Direct report from GoPhil partner Collaborative Schools Network, Nov 2020
Since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the world in the spring, Nepal, like many other countries, has struggled to cope. The government has repeatedly changed course, from strict lockdowns to no restrictions, which has proved ineffective in managing the virus.
One thing that has not changed is that schools have officially remained closed. However, that has not stopped GoPhil partner Collaborative Schools Network (CSN). With GoPhil support, they have worked tirelessly and creatively to keep students learning; living up to their motto: We put students first.
KEEPING STUDENTS LEARNING
CSN created a series of learning packs for students – booklets with learning activities and games which students can use at home with minimal support. They are cheap to produce and easy to distribute.
They have proved so popular that they have been made freely available to other education organizations, and local government, across Nepal. So far they distributed to around 13,000 students in 12 municipalities.
Online learning is often presented as a simple solution at times like these. It is not. There are practical and educational challenges, but the CSN team has found ways to overcome them.
At the peak of lockdown, when students could not even come to school to collect learning packs, CSN teachers gave students assignments by phone and later collected and marked them.
When possible, CSN staff have also managed face-to-face classes, with small numbers of students and strict safety measures in place.
CSN’S NEXT STEPS
There is no single solution to keep students learning. CSN has learned that the best approach is to use a range of methods, which may change according to the needs of the students and how strict the regulations are at any given time. Progress has been built on the strong relationship CSN staff have developed and maintained with parents, teachers, and local authorities.
“We remain deeply concerned that a health crisis is creating an education crisis and we are determined to continue doing everything we can to keep students learning.”
In the coming months, CSN plans to engage with municipal and central-level policy-makers to try to push for more systematic and urgent educational responses to the pandemic. A priority is to find ways to re-open schools as quickly and safely as possible.
Tune in on GivingTuesday (December 01) to hear a LIVE UPDATE from CSN in Nepal.