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Introduce geology in Nepal’s higher education

Introduce geology in Nepal’s higher education

The higher secondary school curriculum is essential for developing responsible citizens. By the end of their education, students should understand their country, environment, customs, festivals, and societal perspectives. They need basic knowledge about Nepal's physical environment, natural resources, and sustainable use. Currently, the curriculum in secondary and higher education levels lacks sufficient coverage on these topics, especially geology. Without studying geology, students cannot fully understand Nepal’s environment, resources, geological hazards, geological structures, tectonics, seismic activity, fault lines, river origins, or essential infrastructure construction.   

After the new education policy, science teaching became systematic. Science was introduced in the 1930 as an optional subject and became compulsory in 1992 for secondary students. From 1992 to 2016, the curriculum included Physics (40 percent), Chemistry (20 percent), Biology (30 percent), and Astronomy and Geology (10 percent). In 2017, it was revised to Physics (30 percent), Chemistry (30 percent), Biology (30 percent), and Astronomy/Geology (10 percent). In teaching science, physics, chemistry, and biology were prioritized, while geology was limited to a brief unit on the earth's origin. Looking at the average of the curriculum currently in use, in grades 8, 9 and 10, Geology is given only a two percent. Similarly, this subject (Geology) is not included in Grade XI & XII science stream. What these figures show is that geology is still not accepted as an important part of science, while without the knowledge of geology, it is not possible to make development structures and minimize the impact of natural disasters in Nepal.

Understanding geological hazards

Historical data and ongoing seismological studies have clearly indicated that Nepal is highly susceptible to geological hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and floods due to its location in a tectonically active zone (On the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian Tectonic Plates). Tragically, this vulnerability has led to the loss of countless lives and widespread destruction over the years. Nepal is ranked 11th in earthquake risk according to the Global Report on Disaster Risk, reflecting the frequent occurrence of earthquakes in the country. Also, according to the Nepal Disaster Report 2009, Nepal ranks seventh worldwide in terms of deaths resulting from the combined consequences of floods, landslides, and avalanches. Despite these realities, Nepal’s education system has largely overlooked the importance of geology and disaster management in the science curriculum. So, introducing geology as a subject in the science stream of higher secondary level provides students with a deeper understanding of the Earth’s structure, tectonic processes, and seismic activity, enabling them to comprehend the underlying causes of earthquakes and other geological hazards.

Disaster awareness and preparedness  

Damage assessments conducted by the Government of Nepal Department of Education (DoE) revealed that more than 27,000 public school classrooms were completely destroyed during the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, while an additional 26,000 classrooms sustained substantial damage. These statistics highlight the unimaginable scenario where students would have been severely affected if the earthquake had struck during the school hours. Both global school-related disaster data and Nepal’s past experiences indicate that Nepalese school students face significant risk from natural disasters, particularly during school hours. Geoscientists are repeatedly warning the possibility of such a catastrophe occurring in any part of the country. Therefore, students must be educated about disaster awareness and preparedness through the curriculum to ensure their safety.

Resources management 

Nepal possesses abundant natural resources including minerals, water, forests, and agricultural products. Various regions hold potential for different resources: the Terai Plain for gravel, sand, and groundwater, the Sub Himalaya for construction materials and minor coal seams, the Lesser Himalaya for metallic minerals (iron, copper, lead, zinc, cobalt, nickel, tin, tungsten, gold, uranium) and industrial minerals (magnesite, limestone, dolomite, bauxite, kaolin, graphite, mica, quartz, silica sand and gemstones), and the Higher Himalaya for precious stones and metallic minerals. Introducing geology at higher levels promotes specialized courses, producing skilled manpower crucial for economic development.

Career opportunities

Introducing geology at the secondary education level in Nepal can prepare students for a range of career paths, including geoscience research, environmental management, natural resource exploration, and disaster risk reduction. Geologists can find employment opportunities in groundwater management, geological surveying, natural gas and mineral exploration, physical infrastructures (road, tunnel, irrigation canal, etc.) as well as industries related to zinc, copper, and other minerals. By exposing high school students to the principles of geology, educators can inspire future geologists and earth scientists in the career fields such as engineering geology, hydrology, mining geology and paleontology.

Long term impact

Nepal is composed of about 83 percent of mountainous with weak and fragile geological structure, tectonically active zone. Nepal is highly susceptible to landslides and slope failures in addition to earthquakes. Many villages and settlements are located on old landslide sites or near unstable slopes, which are prone to reactivation. Earthquakes often trigger landslides, resulting in significant loss of life, livestock, property, and infrastructure in Nepal. Introducing geology in higher secondary education can prepare citizens for these hazards, saving lives and promoting sustainable development and resilience.


Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, yet its education system largely neglects geology education at the secondary and higher levels. Various countries, including Papua New Guinea, several states in India including Maharashtra, Manipur, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Kerala and many other countries, have already integrated geology into their Grade XI & XII education curricula. Given Nepal’s susceptibility to natural disasters, urgent action is needed to incorporate geology education into grades XI and XII. Engaging with experts in the field of geology, responsible governmental authorities should initiate the planning and implementation of geology education at these levels. This addition will boost students’ scientific understanding and prepare them to tackle real-world issues like natural disasters, environmental concerns, and resource management. Introducing geology will nurture a culture of resilience and readiness among the next generation, contributing to a safer and more secure future for Nepal.