What We've Been Up to This Fall
This time of the year in Nepal, because of the monsoon season and some major holidays, we turn our focus to documentation, planning and fundraising. Work on the ground will begin to pick up in the next few weeks.
New Classrooms Built for 200 Students
However, recently we did wrap one last construction project from the summer. On September 24, we unveiled a new two-room building at Guru Lower Secondary School, which serves more than 200 students from kindergarten to grade 8. Overcrowding, a familiar problem in Nepal, had forced teachers to partition existing rooms and conduct multiple classes in those spaces. The school spent more than $4,600 to complete the building; 75% of the funding was provided by Santi School.
New Teacher Training Sessions Have Begun
We plan to complete teacher training in 2013 at two centers for more than 50 teachers from around 15 schools. Following our success in 2012, the training consists of two components: early childhood development and teaching in English. We have completed the early childhood development component of the training at one center. Training sessions will resume later this month, after nationwide elections for the constituent assembly.
Placing Nepali Volunteers in our Schools
After placing four Nepali volunteers during the summer, as part of our Santi Education Fellows program, we're excited to have Ankita Budhathoki at Shringery Secondary School, in Lamatar of Lalitpur district, in November and early December. Santi Education Fellows is a separate, Nepali-only volunteer program in addition to our foreign volunteers.
Annual Audit Completed
The annual third-party audit of our income and expenses in Nepal has been completed and submitted to the required government agencies. We have also published the document online here.
Developing a Plan for 2014
Our staff in Nepal recently elected a seven-member executive committee for the next two years and approved an action plan, along with a tentative budget, for the fiscal year 2013-14.
As always, thank you for your support!
The Santi School Project has been busy this summer in Nepal. We recently completed two new school buildings, will soon finish another, and have placed four more Shanti Education Fellows at different rural schools.
First, our construction projects:
Project #1: Bagh Bhairab Secondary School in Chaughare, in Lalitpur district, 40 kilometers away from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Originally built in 1960, the school has 14 staff and more than 250 students to grade 10. The school conducts its classes and administrative activities in 10 rooms. Since at least 12 rooms are required for its basic operations, it has partitioned its classrooms into smaller rooms to provide a room to each grade.
To provide additional classrooms, the District Education Office, Lalitpur, awarded a partial grant to complete the construction of a four-room building. With the assistance of the District Development Office, Lalitpur, and the Village Development Office, Chaughare, it completed the construction of two rooms and completed the frame for two more rooms. The school asked us to complete these two rooms so that classes can be conducted in those rooms.
Work was completed on August 7, 2013. The school management committee contributed 25 percent of the estimated cost of about NRs. 670,000 ($8,000).
Project #2: Guru Lower Secondary School, in Bukhel, Lalitpur district, about 40 kilometers away from Lalitpur ring road, Satdobato.
Built in 1980, the school has 13 staff and more than 200 students up to grade 8. The school conducts nine different classes in two buildings with just seven classrooms.
To address this, the Bukhel village development committee had provided assistance to the school to construct a two room concrete building. As the funds available was not sufficient to complete the building, the school could only finish up the frame for the building and classes could not be conducted in the building.
Work is expected to be completed by mid August. The estimated cost of this project is around NRs. 400,000 ($4,600).
Project #3: Thakursthan Lower Secondary School, in Budhakhani, Kaverepalanchowk district, about 75 kilometers away from Kathmandu, and an hour walking distance from a nearby gravel road.
The school has eight teachers and staff serving more than 160 students up to grade 7. It was established in 1996.
The school plans to upgrade to grade 8 in the upcoming year. It has received a partial grant from the District Education Office, Kavrepalanchowk, to complete a two-room building. However, considering the future need, the school is planning to add a room to the building. With the lack of financial resources, the school could not complete even the two-room building.
We helped the school complete the two-room building and add a third room to it. We also helped the school set up a drinking water system. Work was completed in July.
Shanti Education Fellows
We have placed four volunteers, Anjeela Budha Magar, Ashik Gurung, Chandan Mishra, and Pranav Man Shrestha from Nepal, at Vishwamitra Secondary School in Lubhu; Sisnery Secondary School, Shringery Secondary School, and Bashuki Secondary School of Lamatar, in Lalitpur, respectively. They will stay at their school for a month.
Shanti Education Fellows is an innovative program for Nepal, which lacks a strong tradition of volunteerism, encourages young high school graduates from an urban background to serve at our schools in the countryside.
Our school renovation projects are starting to attract attention from the government and media in Nepal. When Kali Devi Higher Secondary School celebrated its 50th anniversary with an elaborate ceremony in late February, Finance Minister Barshaman Pun was on hand, along with members of the press, to inaugurate a new four-room classroom built by The Santi School Project.
The new building was necessary to alleviate overcrowding at the school, which has about 360 students. More than just extra space, however, the new classrooms have helped Kali Devi earn a designation as a testing center for the school-leaving certificate (SLC), the most important exam for Nepali students starting on the path to college.
Previously, local students, who live in a remote area of Lalitpur district, had to travel a considerable distance for the exam, which is taken after finishing 10th grade. Now, Kali Devi will offer the SLC exam for students from four surrounding village development committees—administrative areas similar to counties.
Construction, originally funded by the government, stalled last year with just the frame of the structure completed. Santi School stepped in to provide slightly more than half of the total $15,000 budget; the community contributed more than 25 percent.
The inauguration ceremony attracted a big crowd: local governmental officials, representatives from various political parties, teachers from nearby schools, parents and students. Our project coordinator, Sita Devi Neupane, is an alumnus of the school.
A Nepali publication profiled one 10th grade Kali Devi student who can now take his SLC exam at Kali Devi here.
Thank you for helping to make this project possible. For more information on other school renovations and our training program for more than 150 teachers in Lalitpur district, visit our web site and Facebook page. Links are provided below.
This winter we'll be building new classrooms at three different schools, and installing drinking water systems at two of them. Overall, we'll be improving conditions for nearly 700 students in rural Nepal.
One of those schools is Kali Devi Higher Secondary School of Pyutar, Lalitpur. Built in 1962, the school has 20 teachers and staff serving more than 360 students. The school is around 50 kilometers away from Kathmandu.
The government's District Education Office provided funds to construct a four-room building to accomodate overcrowding, but the funds were only sufficient to complete the frame of the building.
We are helping the school complete at least two rooms so that classes can begin in April 2013, the start of the next school year. The school will bear a quarter of the estimated cost of the project.
For more information about the three schools we are renovating, visit our web site, http://santischool.org/category/our-projects/present/
Thanks for your support. Like us on Facebook if you haven't already!
Teacher training has become a major focus for The Santi School Project following our big win this summer of a $15,000 grant from Better World Books. Working with primary school teachers is yet another way we can improve the quality of the learning experience for our children -- along with renovating schools, providing books and classroom materials, and helping pay teacher salaries.
Training has begun for the first group of 21 teachers from 7 school in the Lalitpur area. Overall, by next spring, we will train 150 teachers at 5 different centers.
How the training works
Early returns are positive
"I have observed some training sessions. Based on the observations that I have made during the training and its implementation in the classroom, I believe the training is effective." -- Satish Kumar Jha, principal of Sisnery Higher Secondary School, Lamatar, Lalitpur.
"I have seen several other training programs conducted by various organizations and agencies. I think this training is better than others. I have also received positive feedback about the training from participating teachers and the principals sending teachers from their schools." -- Him Bahadur Thapa, field level supervisor from the District Education Office, Mahalaxmi Higher Secondary School, Lubhu, Lalitpur.
What's unique about our training
Why teacher training is important
How we will measure results
We're excited to have Rosy Lama as one of the 4 teacher trainers. Rosy is a former principal at Shanti Primary School in Ramche and was instrumental in the early success of the school. She moved back to Kathmandu to complete her masters degree and has been teaching at a private school in the city. She's never really left us, because she's been involved in our other teacher training programs.
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