Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

Saturday, 15 February 2014

In Pursuit of 'International School Award' !

I had been sparing my time (apart from daily work and home schedule) to write this blog since 15th Feb 2014. So, to get focused on other priorities, the blog was intentionally concluded on 11th March 2014. 

April 2013 was the month that started with some awesome communications with the teachers from India and Sri Lanka. I was aware that those teachers got my email address through the British Council and they needed to work with our school to complete number of successful collaborative projects that enhances global education within their existing curricular framework. I promised them to be part of such projects and acknowledged that they were part of British Council - International School Award (ISA).

Later that month, British Council - Nepal also called applications for Nepalese schools (who are doing global exchanges) for International School Award. In May 2013, I applied on behalf of the school where I work and got selected for this competition in June 2013. Selected schools had to attend ISA Orientation workshop in Kathmandu. Till that date, our school (school board of management) was not 'that aware' about what I had been doing at the school since 2010. Our school's primary section was linked just with a school in the UK. The workshop guided the selected '21 schools' for achieving ISA and set some criteria for it. What I liked the most was - the competition was not among selected 21 schools but was against the challenges that would come across while planning, implementing and reviewing the ISA projects. We got opportunity to visit a school who won ISA in 2013.

An art project with a school in India:
a successful example of a teacher's enthusiasm in ISA 
We had to complete 8 mandatory projects and I planned 10 projects along with duscussion with ECA (Extra Curricular Activities) coordinator, who was much busy and I needed more from him. I planned just with him because other teachers were 'almost not familiar' to 'global education'. Hence, the school formally delegated extra responsibility for me as ISA Coordinator with no extra allowance. I was not in comfortable position to take the extra role but I had to, and I did. Other teachers slowly began to show interest to 'ISA Projects' that made me more enthusiastic. School asked other teachers to get involved in ISA projects from their efforts and almost all of them seemed supportive. The planned projects would have three basic dimensions and some other essential criteria: collaboration, curriculum, international partners (3 basic dimensions), wider school-parents-community involvement, use of ICT, online teacher development training, recognition from local educational authority, online projects, institutional school-community school partnership, local curriculum and more (essential criteria). Since then, we have been in the ISA journey and I have some experiences that is almost very necessary to share !

Partnership between
Community School and Private (Institutional) School

 - My School and a State Funded School playing volleyball
1) Being teacher in Institutional School vs. Community School in Nepal: Teachers in institutional schools are said to be 'underpaid' as somebody compares the salary of them with that enjoyed by the teachers in community schools (state funded schools). Being teacher in community school, one has to be 'political' right from recruitment till 'sustaining job'. I came across many types of such sayings during series of workshops and almost all of them were much supportive to each other. I had been wishing corrections in bad cases of teachers' concerns at both types of schools.

2) Schools in Kathmandu and Pokhara vs. Schools in other parts of the country: Schools in Kathmandu, Pokhara, other major cities enjoyed internet (Pokhara schools would ask overseas tourists visit their schools and ask to put international dimensions in their in-country projects) and did not need to worry in completing online projects. Schools in other parts of the country lacked competent resources for ISA coordinators and teachers involved.

3) Female participation: Almost 95 per cent of the ISA Coordinators from the selected Nepalese schools were male. Even in those schools where ISA projects had been launched, female teachers were (informally) reported to be passive stakeholders. This situation was opposite in case of schools from the UK, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and other countries who came across us. I am not sure about the gorund cause for this. However, it could be very urgent that Nepalese female professional teachers should be more empowered.

4) Working in a big school with additional responsibility: The school where I teach has more than 1100 pupils till grade 10. I have to teach regular classes (in higher grades) and coordinate the ISA activities. So, I should run across the neighborhood where several buildings of the school are located. It was very difficult task to involve all students of all classes in the projects which was not possible. I could not follow up regularly with the kids and teachers and I am seeing the problems. Students may forget the names of partner schools and names of the projects; however remember what they learned from the collaborative projects.
Some, teachers follow up by themselves and I found much difficult to make few teachers do the projects with the kids and follow up. However, I keep on saying 'If you work on this, it will open doors to more opportunities for you'. And it is being proved, because our school's management board regularly asks me names of the active teachers for CPD (continuous professional development) opportunities of the teachers. Gradually the scene is changing; according to my experience, they have been rethinking on embedding global dimension in their teaching learning activities.

5) Intercultural learning?: More recently, some teachers from our school and our UK-partner school got opportunity to visit each other's school and do/plan some intercultural projects. We had heard that some schools in the UK prioritise intercultural learning in their school curricula. But, our expectations are yet to be met from our partner school.

We have now learned that projects should be democratically decided so that both schools  take ownership to the projects; and after all, pupils will be benefited and they will become global citizens as expected.

If a teacher shows evidence of what their students learned from their partner school,  then the partner school will be much encouraged to keep the link on regardless of the visit funds.They will even be able to deal with constraints like lack of ICT facility.

These school link psychologies should be well understood.

6) Leadership: My philosophy: a gatekeeper and his boss are equal leaders. Of course they have differences in duties, academic qualifications, salaries, knowledge, skills, positions and others. However, they should respect each other. If the boss puts hand forward for hand shake, he won't be stared at; I won't do so.

A true leader keeps record of achievements/initiatives by him/her and his/her staff. S/he applauds and encourages others by mentioning the example.

Teachers should believe in joint leadership, regardless the grades that s/he teaches. If they have to learn and develop their competence, they should have such attitude. They learn from each other and help each other in their professions.

Too many feedback forms were printed;
these are few among those.
7) Resource Consuming: The ISA project was not that much resource consuming because we had planned the projects to be completed at low cost and if possible at no cost. However, the feedback forms to be printed was too much for me. I just don't want to print more and more papers.

8) Concluding the blog ... : I must conclude this blog and begin to share the feedback forms with the link schools (international and in-country). I should also collect evidences for the dossier to be submitted to the British Council for evaluation of the projects. And of course, keep ISA Board in each school buildings to help children recall the ISA projects (activities, partner school's names, project titles and more) to overcome the problems mentioned earlier.

PS: As an web reference for enthusiastic followers of this blog, I have shared here with the external links so that the readers can implement such initiatives of global learning in their classes and schools.

1) Eco Club Garage Sale (

>> Project 'Waste not Waste' of St. Anthony's Girls' College: We linked our two projects with this: a) Eco Club Garage Sale b) Pre Voc: Paper Work and Reuse Work.

2) Reusing Papers to Create Paper Board

3) Let us not waste PET bottles !

4) Fun with Native Games (game played upon request of other schools)

5) Our Schools : a project

6) School WASH Collaboration: a sanitation project

7) I am learning about your country! : not so successful project

8) Reporting 'Magic of Colours of the World' - an early school project on art (Nepal and India)

9) Final Multimedia: Sri Sri Academy's children learning colour names in 'Nepali'

10) School Measurement Collaboration : measuring rainfall in partner schools and  Blog from Partner Teacher on this Project

11) Soil Sustainability and Economy : collaboration with Indian School

12) Saving Food Project, Paper And Reuse/Recycle Work (and visits) with UK's school

13) Blog Writing Competition on 'Rights and Responsibilities of a Student' : a very successful project

14) Friendly volleyball match with in-country school and presentations : a much successful project

Dipesh Dulal
ISA Coordinator
Chelsea International Academy
Kathmandu, Nepal

Friday, 14 February 2014

Importance of Water Resources Management in Nepal

Mr. Subash Duwadi, Environmental Services Professional   

Out of the basic conditions for life on earth the availability of the water is must. Water like air bounded up with man evolution. Besides, existence of human life and activities. Water is also essential for the quality of life and environment. Man’s habit and activities in all walk of the existence and form of social organizations are influenced more by the close association with water rather than other natural resources. The ancient civilization developed only along river banks when water was readily exploitable. Rivers, lakes and oceans greatly facilitated the worldwide spread of the population and commerce, springs, Waterfall, glaciers, and snow fields’ offers variety of attraction for tourist. Water has various uses in human life.  For example, the weight of water help in running out hydro-electric turbines, the density of water help in floating ships, boat while the energy of water ( when heated) provides stream for running locomotive and turbines and to warm our dwelling unit as well. Besides it provides irrigation to grow vegetation. By virtue of this, water may consider as the most helpful servant of the mankind and consequently, the most significant resources of society.

About 97% of the total available water on earth is contained in ocean and hence saline in nature. Out of the balance 3% which is available as fresh water about 2% is contained in ice inaccessible region and 0.75% as ground water. Out of remaining 0.25%, only about 0.01% is available in lakes and rivers at any given time and the rest occurs as glaciers and snow.The total water contained in the atmosphere is still less and is of the order of 0.001% of the total available water. Therefore the surface water which can be readily utilized by the society is very small.  Even the surface runoff that flows in the river of the world mostly goes wasted since it flows down to the ocean in absence of the proper storage for the source. It is estimated that about 96% of the total annual surface runoff goes and join the sea and is thus not to put any worthwhile use. This large scale wastage of the surface water flow is done true in Nepal because out of 225 billion cubic meter of annual surface flow, only 2% is utilized in our country and the rest drain down to Indian plain passes through the large Gangetic plains of India and enters Bangladesh before it finds drain down to the Bay of Bengal and join the sea.
On the other hand, acute water shortage is being felt in several part of the country. It is therefore imperative to develop additional storage in the country to reduce this wastage to as low as possible.
Since, demand of the water is continuously increasing, but the availability of the water remains the same. Due to this continuous increasing demand, the water is bound to become shortage. Hence in order to ensure that, this great resources of humanity, continues to fulfill our demands for all times, it is absolutely essential to maintain, conserve and use it very carefully. 

Nepal consists of about 80% of the mountainous area. The rest being plains and lowland. It consists of the three roughly parallel strips.
1) Northern Region of the high mountains 
2) Central Region 
3) Southern Region of Terai 

Nepal is under the general influence of the sub- continental climatic pattern. It has two distinct seasons. The summer- monsoon season and the dry winter season. The summer- monsoon season which lasts from the June/July to September/October brings about the 90% of the total rainfall. The winter rains account for about 10% of the total rainfall. The average annual precipitation of Nepal is about 1516 mm. The precipitation varies from 210 mm in Jomsom in Mustang district which is a dry region to about 5460 mm (1974) in the wet region of Pokhara. There are different water resources in Nepal. They are as follows. 

a) Surface Water 
Precipitation that doesn't soak into the ground or return to the atmosphere by evaporation or the transportation is called surface water. It forms streams, lakes, wetlands, and artificial reservoirs. Hence the source of the surface water is from river runoff and the floods. Depending on their sources of the dry - season discharge, the river of Nepal are of three grades. The first grade river are the Karnali, Narayani and the Sapta Koshi along with same of their tributaries, having their sources in the snow and glaciers in the Himalayan Region.

b) Ground Water   
Some precipitation infiltrates the ground and fills the pores in soil and the rock. The subsurface area where all available soil and the rock spaces are filled by the water is called the zone of the saturation and the water in these pores is called ground water. Although ground water resources are still under investigation, so far the most prospective sites of the ground water resources lying mostly in the Terai and in some mountainous valleys as well. For drinking and other purposes people have made wells static water tables of the aquifers lie normally between 3 $ 10 m from the ground surface in the eastern and Central Terai with yield between 100 $ 300 m3/hr.

c)  Lakes, Spouts and Hot Springs
There are innumerable lakes and ponds, covering about 2% of the total runoff. Most of the oxbow lakes, are found in Terai. There are several hot springs known as " Tatapani" and similarly hot suppurated water exists about 1KM south of kodari check post in Sunkoshi valley. In Janakpur also there are three hot springs containing sodium, potassium, sulphate, carbonate and chlorine ions.

There are about 6000 rivers in Nepal. 1000 of which are more than 11 kms long and about 100 of them are longer than 160 kms. The total length of all streams and rivulets exceeds 45,000 km. Thus the drainage density expressing closeness of spacing of channels is approximately 0.3 km per sq km. It is expected that for the next couple of decades this natural water resources particularly during the rainy season will not change. Moreover, the mountainous terrain along with the summer monsoon produces disastrous flood in Nepal. However, the resources may decrease substantially during the winter and springs months due to less precipitation. The water use during dry period, is extensive and unqualified and makes it difficult to establish a relationship between rainfall and runoff. Water is mainly used in Nepal for the agricultural domestic, industrial and the commercial purposes. Uses of the withdrawn water vary from one region to another.

Agriculture:  About 80% of the people in Nepal are engaged in Agriculture. So Nepal is at present principally on agricultural country. However agricultural land is decreasing day by day. There are primarily two types of irrigation system; the farmer's system and the government system.Most government systems have permanent intake sites with operational facilities, whereas farmer's systems have temporary diversions which they repair, if damaged much irrigation water is wasted 70-80% of the water either evaporates or seeps into the ground before reaching crops. In cities, the pattern water use in changing with the greatest amount of  the water being used b urban consumers rather than agriculture. While agricultural use puts seasonal demands are constant throughout the year. Thus as land use in transformed from agriculture to urban use, water distribution becomes more complex and increasingly hard to manage. From different analysis it has been found that the only avenue which can generate immediate impact on the economy of Nepal is the irrigation.

Domestic Use: Surface water, ground water and spouts supply water for domestic use. The major sources of water for drinking and the domestic use is surface water. Water withdrawal for the industrial use and the energy production is lowest in Nepal. As population, urbanization and the industrialization grow, the volume of waste needing treatment will increase enormously. Water resources along with brings several problems like 

Freshwater Shortage: During winter and spring season (October to May) there is not much precipitation so scarcity of water occurs. Water stress occurs because a combination of the dry climate occasional drought, poverty, rapid population growth and land degradation interact in a positive feedback loop. Due to the shortage of water problem, in drinking water, for domestic use, for the irrigation, fisheries hydro power, industrial work, infrastructure development and ultimately affected the human existence. 

Water in Excess: Nepal gets most of precipitation falls in the monsoon season between June and September. This prolonged downpour water logs  soils, leaches, soil nutrients, washes away top soil & crops & causes flowing water to over flow its normal channel & flood the adjacent flood plain. The people of Terai and Mountainous always facing the floods and landslides respectively during monsoon. The recent monsoon flooded most part of Terai and causes loss of many lives and property.

Water Pollution: The activities like discharging domestic sewage & sludge, industrial effluents, agricultural chemicals and the solid wastes, encroaching riverbank for illegal settings, pig farming, vehicle repair and slaughter of animals, all these contribute to the pollution of water resources and poor water quality. Consequently people suffer from different types of diseases.. To utilize the natural resources for the maximum benefit of the human being it is essential that proper man agement of the natural resources be made. One way to manage water resources is to increase the supply in a particular area by building dams & reservoirs, bringing in surface water form another area or tapping ground water. Another approach is to improve the efficiency of the water use.

Solutions for Supplying more water Constructing Dams and Reservoirs: Huge  dams and reservoirs have benefits & drawback, water from rain & melting snow can be captured and stand in large reservoirs created by daming streams. This water can then be released to produce hydro electric power at the dam site, to irrigate land and to provide water carried to towns and to provide water carried to towns and the cities by the aqueducts. Reservoirs are also can be used for the recreation activities such as swimming, fishing, boating.

Tapping Groundwater: Groundwater should be tapped for the solving water problems. Ways to slow groundwater depletion include controlling population growth, not planting water- thirsty crops in dry areas, developing crops strains that require less water & wasting less irrigation water. 

Solutions: 1) Reducing Irrigation losses 2) Wasting less water in Industry 3) Wasting less water in homes and business.

Though water is supported to be the most abundant natural resources of Nepal, a state of  un management will lead to mis- utilizationof resources. More or less many National and International institutions are presently involved directly or in directly in developing, preserving and using water resources. The institutions are metropolitan and sub- metropolitan authorities, The Ministry of  Water Resources, Housing and Physical Planning, Forestry and social conservation, Industry, Transport, Local Development  and  Agriculture are responsible for managing and supplying water in the country. There are many International organizations involved in water supply, water quality monitoring and quality maintenance some of which are UNICEF, HELVETAS, FINNIDA, JICA, WHO, World Bank, and ADB. However the mandates responsibilities and authorities of these institutions overlap and lack coordination.

Though Nepal is blessed by abundant water resources, proper management and utilization haven't been done yet. Management will include access, control, distribution and conservation of the resources.

Assessment of Resources




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