The Australian Himalayan Foundation’s first Teacher Training & Quality Education (TTQE) program was inspired by the work of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust that has benefited the Everest (Khumbu) district of Nepal since 1961. In 2005, the Australian Himalayan Foundation first started working with local Nepalese NGO, REED (Rural Education & Environmental Development) to develop a program to improve the quality of education in the Everest district.
Nepal faces large disparities in literacy rates between urban and rural areas, with urban areas recording literacy rates of approximately 73%, but only reaching 43% on average in rural areas. In addition, teachers in rural Nepal receive little or no training and regularly resort to basic rote-learning methods. As a result, attendance rates by teachers and students alike are poor, and schools are very inadequately resourced. These conditions mean that in rural Nepal today, many children do not attend primary school regularly and less than half of the children enrolled in primary school go on to complete secondary school.
The TTQE program aims to reduce poverty and provide livelihood opportunities through a number of key objectives focused on ensuring that disadvantaged communities in the Lower Solu Khumbu receive a quality education. These are:
- Improved teacher and student attendance
- Increased female enrolment rates
- Reduced dropout rates
- Improved literacy rates
- Enhanced community support for primary education
- Development of child centered teacher-training methods
- Provision of appropriate teaching materials and critical school supplies
- Sustainability of the program by ensuring that key teachers are identified and trained for ongoing classroom support and training throughout the region
Key Project Outcomes
In the year 2016-17, we trained 1417 teachers with 76% of teachers attending the training this financial year. We also provided teaching and learning materials to 215 different schools in the remote Solukhumbu region. The program saw an increase in retention of children in schools with 93.8% of children retained in 2016-17.
During the year the following training was delivered:
- Four ten-day basic level teacher training workshops attended by 439 teachers at Salyan, Necha, Kerung and Chaulakharka. Facilitated by REED trainers and qualified teacher-volunteers from Australia and New Zealand, this training incorporated generic teaching, subject-specific teaching as well as peer to peer teaching by key teachers through shared experiences.
- Another six-day basic level teacher training attended by 77 teachers from Basa, Sotang and Bung with the intent to enhance classroom management skills and use local resources to develop teaching materials
- A six-day refresher training on subject content and teaching strategies attended by 253 teachers in three locations across Nele province.
During the year, we focused on a number of key areas to strengthen the Teacher Training and Quality Education program and its educational outcomes. These included:
- Increased interaction with school committees and parents: Community Orientation Programmes designed to increase community and parental involvement with a child’s education and workshops were held in local areas. Representatives from the School Monitoring Committees and Parent Teacher Associations were invited to attend, along with parents, teachers and student representatives from each school. The aim of these workshops was to increase community engagement with schools, highlight the principles of child-friendly education and provide guidelines and expectations around the work of these committees. Altogether 5,085 community members from 197 school communities participated in the programme.
- Active participation by Child Clubs: a one-day child protection program was held for 553 girls and 633 boys in 13 clusters of Solukhumbu aimed at raising awareness of child rights; another district child club one-day meeting held in Salleri was attended by 18 students. A child club talent show was also organised in four locations and 64 students showcased their talents in storytelling, recitation, dance, music, science, general knowledge and drawing, and each participant received a prize and certificate of participation.
- Application of new skills in teaching/learning activities: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) - A six-day ICT based training workshop was attended by 45 teachers from Basa and Sotang. This training aimed at enhancing the teaching/learning environment and teaching/learning outcomes through the use of ICT.
- Creative Arts - 65 teachers attended a five-day interactive training on creative arts at Basa, Bung and Sotang. The trained aimed to provide skills in the use of creative arts as a teaching tool as well as utilising local material to create art. Another six-day training was attended by 62 teachers in the three venues highlighting the use of local dance & music and creative writing in classroom activities.
- Increased collaboration amongst teachers: a new concept, Dynamic Learning Circle, was launched with the view to enhance collaboration amongst teachers through sharing of experiences and best practices. This year, the Dynamic Learning Circle was formed with 200 teachers in Salleri and Kharikhola. Additionally, some key teachers led training sessions independently and showed improvements in communication skills and the delivery of training.
- Monitoring and evaluation systems targeting underperforming schools and closely monitoring teachers to encourage better outcomes: in-school support continues to be an effective means of supporting implementation of the training. Trainers from our in-country partner REED visited 257 different schools in remote communities to observe the training in-school and provide valuable feedback and ongoing support.
- A new intervention, Learning Achievement Promotion Plan (LAPP), was launched to evaluate and acknowledge the performance of teachers and school management committees across 283 schools in 5 regions of Solukhumbu with the aim to encourage better performance in the next academic year.
- In line with AHF policy and principles, we provided training for REED trainers and local teachers in gender equality and inclusion, responding to the needs of children with a disability and in safeguarding the program from fraud and corruption.
As we look to the year ahead, we will continue to focus on our priority areas of social inclusion, special needs and disability awareness, early literacy development and a whole of community approach to child-centred education.
Part of a Larger Program
The TTQE program now operates in every single district and reaches every single school in the lower Solukhumbu region. This achievement is part of a fifteen-year vision the AHF has for the region - one aimed squarely at improving the quality of and the access to a life changing education.
One of only two teacher training programs formally accredited by the Nepal Department of Education, the fifteen-year old TTQE program has been described as one of the most comprehensive training programs undertaken in rural Nepal. The program aims to help over 42,000 children and 1,700 teachers in over 300 schools resulting in:
- Increased primary school attendance
- Increased girls' enrolment rates
- Increased retention rates of students through to secondary school
We are extremely proud to have reached such outcomes with the support of World Nomads and The Footprints Network. Your assistance has made these achievements possible, and we are immensely grateful for such a partnership.