Primary and secondary education in Nepal

Primary education

In Nepal, primary education is for pupils aged 5 to 12.

  • : 8 years (grade I-grade VIII).
  • Content: primary education.

Please note: education is compulsory from the age of 4, starting the year before primary education. This year is part of pre-school education. Pre-school education is called ‘early childhood education and pre-primary education (ECED/PPE)’ in Nepal. The ECED/PPE year and primary education together are called ‘basic education’.

Secondary education

Secondary education lasts 4 years and is divided into 2 stages:

Please note: before 2017, the lower and upper secondary education diplomas were named differently, namely:

Certificate – Secondary Education Examination, Grade-10

The Certificate – Secondary Education Examination, Grade-10 is the lower secondary education diploma. Students take their exams via the National Examinations Board (NEB).

We compare a Certificate Secondary Education Examination, Grade-10 to a diploma.

Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination

Before 2017, students completed lower secondary education with exams for a Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination. The diploma was also referred to as the School Leaving Certificate or SLC. Students took their exams via the Office of the Controller of Examinations (OCE).

We compare a Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination to a VMBO-T diploma.

Migration Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII)

Upper secondary education is for students aged 15 to 18. At the end of upper secondary education, students take exams for a Migration Certificate - School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII). Students take the exams via the National Examinations Board (NEB).

  • Duration: 2 years (grade XI-grade XII).
  • Content: a new curriculum has been in place since the 2020-2021 school year. Not enough is known about it yet. In 2022, the first students will receive the diploma with the new curriculum. In the old curriculum, students took at least 5 exam subjects. The subject English (‘compulsory English’) was compulsory; the subject Nepali (‘compulsory Nepali') was compulsory for either the 1st year (grade XI) or the 2nd year (grade XII). In addition, students took at least 3 exam subjects for 1 of the following streams:
    • science: subjects like physics, chemistry, biology and computer science;
    • management: subjects like business studies, accountancy, marketing and hotel management;
    • education: subjects concerning pedagogy, education and teaching;
    • law: subjects concerning aspects of law;
    • humanities: subjects like history, sociology, geography and languages.
      See also Examples of stream subjects.
  • Admission requirements: a Certificate – Secondary Education Examination, Grade-10 and extra requirements, such as certain subjects and grades.
  • Function of the diploma: access to higher education. Students may also continue on to secondary vocational education.
  • Diploma: Migration Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII), issued by the NEB. Please note: before 2017, the upper secondary education diploma was called: Migration Certificate – Higher Secondary Education Board Examinations.

We compare a Migration Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII) to a diploma if the student has a pass for:

  • English or Nepali; and
  • at least 4 different subjects of the science, humanities or law stream.

We compare a Migration Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII) to a HAVO diploma with vocational subjects if the student has a pass for:

  • English or Nepali; and
  • at least 4 different subjects of the management or education stream.

Do you have a Migration Certificate – School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI & XII) obtained in 2022 or 2023? Please contact us for a credential evaluation.

Migration Certificate – Higher Secondary Education Board Examinations

Before 2017, students completed upper secondary education with exams for a Migration Certificate – Higher Secondary Education Board Examinations. They did their exams via the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB). From 2016 onwards, the NEB gradually took over from the HSEB.

We compare a Migration Certificate – Higher Secondary Education Board Examinations to a HAVO diploma if the student has a pass for:

  • English or Nepali; and
  • at least 4 different subjects of the science, humanities or law stream.

We compare a Migration Certificate – Higher Secondary Education Board Examinations to a HAVO diploma with vocational subjects if the student has a pass for:

  • English or Nepali; and
  • at least 4 different subjects of the management or education stream.