Shree Keulethana Basic School has total of 133 children attending school (73 male and 60 female students).There are seven teachers of which three are funded by the government, one supported by HELP and three are privately funded through the local community. The school runs classes from grade 1 through to grade 5. The children are aged 3- 15. The people in the village place high value in education, which can be reflected in many students attending the school with lot of energy and enthusiasm and their keenness to learn in their classrooms, despite poverty and scarcity.
The classes operate from 10 AM to 4 PM with an hour of lunch break and each subject period is of 45 minutes.
NOTE: Following the devastating earthquakes in April and May in 2015, several of our partner schools including Keulethana 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 Keulethaana is one of them. Prior to the earthquake HELP had been providing support under many headings to the school, however, after the earthquake, HELP had supported the school for building eight Temporary Learning Centre classrooms.
Keulethana is one of the 15 schools HELP has signed an MoU with Department of Education and HELP is currently working on fundraisings to help build permanent classroom building for the school.
All the textbooks except (of course) English are in Nepali but the students are mostly instructed in Nepali.
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.
English- stories, poems, biography and similar texts and grammar
Social Studies- society-its issues and proposed solutions, geography, history, organizations.
Nepali- stories, poems, biographies, Nepali grammar and similar texts
The level of education of the children is quite low in contrast to what they need to know in their level. The children begin learning English directly with the alphabets and don't learn the phonetics so the ones in the smaller classes might find difficulties in understanding volunteers' English. Students in the same class belong to different ages and capabilities, which makes teaching difficult.
Very few students in grades 4 and 5 can write simple sentences, mostly memorized ones and often without understanding the meaning. The greatest contribution volunteers can make is through organizing classes in the form of conversations and introducing creative writing like poems (rather than just copying as normally happens).
Reading - can read the texts in their books with great difficulty and understanding is very limited.
Writing - very poor, the students can only manage to form some of the simplest sentences that too memorized ones from their books
Speaking - the pupils can speak a few words and are very likely to communicate in broken English. Your approach to speak to them encourages them to speak more.
Reading - can read the texts in their textbooks with frequent pauses
Writing - very few of the students can manage to write some of the simplest words- mostly memorized ones from their books
Speaking - their speaking abilities can range from speaking very few words to not speaking at all and the students are quite shy.
Teacher’s level of English: One of the teachers speaks average English. Your approach to speak with the teachers and correcting them during the process encourages them to speak more English.
Teachers construct questions and exercises from the textbooks. They have simple monthly tests and more important exams every 4 months.
All classrooms have whiteboards.
Resources for extra- curricular activities: Most of the time the school only has a single set of equipment for simple games like skipping, badminton, etc. so need constant addition. The playground is not fenced, so sports activities should be conducted very carefully.
The school has a regular drinking water supply and the school is planning to connect the school area with the facility.
The students enjoy drawing and colouring but most of the time, the school has limited stock of drawing papers and colours and so needs constant addition.
Extra-curricular resources: The outdoor games that can be played include- Football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, Frisbee, softball. Badminton, rings and skipping are popular among the girls.
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 every day to make sure the students are revising their lessons. Try making the students to take benefit of the environment they have. E.g. 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.
Gufa is a 5 hours steep uphill walk from Melamchipul Bazaar, a hub for the two valleys our partner schools are located in, reachable via a 4 hours bus journey from Kathmandu. The village is situated at roughly 2500m on a terraced hill. The area offers a very good view of some of the Himalayan peaks and villages on dozens of mountains that lie across the valleys in the district.
Gufa is inhabited by people from the Tamang community, whose history can be traced back to Tibet and who follow Buddhism, as well as some people from the Magar community, another ethnic minority who follow Hinduism. Despite cultural differences, the people from the two groups live in harmony. Most people practice subsistence farming and mainly grow maize, millet and barley in their farms. Although economically backward, the people 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.
Volunteers stay with a host family close to the school. There is a communal tap which you can use for washing (not for drinking though) and squat toilet outside the main building of the house. Volunteers are given a private room but may have to share with other volunteers. You will often see some children around, who love to come and join you in the mornings and evenings to play and chat.
Attend local social functions: Though the villagers have more social functions in the winter, they have fewer in the summer, as the people remain busy on their farms throughout the monsoon, which still feels like quite a lot.
Visit Okhreni- a village on the hill top and yak sheds around the village.
Although Gufa is quite far away from any other HELP partner schools, it is possible to visit volunteers in other partner schools if you start after school on Friday (a half day) and return back by the evening on Saturday. Sharing experiences through meeting fellow volunteers can help you provide a new perspective into teaching and general life of the local people.
Visit the top of the hill where a telecom tower is placed; offers a great view of the valleys on the other side.
HELP has been working with Gufa School since 2012, initially supporting the school with additional teachers and training and later in 2013 assisting the school with other major infrastructural works. The local community has remained very supportive of the ideas of improving educational quality. We believe that the support and encouragement of the community is vital for the sustainability and long-term development of the school.
Construction of 3 new classrooms prior to the quake
Books for setting up a mini library
Sports equipment support soon after which the school participated in the Himalayan Olympics.
Classrooms management through supporting classroom furniture, white boards and Notice boards and Nursery classroom management
Workshops and teachers training
Drinking water supply to the school
Drinking water supply
Construction of eight TLC rooms
Fleece distribution under winterisation
Library facility upgrading
(9808123735) - Ganesh Prasad Oli