Education development in rural Nepal

This project works with Amar Jyoti School, 10 kilometres from Pokhara. The goal is to improve English teaching techniques through workshops and on the job training of local teachers.

When Amar Jyoti School has reached the level of development with which they are happy, the project will be expanded to include other nearby schools too.

Volunteers live in the famous Tiger Mountain Lodge.

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What to Expect?

Volunteers with professional education skills and experience are currently needed to help local teachers with the following skills – fundamental areas of modern education in which most Nepali teachers have no formal training:

English literacy teaching methodologies

teacher training methodologies for primary and secondary education

Lesson planning

Early Childhood Education methodologies, particularly in language development

The development of appropriate sustainable and cheap teaching aids

The project:

The government school of Amar Jyoti Gaun Pharka is situated in the eastern part of the Pokhara Valley, about 10km from Pokhara town, which is some 200km west of Kathmandu. This is the only secondary school in the community, with five ‘feeder’ primaries, one of which is a private school, serving a big 'village' comprising various small communities including Rish Danda, Kaphal Ghari and Sillinge. 

The volunteer programme works with Amar Jyoti Gaun Pharka and the 5 'feeder' primary schools - with total student numbers of approximately 750 - volunteersmay work with 8 to 15 English teachers during their placements, although  most of the time will be spent in Amar Jyoti.

According to the Nepalese curriculum, lessons should be held in English, although teachers’ own lack of skill and confidence in the language make this an ideal rather than a reality. Therefore, broader use of the English language in the schools is the primary goal of this project – English is the single most important educational tool a Nepalese child can have. Without it, they cannot take public exams and the School Leavers' Certificate. 

English offers some children a passport to a future – language can be taught through demonstrating modern teaching methods in classroom lessons, as well as through basic arts and crafts, creative writing, life-skills and associated conversation.  

A long term goal is to enable local staff to gain enough confidence to involve the children in their own learning and replace the current prevalence of  'chalk-and-talk'....another is to build the language skills within the school cluster to such an extent that future volunteers will be able to assist develop other areas of the curriculum - particularly IT.

Context: The area where the school lies is known as Jaldhare Danda (after one of the many hilltops in the area). It has its natural beauty, with a fresh and quiet environment. From here one can see four different Himalayan ranges and  the Pokhara Valley including Fewa Lake (the biggest lake in the valley). 

The school has a long history for a rural school in Nepal. It was established in 1962 as a primary school (grades 1-5). The number of the students at that time was low - just 12 students - and most of the students were male. The school became a  Lower Secondary  School (grades 1-8). For about 35 years no investment was made in the school at all, causing attendance to drop even lower. Students were compelled to study in the open, under a tree during the summer due to the heat. During the monsoon rains school was often disrupted. Students had to bring their own straw mat or they had to find a stone to sit on. Sometimes students used to sit on their sandals too!

"With the establishment of Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge in 1998, prospects gradually became brighter for the school. The local Nature Guides from Tiger Mountain lead walks in the village for tourists and provided much support to introduce the problems of the school to the foreign visitors. Guests, who saw the poor condition of the school, started to contribute funds on an ad hoc basis. The Lodge’s charity account has been able to raise almost three million rupees (approximately USD 39,000) between 2001 and 2009.

The construction work of the school was started with the help of other donors and in 2007 the school upgraded to a Secondary School (1-10 grades) with its modern classrooms including desk bench, drinking water, electricity, and toilets – all things not considered ‘routine’  in rural Nepal. A library was also provided with the support of a charity called Room to Read. Currently (2009), a similar partnership of community, government, charities, and Tiger Mountain is working to establish a computer lab, with workstations, internet access, and full servicing support – a real leap forward for a rural school." - Hari Adhikari  - Tiger Mountain Representative on The School Steering Committee

The local health post is next to the school so students have had the benefit of that since its establishment.

Most of the people who have been living here are semi-subsistence farmers. When parents can afford private education, they send their children to private schools, but when the cash runs out, they send the children back to the government school. Parents  send their children to the private school because of the perceived quality of education and English medium teaching.

Parents are very proud of their children’s ability to use English, which often can only be effectively achieved in private school. They see no value in the government school’s secondary education curriculum delivered in Nepalese. It should be noted here that Nepalese has a small vocabulary that cannot easily accommodate technical and modern concepts.

If students can get quality education, particularly English language skills, from government schools, then economically poor parents are not compelled to send their children to private school, with all the costs incurred, or feel further social exclusion. Different ethnic and caste groups live in this area so volunteers will experience a rich cultural diversity whilst enjoying the welcome of the Pokhara Tiger Mountain team who will be your hosts during your stay. 

Living conditions:

As part of its contribution to this volunteer programme, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge offers a substantial discount to volunteers to cover their accommodation and meals (full board including a packed luch on work days). Accomodation is a single room with en suite facilities in the stunning Tiger Mountain Lodge. The lodge benefits from stunning views of the Himalayas and a glorious swimming pool! The lodge is a pleasant 30-minute walk from the school through the local community. "The kindnesses of everyone never faltered the whole time we were there and even increased (if that were possible) during the few days I was feeling unwell. Their friendly faces and attentive ways, coupled with such beautiful scenery and comfortable accommodation, was something Margaret and I looked forward to so much at the end of our school day.  How fortunate we were to be given an assignment by people and places that gave us the best of everything! Please would you pass on my heartfelt thanks to everybody – We were made to feel safe and secure and when it was time to return to Kathmandu I felt as though I was leaving a family behind.

My thanks also extend to the delightful Tiger Mountain representative who looked after us in Kathmandu. 

The project itself is very exciting and both Margaret and I not only enjoyed it very much but we are also so pleased to have been in at the start. We will always feel we have ownership of it – so don't be surprised if we closely follow how it progresses!I have copied this e-mail to Kate and will be telephoning her soon to let her know what a magical experience this has all been. I know Paddy and Julie will have a wonderful time and I will speak to them shortly too so that they know how much they can look forward to their trip." Volunteer Val 

  • Program ID: # 1795
  • duration:
    1 to 3 Months
    More than 3 Months
  • location:
    Amara Jyoti School, near Pokhara Pokhara
    28° 13' 37.092" N, 83° 58' 46.1712" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Pokhara (PKR)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Teach Overseas
  • Click Here for More Info

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