Print Edition - 2015-06-02  |  Earthquake Relief

E-learning under the tents in Tundikhel

- DEWAN RAI, Kathmandu
E-learning under the tents in Tundikhel

Jun 1, 2015-

Twelve-year-old Sumina Balami fiddles with a green mini laptop, stares at the options menu and presses on the E-Paath (E-Lesson) icon with her little finger on a touch screen. And she is met with a screen featuring subject-specific and grade-specific learning materials. Then she goes to the Grade 5 section for the lesson for the day.

“I like learning here rather than going to school,” says fifth-grader Balami. “There is only singing and dancing classes in our school these days, while we can also learn our lessons here.”

Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE Nepal) has been offering free classes to school-age children in temporary shelters in the Capital since the April 25 earthquake struck the country. The quake levelled over 7,000 school buildings in 41 districts in central Nepal.

Although the schools in the earthquake-affected districts opened from Sunday, the schools have been mostly entertaining the students to help them overcome their trauma. These schools are open for a maximum three hours a day, during which teachers have been trying to help the kids overcome their fears and get them ready for classes again.

OLE Nepal has been offering subject-specific and grade-specific digital learning materials, which are aligned with the national curricula.  “These sessions help students in overcoming their fears by keeping them engaged in learning activities, and most importantly, they learn the actual lessons, which they would have learned in school,” says Sawal Acharya, an OLE Nepal volunteer

As soon as the OLE Nepal volunteers show up in Tundikhel, the children, who are naturally curious about computers, gather around. They eagerly wait for their turn for a two-hour session.

OLE Nepal has been working in other localities in the Valley too. They have already conducted classes in Kirtipur, Bungmati and Khokana.

After observing the children’s activities, Khagendra Prasad Nepal, director of the Department of Education, who was at Tundikhel on a field visit, concluded that there could be no better activity for children in temporary shelters.

“They can enjoy themselves and learn school lessons at the same time. Also do not forget to remind them to go to school, as the schools have now started conducting regular classes,” he said.

OLE Nepal has planned to take the programme to other earthquake-affected districts soon.

“We collaborate with local organisations and school management,” said Dovan Rai, content designer for OLE.

She said the organisation’s larger aim is to improve the quality of education and reduce the disparity in access to quality education across geographic regions, school types and population groups by integrating technology in the teaching-learning process.

“These sessions are being conducted as a relief and rehabilitation programme to ensure that the children can continue their education while the houses and schools are being reconstructed and the communities are being rehabilitated,” she said.

OLE Nepal, an education-focused organisation, has pioneered the use of technology in schools and provides open and free access to quality education and innovative learning environments to children. It has developed school curriculums for grades 2 to 6. Besides, it also has digital library, E-Pustakalaya, a free and open digital library for students, teachers and others. The library includes over 7,000 free books, full-text documents, images, educational videos, audio-books, reference materials, and interactive learning software.

Published: 02-06-2015 07:34

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