Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

Vacancy at British Council Nepal: Project Manager (English and Digital for Girls’ Education in VSO’s Sisters for Sisters Project) and Training Consultant

British Council Nepal has published an advert for calling applications for the 4 years position as Project Manager (component: English and Digital for Girls Education) in the 'Sisters for Sisters Project'.

This position is a part of the wider English team, reporting to Head of Programmes Nepal. In year 1 and 2 there will be significant collaboration with the English (and wider Education) programme manager and officer, working on both English for Education Systems (EES) and Face to Face training projects.  However, years 3 and 4 will be primarily focused on managing the EDGE team and liaising with the following other roles: Project director, Finance manager, Project officer, HR officer, IT officer, Academic Consultant and Quality assessor. The EDGE component is allocated as follows over the 4 years: Yr 1: 25%; Yr 2 :50%; Yr 3&4 : 100%)   (Source: British Council)



For more details please click here.
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Call for Nominations for 6th P.P. Prasai 'Best Teacher Award 2017'

Like every years, this year also the PP Prasai Foundation has published call for application for 'Best Teacher Award 2017'. 

This year, the interested teacher has to submit recommendations from school management committee (SMC), Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), and a teacher/student. With the application the interested teacher has to provide personal details and professional details including details on educational training.

The best teacher at the national level will be evaluated with the information provided by the particular teacher for 9 questions about the best approaches, alignments and qualities deemed to that particular teacher. The 7 provincial best teachers will also be decided upon applications from 7 provinces, and the respective schools will be benefited with allowances and 2 'disadvantaged-scholarships' for each.

The Nepali version of the notice published by the PP Prasai Foundation follows.


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Internship Opportunity with OLE Nepal

OLE Nepal has been a popular organisation; esp. those who have been keeping updates about technology interventions for quality education. Terminology - ICT in education makes its genuine presence in rural Nepalese schools with this organisation and its ever innovative team.

If you are deeply passionate with such profession where you will contribute to educational development with a tech-savvy team, you are reading the right opportunity for you.

In their own words - "OLE Nepal offers internships to young students and graduates who wish to be part of our movement to bring quality education to all children in Nepal. The internship program also gives an excellent opportunity to participate in various open source projects. OLE Nepal is looking for 2 interns for the duration of 6 months. The positions will give college students or recent graduates a chance to work alongside our E-Paath content design and development team in our most important project. The two internships currently available are with the Content Design and Graphic Design teams." (Source: http://www.olenepal.org/internship/)

More Details: http://www.olenepal.org/internship/
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6 Starting Points for Place-based Learning

- Dr. Bernard Bull

“As you stroll down the halls of your neighborhood school at nine o’clock on a Wednesday morning, you notice that something is different. Many of the classrooms are empty; the students are not in their places with bright, shiny faces. Where are they? In the town woodlot, a forester teaches tenth graders to determine which trees should be marked for an upcoming thinning project. Downtown, a group of middle school students are collecting water samples in an urban stream to determine if there’s enough dissolved oxygen to support reintroduced trout. Out through the windows, you can see children sitting on benches writing poems. Down the way, a group of students works with a landscape architect and the math teacher to create a map that will be used to plan the schoolyard garden. Here’s a classroom with students. In it, eighth graders are working with second graders to teach them about the history of the local Cambodian community. In the cafeteria, the city solid-waste manager is consulting with a group of fifth graders and the school lunch staff to help them design the recycling and composting program. Students’ bright shiny faces are in diverse places in their schoolyards and communities.” – David Sobel in Place-Based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community


This opening paragraph comes from David Sobel’s 7-page overview of place-based learning, an educational philosophy that he helped popularize. Place-based education is an approach to teaching and learning that quite literally turns the community into the classroom. Some focus on learning that engages students in solving real problems in the community, but others just focus on the idea of place.

Oftentimes, educators begin their task of teaching a group of students by accepting the restraints of a given physical room. On occasion, the teacher might plan a field trip or even a series of outings. Yet, the classroom is still seen as the base and primary learning center. Teachers and students often design classrooms in wonderfully diverse and creative ways. Yet, the classroom is still the hub. Place-based learning is an approach that challenges that assumption. It begins with letting go of this dominant and age-old premise that most teaching and learning happens or should happen in a classroom.

Instead, a place-based learning philosophy begins with a couple of simple questions. What places in this community or the nearby community would create rich opportunities for student learning about a given topic or subject? What new possibilities for teaching and learning a given subject or topic emerge if we consider the entire community to be our physical classroom?

The moment that we allow ourselves to ask such questions, wonderful things start to happen. We find ourselves able to imagine new and promising opportunities for teaching and learning. We begin to think about the partnerships that might be needed or possible in other parts of the community. We rarely find ourselves focused upon a more narrow set of approaches to teaching and learning. In addition, we gravitate toward learning through service, projects, experiences, and any number of hands-on learning activities.

It is often amazing to see the power of reconsidering what we mean by space in learning contexts or to observe the change in attitude and mindset of teachers and students when we change locations. You can find a professor who persistently turns to lecture as the dominant form of teaching in a classroom suddenly become more of a tour guide who invites students to explore. We find teachers begin to think about learning through experiments and projects who previously leaned on textbooks and worksheets. As one article referenced by Sobel describes it, place-based learning allows us to imagine learning contexts where the river becomes the textbook. The place is not just a box with walls, windows, doors, and desks. The place is an intentional and thematic part of the learning experience.

Place-based learning is a philosophy that creates greater alignment between place and curriculum. It is one thing to study nature in a textbook. It is a completely different one to let the forest become at least a large part of the learning experience. We can sit in a social studies class and talk about social challenges, or we can actually engage in activities in the community we learners seek to understand the challenges firsthand, brainstorm solutions, create interventions, and test them out. We can complete math problems in a classroom or we can solve math problems in the community or experience math at work through architecture, the natural world, and much more. This is the spirit of place-based learning.

While there are schools that have made place-based learning a central part of pretty much everything that they do, even a single teacher in a traditional school can begin to tap into this power and possibility. It just takes a little creativity, preparation, and persistence.

Here are six helpful starting points.

  1. Consider the possibilities – This begins with simply refusing to accept the physical classroom as an unchangeable constant. Start to look around for possibilities in the community that might align with the curriculum.
  2. Think Beyond the Field Trip – Don’t just think about one-day trips. Those can be rich and valuable but stretch yourself to actually think of the community and specific places or organizations as your classroom, not just a brief reprieve from the traditional school room.
  3. Start to Build a Network in the Community – Begin by reaching out to various groups and people in the community who own or work in places that align with the curriculum. Reach out to these people. Share a bit of what you are trying to do. Invite them to serve as partners. Brainstorm with them.
  4. Learn from Others Who Have Done It – The web is full of teachers and schools that promote or embrace place-based learning. Reach out to the people and organizations with your questions. Learn from their challenges and successes. Get their input on your ideas and refine from there. Your community and resources will likely be different from their community and resources, but there are often transferable lessons.
  5. Get Internal Support – You obviously can’t just throw the students in a bus and take off. There are usually policies and the like to work through. This might mean building a case with certain leaders. Be ready to address concerns about safety and cost. Both can be addressed, especially if you have some good partners.
  6. Give it a Try – Once you have the place, connections, feedback and internal support; give it a try. Invite students and other colleagues into the experiment, and treat it as that…and experiment. Learn from what works and what does not, then refine the next attempt based on what you learn.
Place-based learning is not new, but it is gaining traction. The more we begin to accept the idea that the classroom need not be four walls with desks, the more we begin to imagine a new and incredible breadth of teaching and learning opportunites. Place-based learning can help us do that.

 ..........
Dr. Bernard Bull is a University professor, Assistant VP of Academics, Chief Innovation Officer, founder of Birdhouse Learning Labs, author, blogger at www.etale.org, and host of the MoonshotEduShow Podcast. 
This article has been reposted here upon consent from Dr. Bull; which has been originally posted on  http://etale.org/main/2016/10/11/the-affordances-limitations-of-place-based-learning/.
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Urban Environmental Education - 8-week online course (April 10–June 4, 2017)

Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab has announced another round of  8 weeks online course - Urban Environment Education.

The course has three payment options - you sponsor yourself and another who cannot afford. you sponsor yourself, and you cannot sponsor yourself owing to fact that you are from very low income country.

During the times of detachment of urban young ones and the nature, we have the highest of the need and here the opportunity to make ourselves prepared to connect them and join in the movement of sustainability.

More Details: https://civicecology.org/course-uee/
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The negative impact of poverty on a child’s education

Poverty is a global issue, so it can be a development issue in the least developed countries and developing countries. Poverty, in general is scarcity, dearth or the condition of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is a multi-faceted concept, which entails social, economic, and political elements. According to the latest study conducted by Asian Development Bank, in Nepal 25.2% of the population lives below the national poverty line. Over the past decades, unfortunately, the economic gap has widened between Nepalese families. Educational outcomes are always influenced by family incomes. Despite the existence of the organizations working for poverty alleviation in Nepal, poverty has remained a stubborn fact of life. The Ministry of Co-operatives and Poverty Alleviation was established on 18 May 2012 by Nepal Government with a vision to prioritize co-operative sector and poverty alleviation, foreseeing the growth of cooperative sector in the nation, citizens’ curiosity and the world co-operative movement.

It is evident that socioeconomic disadvantage has a negative impact on the life outcomes of many Nepalese children. There are countless areas influenced by poverty. This write-up just lays emphasis on the impact of poverty on a child’s educational outcomes. Children from low-income family backgrounds often start school already behind their age-mates who come from more affluent families. School readiness reflects an individual child’s ability to excel at both academics and social life in a school environment. For holistic development of a child, physical well-being and appropriate motor development, emotional health and a positive approach to new experiences, age, appropriate social knowledge and cognitive skills are a must. It is proved that poverty decreases a child’s readiness for school through aspects of health, family life, schooling and neighborhoods.

 A child’s home has a particularly strong impact on school readiness. Children from low income families often don’t get motivated and show willingness to learn the social skills required to prepare them for school. The children who are raised in poverty-stricken family usually lack parental care, inspiration, and supervision. A report by Thomas concluded that children from lower income score significantly lower on measures of vocabulary and communication skills, knowledge of numbers, copying and symbol use, ability to concentrate and cooperatively play with other children than those who come from higher income families. Moreover, study by the Institute of Research and Public Policy (Montreal, Quebec) showed that differences between students from low and high economic neighbourhoods were evident by grade 3; children from low socioeconomic neighbourhoods were less likely to pass a grade 3 standard test.

 In Nepal, poor schoolchildren are forced to go to work do the worst jobs or risky jobs to support their family financially. They don’t go to school regularly; as a result, their academic performance is obviously declined. On the one hand, they miss lessons at school, and on the other hand, they aren’t able to afford to pay tuition fees of extra classes. When they are present at school, they are unlikely to be attentive due to their tired body as well as hopeless mindset. They are to rather think that their future is bleak. They are filled with pessimism. They feel inferior complexity.

 Another thing that adds to their woes is feud. A feud between a husband and a wife in poor family set-ups is common. When a child’s parents get into arguments frequently at night, the child tends to leave home forever. Leaving home means leaving school too. Not only this much, when a father and a mother quarrel over trivial matters, the father is likely to exert his anger on their children by tearing away their textbooks, notebooks and throwing away bags and stationery. When children are mature enough to understand their family condition, they will shift their attention from studies to employment. Another example, some parents agree to send their children to relatives’ or acquaintances’ homes to work as a domestic worker on condition that they take responsibility for the child’s education and accommodation. But only a handful of them turn out to be committed.
Even if children attend classes regularly, they fall behind their classmates in terms of presentation, English speaking skills, and mathematics because their parents cannot provide them with materials to carry out school projects, and hone all four skills of English; and self-practice materials for Math. Apart from these, such children are deprived of everyday access to newspapers and the Internet. They fail to keep abreast of current affairs or global news. A lack of these sources prevents poor children from outdoing other competitors in the academic field. According to this year’s SLC results, most of the students who failed SLC examination were from government schools; and the cause of such a poor result, doubtlessly, can be associated with low economic status.

Even if the children are very talented, he or she cannot perform up to the mark at school due to parents’ demotivation and unawareness. Instead of boosting up their morale by at least keeping promises, parents demoralize and discourage them assigning their economic circumstances. Parents aren’t aware of the real stories of those great personages who overcame economic, social and physical hurdles and difficulties to rise. Poverty also leads to discrimination and failure of grasping opportunities. Many poor parents are not conscious of benefits they are entitled to reap for their wards at school. The very sorry thing is that poor parents don’t show up at the PTMs (Parent-Teacher Meetings) to question teachers or schools about their offspring’s education, attendance and participation in extra-curricular activities.

Poor parents, unlike well-to-do cum educated parents, offer counseling, inquire into their necessities and sit with them to help them with their difficult homework and prepare for their exams. Furthermore, poor parents fail to inculcate good culture in their children. Consequently, they tend to be disruptive, rowdy and impulsive. In the end, they get expelled from their school. Parents, to an extent, are responsible for misconduct and mischief of a child.

The children raised in poor families cannot benefit from higher level of cognitively stimulating materials available in their homes compared to those children raised in the wealthy families. Owing to poverty, children ought to go to a low quality school where their talents are neither searched out nor nurtured. Besides, financial strain limits the housing and neighbourhood choices available to low-income families, forcing them to live in neighbourhoods characterized by high levels of crime and unemployment, low levels of resources, and a lack of collective efficacy among the residents. Children get brainwashed into having engaged in anti-social activities at the prospect of earning money rather than getting an education. Neighborhood residence, in turn, is associated with child and adolescent school outcomes above and beyond the effect of family poverty.

In a nutshell, government has to launch awareness programs, educate all citizens and create as many fair employment opportunities as possible to raise each family’s living standards at a fast pace.
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Tallinn—An Unheard City on Earth

If I am not mistaken, there’s no human being who dislikes travelling. Not only does travelling expand our horizon but also relieves us of our boredom. So, the culture of travelling in the form of vacation is on the rise. Moreover, the question relating to travelling during a job interview or a speaking test of IELTS, TOEFL et cetera has been common.

 I’ve recently visited Tallinn, capital of Estonia to present my research paper at an international conference on the theme ‘Empowering Tomorrow’s Teachers’. Since it’s my second travel on the European soil after the UK, I was not that anxious and excited.


Tallinn sits on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, just 83 km south of Helsinki. The city shares a geographical latitude nearly identical with Stockholm (Sweden). This’s a green city, proudly boasting 40km2 of parks and forests with a 2km stretch of sandy beach bordering its bay. If you’re not prone to seasickness, Tallinn is the best holiday destination for you; for it’s a popular cruise destination bringing nearly 500 000 passengers to the town each—more than there are citizens in the city. Thanks to its small size and compact layout, Tallinn is extremely easy to get around.

I spent my first day at the new, modern Nordic Hotel Forum four-star business and conference hotel, which is situated in the heart of Tallinn on Viru Square, just a short stroll from business, shopping and entertainment venues. I was treated to breathtaking views of the sea, old Town and city centre from the terraces of the hotel, which is one of the country’s skyscrapers. My travel started from Town Hall Square, which has been the undisputed hub of Old Town since Medieval times. Historically, it served as a market and meeting place, and was the site of at least one execution resulting from a dispute over a bad omelette. This old town is a must-visit place. The second place I visit is St. Olav’s Church, which, in Medieval times, with its 159m spire was thought to be the tallest building in the world. Nowadays, it just remains as an important symbol of the town.

The third place I visited is Toompea Castle, a wooden fortress built on Toompea Hill sometime in the 10th or 11th century, was probably the first structure in what later became Tallinn. Foreign invaders replaced it with a stone building in 1227-29. Since its early days, the castle has served as the local seat of power for any empire ruling Estonia. In addition to these places, I visited Great Guild Hall, Tallinn City Museaum, Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin et cetera. Due to time constraints and hectic schedule with international delegates, I couldn’t explore Tallinn to the fullest. Anyway, on the night before my flight back; I along with some high-profile delegates went for dining out and chilling out. We had traditional Estonian cuisine that includes Germanic, Scandinavian and Slavic and some most known dishes include sauerkraut, jellied pork, marinated eel, herring etc. The local signature drink is Vana Tallinn, a sweet liqueur. It’s weekend. Most bustling restaurants were packed. The more noticeable thing was that we had difficulty in finding a table to sit at and watching live football matches in a friendly pub, sipping cognac.

I explored pubs and restaurants on the last night of my stay. I had to do shopping in a hasty way on the day of my flight. I tried my hand at a shopping mall for souvenirs to take back home. Euros and local currencies are used there.

 Tallinn, a hidden paradise, is a fantastic place to experience each of the four seasons in all its glory. It’s a short stay, however, it; on the whole, was satisfactory. It really enriched my understanding of western lifestyle, and inspired me to appreciate the monuments, city’s structure, architectural remnant, a fairytale neighbourhood of gabled houses, Gothic spires, cobblestone streets, artwork, history, craft, and so on. While at home, I thoroughly felt rejuvenated.
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