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  • UK Educator Reports from Nepal

    Elizabeth Cozens, Education Advisor, United Missions to Nepal


    Since moving to Nepal last year from the UK to become the education advisor for United Missions to Nepal (UMN), I have been impressed by the difference which the Opportunity Education Foundation (OE) program has made to our partner government schools. As an experienced educator it quickly became clear to me that the traditional method of teachers lecturing and students memorizing the text books is still the most common method in government schools in Nepal.


    Most people who can afford it send their children, and especially their sons, to private schools. Here in UMN we focus on helping the very poor and marginalized children by improving the free government schools.


    Photo 1 April 2017

    pre-primary students in a village school


    Child labour is still a problem in rural areas of Nepal where heavy and time consuming household chores such as collecting fodder for animals are often carried out by children.


    If the children enjoy school and the school has good resources, parents are much more likely to encourage their children to attend school regularly. The UMN education team, led by Kshitij Raj Prasai introduced the OE program here six years ago. The educational materials and teachers guides have given students the opportunity to learn by doing and by seeing western style teaching on the DVDs.


    Photo 2 April 2017

    collecting buffalo fodder instead of going to school


    This was clearly demonstrated during my recent visit to Mugu, one of our working areas in a remote and mountainous area of the country. Here there are very few roads and many pupils walk about two hours twice a day to reach their school. The OE materials had to be carried from the nearest road, often many kilometers away, to the schools by porters or on mules The UMN education officer based in Mugu, Hira Lal Shrestha, walks up to eight hours a day to visit and monitor each of our eight OPP partner schools and often collects and delivers sister school letters at the same time. He encourages teachers to use the materials in creative ways in line with the Nepali school curriculum and arranges “mobile meetings” where teachers from different schools meet and share ideas.


    The teachers and students I spoke to in Mugu found the materials fun to use and the teachers have noted better pupil attendance since the students want to come and learn using these motivating resources. At first the teachers only used the materials in the grades they were designed for but now we have found that due to the difference in educational standards some Grade 6 materials for example can be useful to support the Nepali curriculum right up to Grade 10.



    Photo 3 April 2017

    Elizabeth and Hira Lal walking to visit a school


    Photo 4 April 2017

    1A typical school in the high hills


    Photo 5 April 2017

    The OE flash cards are especially useful for primary students, here some hearing impaired students are using sign language to show the picture names.

    Photo 6 April 2017

    Now that computers are slowly reaching Nepali schools the new OE hard disc drive with an electronic library will become very useful. UMN is working to bring more computer facilities to our partner schools in the future. We have started training teachers to use the new OE digital library.

    Photo 7 April 2017
    A well-used set of OE books

    Photo 8 April 2017


    Using the magnetic board sand letters to learn English


    Photo 9 April 2017
    A math class outside on the school porch


    Now that computers are slowly reaching Nepali schools the new OE hard disc drive with an electronic library will become very useful. UMN is working to bring more computer facilities to our partner schools in the future. We have started training teachers to use the new OE digital library.


    Photo 10 April 2017

    2 Teachers being trained to use the new OE hard drives


    In the southern plains of Nepal, our OE partner schools are much more accessible so the teachers mobile meetings are easier to organize. The teaching methods and materials have been much appreciated here and pupil motivation and attendance in school has increased.


    Anil Tharu is a Grade 7 student living in the south of Nepal in Kapilvastu. He is from a low income family, and often his father works away from home and then his mother relies on him to help her with household chores. Opportunity education teacher training and curriculum materials have had a big impact on his life. Anil was very shy and one of the weakest students in his class. He often used to come to school with incomplete homework and found it difficult to concentrate in class since he was overloaded with household tasks. As a result, he was failing at school and this further undermined his self-confidence.

    Nowadays, Anil comes to school regularly and completes his homework. He always sits at the front of the class and his voice and English pronunciation is clear. He now has good relationships with his teachers and fellow students and spends at least four hours each day outside class studying. He excels in academic quizzes and extracurricular competitions and activities.

    Thanks to Opportunity Education, Anil is now, in the words of his teacher Sita, “One of the most sincere, mannerly, helpful and disciplined students in the school”.


    So the UMN education department, on behalf of the poor children of Nepal would like to thank all the supporters of the OPP program who have made these improvements possible.

    Photo 11 April 2017