initially distributed by the state. However, Dev Shamsher’s reforms did not disappear, some of the schools remained open to continue education. These schools however remained closely monitored by Chandra Shamsher.

In 1905 AD, Chandra Shumsher opened Shrestaa Pathsala with the purpose of opening suppressing the urge of young people for higher education and for making the graduates of the Pathshala obtain civil Service Jobs and make them loyal to the Prime Minister.

Later in 1918 AD, Chandra Shamsher established Tri-Chandra college for higher education. This was an attempt for trying to stop the flow of students who were seeking higher education in India.

The students of Durbar High still had to leave for India to give their School Level Examination as the school was affiliated with Calcutta University, Kolkata. This trend continued up until 1934 AD when Nepal founded Nepal SLC Board.

The attempts to make a public library and open more schools around the 1930s were a failure as the people who tried would be punished. Later in 1951 AD, Padma Shamsher established Padma Kanya Multiple Campus to promote Women’s Education.

Before WWII (1939-1945) few schools were established in Patan, Biratnagar, and some other cities. People were slowly being driven towards education as a result of the influence of returning Gurkha soldiers who had learned to read and write while in the British army. Rich and Upper-Class people had started to send their children to India for higher studies where they learned about the oppression faced by Nepalese people because of the autocratic and tyrannical rule of the Ranas. The enlightenment of these new learners and revolutionary minds ultimately led to the overthrow of the Ranas in 1951 AD.

Education since 1951

After Nepal established democracy, immense efforts were made to improve the education system. National Education Planning Commission, All Round National Education Committee, and National Educational Advisory board were founded with plans to refine the education system. The government established many schools also though the students in those schools were relatively low.

Before 1951 AD, Nepal had around 310 primary and middle schools, 11 high schools, and two colleges.

It was only in 1958 AD; Nepal’s first university was incorporated. Since then, it has been acting as an umbrella providing courses and promoting the establishment of more educational institutions which ultimately has led to what Nepal’s education system has to offer today.

Primary schooling was made free in 1975 with the goal to make more Nepalese literate. With the government making more efforts, in 1987, Nepal had 12,491 primary schools, 3,824 lower-secondary schools, and 1,501 higher-secondary schools.

Now, as per the data of 2017 AD by the Ministry of Education, there are 35,601 schools, 1407 colleges, and 15 universities in Nepal. Nepal has shown drastic improvements in these few years despite the challenges like natural disasters and political instability. The ratio of schools and colleges shows the situation of Nepal with overcrowded places for higher studies along with its inability to provide an environment for students. The country has flourished a lot in terms of what it had faced before 1951 AD but it still needs to put a little more effort to result in bringing higher literacy rates and upbringing brighter minds.


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