We've been following up with the teachers who've completed our training program in central Nepal.
Since 2011, Santi School has trained more than 200 teachers from more than 70 schools in the Lalitpur district of central Nepal. This year, we've been following up with them to see how we can make the most of the training and continue to support our teachers in the future.
Our teacher training consists of two components: early childhood development and teaching English. During the training, we conduct classroom sessions for the teachers, observe them with their students, and award cash incentives to the top three performers in each training center.
After conducting the training on a large scale for about two years, we wanted to find out how the teachers were implementing what they had learned. We also wanted to evaluate how effective our training programs have been in changing teaching practices inside the classroom.
This year, we are implementing a follow-up program in four out of eight centers where we had conducted our training program. This follow-up is expected to benefit more than 120 teachers who had completed our training.
We have recently completed the follow-up in seven schools in the Lubhu and Lamatar village development committees in Lalitpur district.
Teacher Training Program Expands to Kathmandu
Earlier this summer, we expanded our teacher training program to a school in Kathmandu. Previously, it was concentrated in southern parts of Lalitpur that are more remote.
This training session was special because Santi School board member and teacher training expert Beth Norford was on hand Nepal in mid August to conduct a five-day session for the 12 primary teachers of Jana Sewa Higher Secondary School in Kiripur, Kathmandu district.
Beth observed each of the teachers in their classrooms and then conducted the training, followed by another observation afterward. All the teachers, the school administration, and school management participated enthusiastically.
The principal of Jana Sewa, the school management committee chairperson, and the board members of Santi School in Nepal were all impressed with the training. We look forward to working with more needy schools in Kathmandu, as well as continuing our work in rural areas.
Spring in Nepal means the beginning of a new academic year. The 2014-15 session began in mid April, and we have focused our attention on implementing our health and sanitation program as well as providing classroom materials.
These efforts entail setting up pipes to deliver safe drinking water and provide water for toilets, as well as replacing chalkboards with dry and erase boards and markers. In addition to eliminating chalk dust, the new boards are an important classroom resource and status symbol for public schools in rural areas competing with private schools nearby.
Schools typically face two problems when it comes to water access: they may only have it during the morning and evening, when school is closed, and the taps are usually installed at a height appropriate for adults. To solve these problems, we provide collection tanks and install child-friendly taps.
Over the past three months in central Nepal the Santi School Project has:
Health and Sanitation Program
We’ve worked with the following schools in recent months:
Bal Manorama Lower Secondary School, in Ashrang village development committee (VDC) of Lalitpur district
Bal Jyoti Lower Secondary School, Nanglebhare VDC, Kathmandu district
Gumrang Lower Secondary School, Thula Durlung VDC, Lalitpur district
Guru Lower Secondary School, Bukhel VDC, Lalitpur district
Banaspati Primary School, Chaughare VDC, Lalitpur district
Kankali Primary School, Makwanpur district
These projects have been completed with support by donors like you and organizations such as Avionte Software and Rising Tide, which are both based in the United States and have operations in Nepal.
Two More Projects Under Way:
In Nawalpur VDC, Sindhupalchowk district, 70 kilometers from Kathmandu, we are helping two schools, Nawalpur Secondary School and Siddhartha Primary School, implement our health and sanitation program.
At Nawalpur School, we’re installing a water system, including toilets. We’re also fixing shutters on doors and windows for four rooms of the building.
We’re also setting up a water system at Siddhartha School, where we’ve already delivered dry erase boards and markers to replace chalkboards in classes from nursery to grade 5.
Both of these projects are expected to be completed by mid June. We are implementing the projects through donations raised by Adam Martin of Chicago, who visited Nawalpur during the winter of 2013, wanted to help, and asked his friends to support these projects.
Last November was a busy time in Nepal. In the first part of the month, we celebrated some major festivals and holidays. Then, for three consecutive days, there was hardly any traffic on the streets of Kathmandu as the normal pace of life came to a standstill for national elections for the constituent assembly.
We got back to work in earnest in late November. Here’s what’s been happening on the ground in Nepal:
Building New Classrooms
We have started work on two rooms at Bani Bilash Higher Secondary School, Chapagaun Village Development Committee (VDC), in Lalitpur district. The total estimated cost of the project is NRs.946,000 (around $9,500); Santi School has provided roughly $7,100 and the school is contributing the rest. The project is expected to be completed by mid-April 2014. The school has 26 teachers serving more than 560 students from nursery to grade 12.
Starting Health and Sanitation Projects
We have launched health and sanitation projects at two schools. We’re setting up a drinking water system at Bal Manorama Lower Secondary School, Ashrang, in Lalitpur district, and also installing white boards at the school, replacing black boards and chalk. The cost of the project is NRs.63,000 (around $630) with the school contributing 25% of the cost. The project is expected to be completed by mid-March 2014. The school has 10 teachers serving more than 260 students studying from nursery to grade eight.
We’re also installing a drinking water system at Bal Jyoti Lower Secondary School, Nanglebhare VDC, in Kathmandu district. The expected cost of the project is NRs.47,850 (around $500) with Santi School contributing 75 percent of the cost. The school has 12 teachers serving more than 250 students from nursery to grade eight.
These health and sanitation projects are supported by a donation from Rising Tide in the United States.
Inaugurating Completed Buildings
We handed over two new school buildings to their respective school management committees during inauguration ceremonies last November.
One was a two-room building at Bagh Bhairab Secondary School, Chaughare VDC, in Lalitpur district. The school, which serves more than 250 students from nursery to grade 10, needed a new building because overcrowding had forced it to conduct some classes in partitioned rooms. The total cost of construction was NRs.670,000 (around $8,000).
The second project was a three-room building for Thakursthan Lower Secondary School, Budhakhani VDC, in Kavrepalanchowk district. The school has eight teachers serving more than 160 students in a remote area. The total cost of the project was 645,242 (around US$8,000).
For both these projects, Santi School contributed 75% of the total cost and the local community provided the rest.
Teacher Training Continues
We brought our teacher training to a new center at Saraswoti Higher Secondary School, Lele VDC, in Lalitpur district in October, and then conducted a session at Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School, Ikudole VDC, in the same district. The second phase of this training got under way in mid-February 2014.
We’re making a documentary, thanks to our partner group, Positive Exposures, which selected Santi School from a field of more than 300 charity groups last year, and will provide us with video and still photos. Their expertise is a real blessing, since we don't the capacity to do this on our own.
At the end of last year, photographer Dawn Deeks from Positive Exposures spent five weeks filming at our schools in Nepal. She was accompanied by Santi School founder Chris Heun and Robert Gruber, one of our board members. Together, they visited several of our project sites.
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