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English speaking students are community school hero


POKHARA, Feb 9: Fourteen years-old Tuphan Thapa studies in Nepali medium school but his skill of speaking and writing English language has made him the most popular student of his school.

The ninth grader boy of a public school named Saraswati Higher Secondary School, Ahale Gorkha much confidently delivers speech, shares experiences in English and leaves all students behind in study which has been possible for him after being enrolled in the English Access Micro scholarship Program (Access Program), implemented by Nepal English Language Teachers Association (NELTA) in support of the US Embassy since 2011.

“I have always been a best performers in all subject except english which left me in a temptation learn the language but there was no one to guide,” Thapa shared his feeling in the recently organized five days camp in Pokhara. He counts his improvements in vocabulary, speaking skills and grammar through the access class he attends three days in a week which is held after school hour. He has also learnt to use multimedia which was far from knowledge before.
community students
The students enrolled in access program generally belong to the lower middle class families and the marginalized communities who can´t afford to the private schools, the organizers claim. The two years curriculum has basically targeted the good students in community schools who are generally weak in English.

The program currently covers four districts Kathmandu, Gorkha, Rupandehi and Parsa which would be extended in Lalitpur and Kailai this year, according the program coordinator Shyam Pandey. Some 200 students were benefitted in the first batch while 160 students enrolled last year.

Another student, Ganga Shrestha, the 15-years-old girl of Nabin Audhyogik Kadar Bahadur Rita Higher Secondary School, Rupandehi says that the last 11 months have been special for her as she has now dared to express her feelings in English.

“What I have learnt from the class is we must not hesitate to speak even if it becomes a jumble words,” she expressed. “I have gained knowledge on leadership skill and understood my role for the society apart from the program which gave me an exposure to American Culture and an opportunity to inform the guest teachers from the US about our cultural values.”

Shrestha, is also considered among the best students in the public school she is studying where around 1000 students are taught in Nepali medium.

Those students who were struggling to score pass marks in English subject are now easily achieving distinction marks after they enrolled in the Access classes, say the organizers.

“When we selected the best students from community schools for access class, they were unable to speak even a sentence in English,” said Shyam Pandey coordinator of the program adding “They would question us back if we asked their own or father´s name.” The students would start saying flowers´ name when asked to tell their full name in initial days, he added.

The statistics available at the Office of the Controller of the Examination shows that the maximum numbers of students fail in Compulsory English in SLC exam followed by Mathematics.

In addition to a 40 hour Leadership Development Winter Camp organized in Pokhara, students also learnt to take care of their personal health, social services and child rights. Similarly, utilizing an innovative technology, story writing student leadership and disaster preparedness techniques, mentioned the program coordinator Pandey.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-02-09 06:00:00

Teachers padlock DAV School : School using textbooks that threaten national sovereignty



The All Nepal Teachers´ Union on Sunday padlocked the DAV Sushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati School in Jawalakhel accusing the school of using textbooks that threaten to undermine the national sovereignty.

The agitating teacher´s union, an umbrella organization of all the teachers across the country, has said that they were compelled to take the move as the government did not take any action against the school even as the school has been using textbooks that threaten to undermine national sovereignty.

“The school has prescribed Integrated Social Science textbook for grade four, which mentions that Lord Buddha was born in India and that Mount Everest is also located in India,” said Gun Raj Lohani, chairman of All Nepal Teachers´ Union, adding “We strongly condemn this has the school has hurt the sentiments of all Nepali nationals.”

The teachers have also asked the school to sever its affiliation with the Indian Council of Secondary Education, which has prescribed the controversial textbook.

The issue came to light when three teachers who were fired from the school joined hands with their umbrella organization and announced phase-wise protests on December 21.

The school had fired two teachers Sagar Thapa and Santosh Jha in September accusing them of conspiring against the school administration.

Rajendra Manandhar, who taught computer science for the last seven years in the school, was also fired on December 16 on similar grounds.

“We could not keep mum as the school has been prescribing textbooks that threaten to undermine national sovereignty,” said Manandhar. He added that the school management had offered him a golden handshake. However, Lalitpur District Education Office has already ordered the school administration to reinstate the sacked teachers.

“We want our job back and also want the school to respect our sovereignty,” added Manandhar.

According to Lohani, the teachers had informed the school administration, District Education Office and the District Administration Office, Lalitpur in advance about their protest programs.

However, the government is yet to make an official statement.

Manakaji Shakya, District Education Officer of Lalitpur was unavailable for comments.

The protest has not hampered classes as the school had announced winter vacation from December 24 to January 27.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-01-06 23:22:56

Two dozens valley-community schools shut as student enrollment drops to zero



The deterioration of community schools in the Valley has now become visible, with the number of students plunging to zero at some two dozen such schools within two years. Most of these schools were located in the Valley outskirts.

Community schools, which are considered the backbone of the free education system, are gradually loosing students for various reasons, a lack of quality teachers due to politicization of their appointment being the most serious.

According to data available at the District Education Office (DEO) in Kathmandu, four schools have unofficially shut following lack of students interested in studying at those schools.

The schools, including Nandi Ganesh Secondary School at Mata Tirtha, Ban Devi Primary School at Thankot, Chundevi Primary School at Bhim Dhunga and Vidashram Primary School, Kirtipur, have closed during the ongoing academic year as student enrollment dropped to nil, said Kathmandu District Education Officer Baikuntha Aryal.

“The capital has seen 10 school closures in two years including six closed last academic year, and 50 primary schools with less than 20 students are also on the verge of closure,” informed Aryal.

“Student enrollment at the schools has declined due to the irregular presence of teachers as the schools become platforms for power plays by the various political parties,” Aryal added.

Out of the total of 1,463 schools in the district, 1,167 are private and boarding schools and 296 are community schools.

Similarly, eight schools closed in Lalitpur during the last academic session.

The scenario is no different in Bhaktapur, where six schools closed this academic session.

Similarly, 34 community schools in the district have student enrollment of less than 30, including 14 schools which have 10 or less students.

Nateshor Lower Secondary School, Bal Bodh Shanti Lower Secondary School, Chandeshori Lower Secondary School, Krishna Primary School, Dakshinkali Primary School and Manakamana Primary Schools have closed.

“The DEOs of all three districts in the Valley have stopped issuing permissions for opening new schools and we are in a wait and see mood when it comes to the merge modality,” said Deepak Kafle, District Education Officer of Bhaktapur.

The DEO has deployed one teacher in each closed school as a caretaker to assist the early childhood development centers running there. There are 337 schools in Bhaktapur, including 137 community schools.

The situation could worsen in the next few years if the government does not come up with an aggressive plan to improve the overall quality and structure of community schools so that they will attract students again.

“Is it government policy to include only the private sector in the education system and fully commercialize the entire system through privatization?” asked educationist Mana Prasad Wagle, adding “If this continues, there would be just a handful of community schools left in the Valley within 10 years.”

According to Wagle, the teachers are most responsible for the failing of community schools. These school saw just 36 percent passes in the SLC exams last year compared to the overall rate of 47percent.

“Teachers currently in work need to be short-listed as per their competence and mandatory retirement should be given to those who are incompetent,” said Wagle. “World-wide research shows that teachers are responsible for students´ failure to learn in 69 percent of cases and only 31 percent is the effect of poor infrastructure.”

Source: Republica DailyLink:
Published on 2012-10-11 06:00:14