Educate the Children was launched to ensure that children in Nepal can receive an education even if their families cannot afford to pay the necessary fees and other costs. More than 20 years later, we remain dedicated to that goal.
Rural government-run (i.e., public) schools in Nepal are often in very poor physical condition. They may have inadequate seating for the number of students enrolled, such that five or six children must squeeze together on a short bench; many have no doors, windows, or shutters; the roofs may leak. Additionally, classrooms' educational materials may consist only of a single blackboard, if that. Teachers are inadequately trained, and the typical educational methodology is rote learning: Students repeat what the teacher tells them to repeat and copy information verbatim from the blackboard or any books they may happen to have.
All photos below were taken in March 2013. Click on the images to see larger versions.
This kindergarten classroom at a school in the Ramechhap district is better than many: it has carpet, some mats for children to sit upon, and a relatively new white board. However, it is still very plain and not conducive to optimal early childhood development.
Unsurprisingly, at such schools children's attendance is typically extremely poor, drop-out rates are high, and teachers' job satisfaction is low.
ETC has been working with 26 schools in the Dolakha district for the past five years. Our involvement is broad and includes making physical improvements to the schools; training teachers in best practices; launching extracurricular activities; and providing classroom resources such as charts, books, and other educational supplies. In all cases, we work very closely with school personnel and parents to ensure that we are addressing their specific needs and priorities.
ETC has made many improvements here at Bosimpa Primary School, which serves children in kindergarten through second grade and which was formerly quite open to the elements. We plastered and painted the walls, installed concrete floors, added doors, and built toilets. Fifty percent of the cost of these improvements was borne by community members, who contributed materials and labor as well as some funding.
ETC offers our Agriculture in Schools program to students of middle-school age at three Dolakha schools, including Kshamawati Higher Secondary School (shown here). The program's goal is to promote the dignity and importance of agricultural work among young people.
ETC's work with schools and school personnel continues to benefit students for many years. Here are two examples:
Bal Bebasai School in Kathmandu was opened in 1972, to serve children who came from rural villages to work in domestic service in Kathmandu residents' homes. For many years, the school operated out of a converted stable, with the children sitting at crowded benches in narrow horse stalls.
ETC became involved with Bal Bebasai more than 10 years ago. The new multi-story facility now serves 700 students and employs 25 teachers, some of whom are pictured here at a school assembly.
This is Shree Siddeshwor Lower Secondary School in Godavari, south of Kathmandu. After ETC became involved, the school was able to add two stories and greatly increase the number of students served. It has also won recognition for the quality of education offered.
ETC's work with schools is truly transformative in many ways, in addition to the tangible, physical improvements:
From all of us at ETC, thank you for making this work possible through your support!
* Note that, in Nepal, 10th grade has traditionally marked the end of what we in the U.S. would call high school. At that time, students take a final exam which they must pass in order to earn their School Leaving Certificate, or SLC, which is equivalent to our high-school diploma. A student who earns his or her SLC may then, family situation permitting, go on to "plus-two" higher secondary schooling and perhaps to university.