Sanskrit, Newari and Nepali were used as the  languages of education during the Licchavi, Malla and Shaha  periods in Nepal’s history (Aryal, 1970).During the Rana rule when Raja Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh of Bajhang advocated for use of Nepali language in the schools he was opposed by the supporters of Sanskrit and English medium of education . When his own father-in-law  Chandra Shamshere became Prime Minister he had to be at logger heads with him too because Chandra Shamshere did not approve his ideas. (Acharya, 2013, Gautam, 2004 pp.72-78). Ranas would get their children educated by pundits, priests and Bengali teachers while common people were deprived of education (Gautam, 2004 p. 67).

In the post-1950 period the “Nepal National Education Planning Commission” in 1956 recommended that Nepali be made the compulsory medium of instruction right from the primary level of education. However, it was considered an assimilation agenda (Whelpton,p. 184) and  a great controversy over language policy among political parties followed (Devkota, 1979). The government made Nepali the medium of instruction for all schools in 1955( Shrestha,1993).

With the implementation of the National Education System Plan (1971-1976), Nepal’s school education became fully monolingual until 1990 (NESP 1971 p.29). The 1990 constitution incorporated multilingual policy plus right of communities to impart education in mother tongue but there was no obligation placed on the government to fund such education (Whelpton, 2012 p.117).The Interim constitution 2007 and the 2015 constitution continued the policy until  new legislation (Parliament of Nepal, 2018)  made several provisions to implement the mother tongue education policy. And the Report of High Level Education Commission 2018 chaired by education minister has recommended ways means including the obligation of government to finance implementation of mother tongue education. Thus, Nepal has prepared over the past three decades the basic policy infrastructures to implement MTB-MLE in school education.


Acharya,  B. (2013). Haamro Rastrabhasa Nepali. (Our National Language Nepali).  Kathmandu: Srikrishna Acharya.

Aryal, K.(1970). Education for the development of Nepal. Kathmandu: Shanti Prakashan

Devakota, G. (1979). Nepalko Rajnitik Darpan (Political Mirror of Nepal). Chapter 7 pp. 545-546. Kathmandu: Dhruba Bahadur Devakota.

Gautam, R . (2004). Ranakalin Nepalko Prashashanik Shaikshik ra Samajik Sudharharu ( Administrative Educational and Social Reforms during Rana Period). Delhi: Adroit Publishers pp 63-78

Government of Nepal (2015) The Constitution of Nepal. Author

HMG Ministry of Education. (1971). The National Education System Plan (1971-1976). Author

HMG Ministry of Law and Justice. (1990).The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990. Kathmandu: Author

HMG Ministry of Law and Justice. (2007).The Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007. Kathmandu: Author

Ministry of Education. (1956). Nepal National Education Planning Commission Report 1956. Author

Parliament of Nepal. (2018). Aniwarya Tatha Nishulka Shiksha Bidheyak 2018 (Bill for Compulsory and Free Education 2018). Author

Shrestha, J. (1993). History of Education in Nepal 1951-1976. Unpublished PhD thesis presented to the Department of Education, Patna University, Patna India. Whelpton, J. (2012). A History of Nepal. Reprinted. Cambridge University Press