Beth Stillings Cohen's picture

Beth Stillings Cohen

Teacher in Kaski, Nepal
About Me

Placement location

Nepal

Map of Nepal
Population: 
28 million
Capital city: 
Kathmandu
GDP per capita: 
US$ 694
HDI ranking: 
145 out of 187
Life expectancy: 
68 years

I will be working in a cluster of six schools in and around Pokhara, Nepal's second largest city after Kathmandu. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost 40% of children under five suffer from severe malnourishment and the very poorest children in the region miss out on education.

Nepal is only just recovering from a decade-long brutal civil war which ended in 2006, leaving more than 15,000 people dead and up to 150,000 people internally displaced.

What's the Need

My aim is to help the most marginalised children access and complete a good schooling. Currently, for example, Dalit children (considered to be at the lowest end of South Asian society) account for only 1% of the children who complete primary school.

One major problem is Nepal's teaching style - children are expected to learn by rote. When they fail, punishment can be through humiliation and beating. The most marginalised children suffer the most from this, as examples to the other children. They are also made to work in isolated groups instead of learning with other children. That has a further negative effect on their school experience as well as their personal development and confidence, and so they drop out of school.

What I'll Be Doing

Discrimination against any of these children is illegal, but teachers need support to overcome this deeply-rooted practice. I'll be helping them to demand that support, adapt their teaching so that children work in mixed groups, watch each other teach, measure their improvements, and share and celebrate their progress. Based in the schools six days a week, I will also be working closely with the district education officers so that the changes we implement at school level become standard practice at District level. That way, after I've come home, the teachers will have the state's local governors on their side to understand and give them the support they need.

Who I'll be helping

My aim is to help the most marginalised children access and complete a good schooling. Currently, for example, Dalit children (considered to be at the lowest end of South Asian society) account for only 1% of the children who complete primary school. One major problem is Nepal's teaching style - children are expected to learn by rote. When they fail, punishment can be through humiliation and beating. The most marginalised children suffer the most from this, as examples to the other children. They are also made to work in isolated groups instead of learning with other children. That has a further negative effect on their school experience as well as their personal development and confidence, and so they drop out of school.

Email Me

I hope you enjoy reading about the great work your volunteer is doing to improve the lives of some of the world's poorest and most marginalised people. They're able to make a difference, all because of your support. Thank you.

 

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