Alternative mode of learning

Kathmandu - This week, as government canceled SEE exams for the year, government agencies mobilized to prepare for alternative mediums of learning from radio, television, to online platforms. As Ministry, Municipalities began to mobilize in collaboration with media agencies, some media house also took initiative to start programs dedicated to school students.

Abbreviations: MoEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, KD-Kantipur Daily, THT-  The Himalayan Times, SEE- Secondary Education Examination , TU- Tribhuvan University, KU-Kathmandu University, NOU- Nepal Open University, MoD-Ministry of Defense

-    This year’s SEE exams got scrapped this week. Putting an end to the long disputed issue of Secondary Education Examination, the government finally decided to cancel the state-operated test of Grade X for this year. The results of the students will now be provided by National Examination Board on the basis of the internal evaluation of students conducted by the concerned schools. Minister of Education stated that  it came to the conclusion that waiting further to conduct the examination will only create more confusion among students. It was not wise to keep the student and guardians under confusion, he had reported. As many as 482,219 students were in limbo as the government failed to issue any notice regarding the examination.

-    Radio education was launched by Kathmandu Metropolitan City. KMC has started Radio Education Programme to facilitate learning of schoolchildren at home through alternative means during the lockdown period. KMC launched the radio education programme from basic to class 10 level through Metro FM. KMC has been operating the FM radio station.  Metropolitan City’s education department head and coordinator stated that though it will be only way communication, it will help to reach many students and parents in their homes. Subject teachers who are eligible for hosting radio program will be selected for the programs stated the report. MoEST also announced that Television programs will also be launched targeting school students.

-    There were some news and opinion articles dedicated to the inequity cause due to lack of access to basic technology that is true for many students. These articles express the anxiety cause by the launch of technology based education approaches, and call to address those students who will need support to ensure they aren’t left behind in this process. Radio Kantipur has also launched programs targeting school students.

-    As many as 40 teachers and staffers of Bhadrapur-based government owned Mechi Multiple Campus have become jobless after the campus took a decision against the government policy in Jhapa a news reported. Forty teaching and non-teaching staffers became jobless after the executive committee of the campus decided not to release the salary of teachers and staffers who were appointed on contract basis during the lockdown.

-    Some articles where dedicated to the programs in the budget of the new fiscal year where the government announced that the private schools will take care of public schools. The article was critical about the contrast between the political commitments expressed by the ruling parties that where pro public schools, while the programs where not justifying those stands. One article also stated that this could be because political leaders have investment in private schools.

-    A news article stated that the government schools all over Nepal are preparing to start alternative learning programs. Learning groups and Principles of Model Public School Network  had committed to the initiative through a virtual session.

The self-initiation for innovation in education taken from different level of government and civil society, could be very productive ensuring relevant education for Nepal. This challenge of physical distancing also make teachers, government, parents and students, to reconsider the need and possibility of innovation in the present education system to make it more contextual and relevant for the present reality. The issue to ensure equity in access to education has come forward as a very difficult challenge that will need equal effort and innovation, while alternative methods are being tried out. While initially, government takes lead in contents production, procedures and plan on how to engage schools and students in the process of creating contents, and media literacy should also be considered from initial stage of these process so, technical knowledge about communication process also becomes part of the lessons in this process.

'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print media published in Kathmandu. The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news. This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP) , has produced this analysis based on the news printed in Kantipur (Nepali) and The Himalayan Times (English), Dailies between June 10-16, 2020 (jestha 28-Asar 2, 2077) - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali : सिकाइको वैकल्पिक विधि

Read last week’s analysis: How to operate schools post COVID lockdown ?

All analysis read by this link : Education This week