Fund for Local Cooperation Project completed
December 2016 | Kathmandu
On November 30, 2016, OLE Nepal completed the second phase of the project — “Improving Access to Quality Basic Education through ICT-integrated Classes”. This was a 3 year project, funded by Embassy of Finland’s Fund for Local Cooperation. The project focused on addressing the problems of low quality of education and lack of access to quality learning resources in rural public schools through the introduction technology and digital learning resources in classrooms and teachers trained on ICT-integrated teaching-learning methodologies.
During the project period, OLE Nepal conducted support visits to 15 program schools in Baglung, Banke and Solukhumbu districts where laptop program was launched in 2012 with the support from Embassy of Finland. Over the 3 years, our team provided technical and network setup, hardware parts replacement and software updates of laptops and digital library servers in all 15 schools. This ensured integrated learning was practised without technical problems.
A major component of this project was the creation of E-Paath – OLE Nepal’s interactive digital learning content – for Grades 7 and 8 English, maths and science. A team of curriculum experts, graphic designers, software developers and translators worked together to create these interactive learning modules with the national curriculum as the guiding document. A total of 128 activities of new Grade 7 and 8 digital content have been developed and deployed to all 15 FLC program schools of Banke, Baglung and Solukhumbu and 11 schools in Kavre. Grades 7 and 8 teachers of English, maths, and science subjects received training on the newly developed E-Paath content to enhance classroom lessons. The new content are also freely accessible on the digital library website (www.pustakalaya.org) and offline E-Pustakalaya servers.
Under this project, OLE Nepal also initiated the process of producing and translating E-Paath for the Chepang community with the aim to provide quality educational materials to marginalized indigenous communities while promoting mother tongue based education. Chepang language is an indigenous language, predominantly used among the people from marginalized communities living in a remote region of Nepal. A total of 218 math and science E-Paath activities, for Grades 2 to 5, were prepared.
The localized content was piloted at a primary school in Korak VDC in Chitwan as a way to promote of mother-tongue based literacy. These activities are also made available online on www.pustakalaya.org
Offline servers with E-Pustakalaya were installed in 11 schools in Kavre district and 20 schools in Bajhang. Our team set up school network for fast local access to books and learning materials. The offline server is loaded with e-books, audio-books, educational videos, wikipedia, dictionary, khan academy videos, open street maps and other materials. These content can be accessed through school network using computers, laptops and mobile device. An android application was also developed and distributed to allow users to download books in mobile devices. OLE Nepal continued to provide technical support to the schools throughout the project period.
The project also supported 30 program schools in Bajhang and Baitadi districts, as most of the schools did not have access to electricity. Solar and power back up system had to be installed in order to charge the laptops, and power the digital servers and network related equipment. Additionally, 14 youth volunteers were deployed to 33 schools in Bajhang to spend 2 months in remote communities and support schools in introducing the novel pedagogical practices using technology. The volunteers were trained by OLE Nepal trainers and technical staff on the effective implementation of ICT integration in the classrooms.
E-Paath activities for grades 2 to 6 that were designed and developed by OLE Nepal between 2007 and 2012. Under this project, OLE Nepal initiated the upgrading of E-Paath content of grades 2 – 6. The flash-based content were reviewed and aligned with the revised curriculum, and developed in HTML/CSS technology, just like the grades 7 and 8 E-Paath content. The upgrade was also necessary because computer technology is such an ever evolving field, that the content developed for grade 2 to grade 6 (using Flash) have become outdated. A total of 33 E-Paath activities were finalised during the project period. OLE Nepal will continue to upgrade the remaining content and finish the project in the first quarter of 2017. Finally, this project helped scale up E-Paath distribution. Under this project, the entire collection of E-Paath (Grade 2 – 8) will be loaded into 5300 CDs and distributed to schools across Nepal through 1053 Resource Centers, with the support from the Department of Education. According to the plan, each Resource center will be provided with 5 CDs each that will be sent to schools for installations in their computers.