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Collaborative Schools Network2024-05-17T01:22:26-06:00

Collaborative Schools Network • Nepal

Collaborative Schools Network (CSN), is an organization working to transform the quality of public education offered to some of Nepal’s most disadvantaged children. CSN focuses on improving public rather than private education, because they believe that a successful public education system works as a solid foundation to support a nation’s development. CSN takes on the management of its partner schools, in partnership with the local government, and implements a school improvement plan alongside the existing teachers. The plan focusses on improving the quality of teaching, management, infrastructure and community relations. Importantly, CSN is locally-led and all staff members have a background in education.

CSN’s model is highly sustainable, scalable and cost effective. By leveraging the local government to fund the core running costs of the school (teacher salaries), CSN can focus their energy and resources on improving systems, facilities and the quality of teaching. This approach has generated some astounding results; the first school CSN partnered with, for example, attained a 315% increase in enrollment, 94% student attendance, 36% A+ results, and 97% participation in parent meetings. Even more impressive, CSN has achieved these results with an investment of roughly USD $10,000 per year, per school. Overall, the CSN model is a powerful example of how the nonprofit sector can partner with the local government to achieve systemic and sustainable change.

“We have a relentless focus on improving the quality of teaching. No school can be better than its teachers, and so we invest in intensive, personalized teacher coaching and curriculum development. Good infrastructure matters, but good teaching matters more.”

• CSN Team •

PROGRAM FOCUS

CSN’s model is holistic and focuses on four core areas: teaching, parents, management and infrastructure. CSN is not only drastically improving the futures of individual students and their communities, but shining a light on what is possible for public education, and proving that public schools can be highly-successful with the right support.

Teaching

  • Providing free midday meals for all primary students.
  • Training teachers in three priority areas: checking for understanding, teaching students of different abilities and encouraging active participation.
  • Arranging catch-up classes for students in need of extra support.
  • Creating comprehensive lesson plans and coaching teachers on their implementation.

Parents

  • Advising parents whenever their children are absent.
  • Conducting regular home visits to build relations and get parents more involved in their child’s education.
  • Rebranding to distance the school from the negative “government school” bias.
  • Holding parent-teacher meetings at times which are convenient for parents.

Management

  • Ensuring a minimum of 210 teaching days each year (roughly 50 more days than most government schools) and minimizing school closures due to disruptions.
  • Enforcing a strict 10am to 4pm schedule, so that students have access to regular and complete school days.
  • Requiring that teachers be present during all student lessons and putting in place a substitute teacher system.

Infrastructure

  • Updating buildings so that they are safe and hygienic, with clean water and toilets.
  • Repainting and updating classrooms as needed.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP

GoPhil’s formal partnership with CSN was launched in 2020, though our team met and collaborated with CSN previously through our networks in Nepal.

GoPhil’s pilot grant with CSN is funding the placement of one School Leader to co-manage a public school in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal for a transformative 12 month period. School Leaders are highly-skilled, experienced educators that work alongside school staff and wear different hats: teacher, coach and leader. Because the CSN approach relies on building strong relationships, demonstrating best practice, and supporting teachers to think and act differently, these School Leaders are absolutely crucial to the overall success of the program. As one of the founders of CRN states: “School Leaders are the heart of our work.”

WHAT MAKES CSN UNIQUE?

Although many other NGOs in Nepal focus on improving infrastructure or providing materials or training to schools, the CSN approach is uniquely comprehensive and holistic, leading to a deeper, more long-lasting transformation. Also, working alongside the public sector creates the potential to scale the program and reach many more children than one private school ever could. The focus on improving existing, public schools rather than building new ones from the ground up is a more sustainable approach that enables CSN to contribute to incredible, lasting, systemic change for Nepal.

Furthermore, through strategic and creative fundraising efforts (selling their lesson plans to private schools, obtaining grants from local municipalities, etc.), CSN is maximizing their own self-sufficiency.

If you are interested in supporting CSN, please email us at [email protected]

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