Quality Education program report
The funding received from the Footprints program is integrated into our 3-year quality education program in the Sotang district. The 2nd year of the program was conducted from November 2009 to September 2010. It forms part of an ambitious program to improve the education of the vast Solu Khumbu region of Nepal with over 47,000 children, nearly 1500 teachers in 267 schools that extend from the impoverished foothills to the base of Mt Everest.
The Footprints program is helping to improve the education of 11,941 children, 379 teachers in 70 schools in the Sotang district, which is part of the Solu Khumbu region. Unlike its more prosperous Sherpa communities that live beneath of the shadow of Everest, Sotang is in dire need of support. Educational facilities are basic with some schools accommodating over 100 children in one classroom, where teachers have little or no training and where children regard textbooks as a luxury. It is therefore not surprising that educational outcomes are among the lowest in Nepal.
- Develop child-centred teacher training methods
- Provide relevant and appropriate teaching materials and resources to schools
- Increase teacher and student attendance, increase girls’ enrolment in schools, and reduce drop-out rates of children from schools
- Promote mechanisms for reliable and fair annual assessment of student achievement
- Ensure that the key teachers are selected and extra training given for their capacity building in classroom support and management.
The following workshops were conducted between November 2009 and September 2010
Key teacher training
1st year Sotang
29 Nov 09 to 04 Dec 09
Salleri & Sotang
10 days main training course
2nd year Sotang
16 Dec 09 to 04 Jan. 010
2nd year conducted in villages of Sotang, Bung & Basa
Sotang - 30 Aug 10 to 4 Sept 10
Bung - 7 Sept10 to 12 Sept 10
Basa -22 Aug 10 to 27 Aug 10
Sotang, Bung & Basa
School management training
2nd year conducted in villages of Waku, Sotang, Bung, Basa, Gudel, Cheskam, Kanku & Pawai
Basa -9 March 10 to 11 March 10
Waku – 13 May 10 to 17 May 10)
Sotang -21 May 10 to 23 May 10
Bung -25 May 10 to 27 May 10
Cheskam -14 Sept 10 to 16Sept 10
Gudel - 18 Sept 10 to 20 Sept 10
Kanku-5 March10 to 7 March 10
Pawai -17 May 10 to 19 May 10
Sotang, Waku, Bung, Gudel, Cheskam, Kanku & Pawal
In School support
Continue between Feb 10 to Oct 10
There have been significant ongoing challenges in improving the level of teacher training in rural communities. These include:
- The commitments and skill of the teachers is often disappointing – teaching skill and experience is limited
- The percentage of new untrained teachers being appointed
- Knowledge of subject content often very weak
- Parents often don’t understand the value of education, and encourage students to work as porters, help in the fields, look after other children
- School Management Committees, parents and even headmasters often have a poor understanding of the role they can play in improving education standards in the school
- Lack of teacher learning materials
- Lack of support for the poorest students
- Class sizes are high and classrooms are small
- Lack of stationery for the children
- Limited areas or facilities for the children for recreation.
- Improved teacher training as is evident by the workshops attended by nearly 300 teachers
- Access to more relevant and appropriate teaching material and resources - including regular supplies of textbooks and writing books to all schools in the district
- Increased teacher and student attendance and girls’ enrolment, and reduced student drop-out rates – with encouraging figures over the last two years
- Improved understanding of quality student assessment by trained teachers and Government agencies - as is evident from the marked improvement of support by the district education offices
- Development of a team of education resource personnel and a Key Teachers Program to implement ongoing training and support activities – again encouraging signs with 16 outstanding teachers being selected for advanced training.
Activities in Sotang provide part of an overall 9-year program in the Solu Khumbu region. From November 2011 the program will expand into the nearby district of Nele with 10,606 children, 282 teachers in 53 schools. However to ensure the sustainability of the program and improve educational standards further refresher training and key teacher training workshops will continue and further educational resources supplied to the Sotang district.
This is the second year of our expanded Teacher Training & Quality Education (TTQE) program which will have a direct impact in the educational opportunities of over 16,500 students. It extends educational opportunities well beyond the more prosperous Sherpa region in the vicinity of Mt Everest and focuses on the impoverished region of Sotang that is in dire need of educational support.
The 2009/10 Teacher Training Prgram builds on the several years of successful grassroots education projects which Footprints has funded (see past project reports here).
The TTQE program aims to increase the opportunities for students in this impoverished Himalayan region by greatly improving:
- Teaching and learning levels
- The rates of retention and transition into secondary school
- An understanding of how students learn through child psychology
- Teaching practices that promote critical and creative thinking to engage learners
- The availability of trained teachers in all subjects – thus easing a severe shortage
The program schedule
Each year the main thrust of the program is conducted in late November through to early January via a series of workshops that include:
- Key teacher training workshop held in Salleri. There are two workshops scheduled this year for around 35 teachers from around Salleri and lower Khumbu regions. The aim of each workshop is to train the key teachers to train other teachers in the region.
- Refresher teacher training held in Salleri. The workshops will attract around 150 teachers from approx 135 schools from lower Khumbu, Salleri and Sotang. The aim of the workshop is to provide additional training to teachers would already have attended the main teacher-training workshop.
- Primary teacher training held in Sotang. The workshops will attract around 300 teachers from approx 65 schools. The aim of the workshop is to provide an initial training for inexperienced teachers who may have only completed a rudimentary education.
This Footprints funded project will provide approx 50% of the costs for entire workshop program & supply of educational materials being undertaken by the Australian Himalayan Foundation. The remaining funds are provided by the Ian McNair Charitable Foundation
Educational issues in this region of Nepal
The Solu Khumbu region comprises of three districts - the Khumbu (Everest) region and Sotang to the southeast and Necha to the southwest. Khumbu is also divided in the upper Khumbu and lower Khumbu.
In the impoverished and remote regions of Solu Khumbu there are very limited opportunities for kids.
With highly unsatisfactory learning outcomes and retention rates, teacher education is the most effective way to combat this. With appropriate teaching methods there is every likelihood that there will be an increase student participation and retention in schools. It also facilitates significant increases in community support (vital for attendance), social cohesion and local involvement in schools.
Better education in turn increases their employment prospects as well as contributing to community well-being.
The TTQE program is run in conjunction with the local community and experienced volunteers, ensuring sustainable benefits and increased community support.
The AHF project team is led by a highly experienced teacher training coordinator together with a team of Australian volunteer teacher trainers and local Nepalese teacher trainers. All teachers are from the local communities.
Other ways to get involved with this project:
Australian teachers (and other nationalities) can participate as volunteer trainers of key teachers as well as helping with general teacher training. Contact the Australian Himalayan Foundation
You can also visit some of the 130 schools involved, on specific occasions as a member of an AHF support trek (coordinated by World Expeditions), subject to availability and timings.