Shree Narayani Basic School is a large community managed community school located in the village of Ichowk. The school has 343 students and 8 teachers- 6 of which are supported by the government and the rest of which are privately arranged by the local community and sponsorship from Mondo/HELP. The school runs from Grade 1 level to grade 8 including Kindergarten and Nursery, with students aged between 6 and 16. The classroom sizes are very large in the lower classes (around 80-100) and decrease in higher classes (around 10-20 ) as students drop out. The classrooms aren't well managed due to large class sizes and lack of furniture.
You will be expected to teach from 10 AM to 4 PM with a lunch break of an hour and each subject period lasts 45 minutes.
NOTE: Following the devastating earthquakes in April and May in 2015, several of our partner schools including Ichowk suffered major damage, which destroyed much of its infrastructure including classrooms, toilets and the playground, as well vital educational resources such as whiteboards, desks and benches. As quickly as possible after the quakes, we helped to build over 225 temporary classrooms across 45 schools of which Ichowk is one of them. The children are still studying inside TLC but HELP is currently working on helping build permanent classroom building for the school. Ichowk is one of the 15 schools HELP has signed an MoU with Department of Education and HELP is currently working on fundraising to help build permanent classrooms.
In classes up to grade 5, all the textbooks except Nepali are in English and in the higher classes, all the textbooks except English are in Nepali. But for all the subjects and classes, the children are mostly instructed in Nepali.
(Compulsory) Mathematics- arithmetic, algebra and geometry more significantly divided as you go to higher grades.
Science- basic ideas like living and non-living things, plants, etc. in junior classes while textbooks in senior classes have physics,chemistry,biology and astronomy.
English- stories, poems, biography and similar texts and grammar
Social Studies- society-its problems and solutions,geography,history,organizations
Symphony/Moral Science- stories with meaningful themes for the children
Nepali- stories, poems, biographies, Nepali grammar and similar texts
Environment (E), Population (P) and Health (H) - basics and inter-relation between E, P and H
Office Account- office processes, accounting and organization
Optional Maths- trigonometry, graphs and mathematical principles (more theoretical)
Reading - Good (can read the texts in their books but understanding is fairly limited)
Writing - Good (The students can write some well co-cordinated sentences, but mostly memorized ones from their textbooks, so actual understanding is fairly limited)
Speaking - Only very few students can communicate with volunteers; but especially in higher classes, students are more confident and try hard to speak
Reading- very few can read their textbooks with frequent pauses
Writing - Only very few can write simplest forms of correct sentences but mostly memorized ones from the books and understanding is fairly limited.
Speaking - Speaking ability is quite limited but the children aren't shy and like to try speaking
Teacher’s level of English: Some of the teachers speak good English and all the teachers can manage to communicate with you.
Exams: Teachers construct questions and exercises from the textbooks. They have simple monthly tests and more important exams every 4 months.
Colors and drawing paper available; but in limited stock so needs constant replacing/addition.
One or two computers
Table tennis board
Extra- curricular resources: The playground is right next to the TLC, which is not fenced. The outdoor games that can be played include- Football (gently), volleyball, badminton, table tennis, Frisbee, softball. Badminton, rings and skipping are popular among the girls.
All classrooms have whiteboards.
How to teach effectively: The school owns a textbook for each school subject. You can copy a list of topics from the textbooks that you feel you would like to teach using the materials you have brought and/or the techniques you have acquired and teach in your own way. This will give the local teachers an idea of how to teach rest of the chapters in the book in an interactive way. You can be an inspiration for the local teachers.
The children love doing homework, so keep giving them some creative homework that summarizes your lesson and that they can complete in the limited study time they have at home. Try encouraging the students to take benefit of their environment through activities such as herbarium, collection of wild fruits and flowers, etc. You can bring stickers that you can paste to the exercise books of students who do the best homework and class work. This really excites the students and the class environment hence inspiring them to learn properly and also to be disciplined.
Things that could make teaching easier for you: Card games for improving vocabulary and to teach sentence structures, teaching aids to help teach pronunciation (as most of the teachers learnt English pronunciation in a wrong way, the children learn it wrong as well. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to make the children’s basics of English up to date). White board markers would also be useful.
During the monsoon, Ichowk is a 2-3 hour uphill walk Chanaute Bazaar, which is 4-5 hours on a bus from Kathmandu. However, during the dry season, it might be possible to get to the village directly on a jeep (5 hours drive) on a newly extended road from Chanaute Bazaar. The village has a rainy summer (JUN-AUG), quite a cold winter (DEC-FEB) and warm sunny days during the remaining months. The village has sporadic electric power supply.
Volunteers live with the family of one of the HELP sponsored teachers, 15-20 minute walk from the school. Volunteers were usually given a private room but with destroyed houses, it will be under some kind of temporary housing to be shared with other volunteer/s who teach together. You will often see a lot of children around, who love to come and join you in the mornings and evenings, playing and chatting. The host family will provide three meals a day, typically consisting of rice, lentils and some sort of curry.
The village is mainly populated by the people from Tamang community, whose ancestral history can be traced back to Tibet, which can be seen by the presence of stupas, monuments and Buddhist prayer flags around the village. The village also has a small percentage of people from the marginalized Dalit blacksmith community who follow Hinduism. There are roughly 500 houses that lie in a cramped setting on a flat hill at around 2000m altitude with a total population of around 5000.The primary occupation of the villagers is farming and they mainly grow crops like potato, millet, maize, corn and beans.
Although economically poor, the people there have a rich cultural heritage and they love to share their hospitality, which one can experience by attending one of their occasional village festivals or by visiting their homes when invited.
Visit Chanaute- 2 hours downhill walk and meet fellow volunteers across HELP partner schools- Churetar, Dhundeni, Bhirkharka and Bhumeshwori
Hike upto Ghopteghyang- a flat piece of land on the top of the mountain that offers a magnificent view of the valleys underneath- 2 hours uphill walk
Visit Tartong- HELP partner school that lies 2 hours walk across Ichowk and meet fellow volunteers.
Megan Dance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Howdon: email@example.com
Ciara Rowland Simms: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ichowk was in the first batch of schools selected by HELP in 2009 and the community has remained very actively supportive to the ideas of improving education quality. In all the works we have done so far, the villagers have made encouraging contributions which we believe is important for sustainability and long term development of the school.
4 classroom building including 2 classrooms completed in 2014
2 additional teachers- 1 fully paid salary and a partial contribution to the other
Recently completed compound fencing
Drinking water supply and toilet building
Mini library facility
Science lab facility
Classroom management including desks and benches, whiteboards and noticeboards
Installation of solar panel to resume power
Building of 10 room TLC
Cell phone for teachers
Books for library
Music and sports equipment
Desks and benches
Fleece for half of the children during winter
Continued teacher salary funding
And currently working on Permanent School Building
Mr. Purna Pundi
Miss Aiti Tamang