Two of Nepal’s most isolated and under-served districts now have 110 newly trained teachers, thanks to PHASE Nepal’s teacher training programme, funded by the Enabling Leadership Foundation through Nepal Teacher Training Innovations.
Between June 2015 and June 2016, PHASE Nepal trained 110 teachers in Kashigaun and Keraunja, in the Gorkha district of central Nepal, and in Kolti and Pandusain, villages in the remote, western Bajura district. A group of 33 teachers were selected for further training to become Mentor Teachers and provide continuous professional development in these isolated areas.
Both Kashigaun and Keraunja lie high in the Gorkha mountains, a two day walk from the nearest road. Life in Gorkha was already tough; it was made harder still after the April 2015 7.8 magnitude earthquake whose epicentre was in Barpak, eastern Gorkha.
Bajura, the second project area, is plagued by poverty. Ranked 74th of 75 districts on the Human Development Index, it is 75th in the district poverty index (2011 Census). People in Kolti and Pandusain struggle to feed themselves, so it is little wonder that education is not prioritised. One knock on effect of a poor education is visible in the region’s extremely low literacy rates; almost one quarter of Bajura’s young people (aged 15-24) are illiterate, according to a UNESCO review published in 2013.
Local teachers welcomed the opportunity to learn different approaches, PHASE trainers noted. The course also won support from the District Education Office and official approval from the Nepal Department of Education.
“I like your training because you focus on the practical aspects of teaching, sharing strategies that compliments what we are trying to do in schools,” Hari Aryal the Gorkha District Education Officer told PHASE.
We even received a request to run the course again.
“I think you should replicate this in other VDCs of Bajura because it is precise, practical and delivered right in the village so that the teachers do not have to spend days travelling to the district headquarters,” Vivi Raj Soti, Bajura School Supervisor, told us.
Attitudes to education in more isolated villages can also be a challenge to teaching; a lack of motivation among students and teachers can result in closed classrooms. With little oversight and support from local education authorities, there are few repercussions for teachers who do not teach, or for parents who do not ensure their children go to school.
This is why PHASE Nepal’s work in remote areas is crucial to the development and legacy of Nepal’s future generations of students and teachers.