Even before the pandemic hit us, the education system in Nepal has already been in Crisis. There are many reasons for this crisis. One of the main reason is that the education system was not designed to accommodate the growing population in Nepal. It has been built on a colonial model where there is an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities.
Inherent Education System In Nepal
Public school education is inherently poor, and as a result, parents send their children to private institutions, which is very expensive. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis, the demand for distance education has increased this inequality in school education. The lack of sufficient resources and equipment also caused problems for students.
Schools with better facilities offer online courses, but the digital divide is at a disadvantage for most schools and many students have been left out.
“Even if you have equipment at home, online lectures are difficult. There are families who only have a smartphone or laptop, and there are three children who are participating in online classes at the same time.”
The government established conflicting rules, causing further confusion. They announced that schools will teach through an “alternative” system, but did not ensure that students have TV, mobile phone data, and laptops, nor did they train teachers for distance learning. Many students have no access to computers or Wi-Fi for online lessons. Clearly, the government could not provide devices for teachers and students to cater to online classes.
Teachers and students (parents) will have to scout for alternatives like cheaper smartphones (checking out sites like velgenklere for the best but reliable smartphones) in order to cope up with the needs of distance and online education.
And while the department of education, science, and technology had been issuing directives to schools for them to conduct regular online classes without charging fees, they have not provided any alternative for teacher’s salaries.
Distance Learning is Great but not for Everyone
For students who are not able to participate in online classes were issued alternative textbooks and teaching materials, however this is not as effective as online learning. Distance learning is great only for those who can afford it.
Professor Ram Krishna Regmi said the digital divide has created a class divide in Nepalese society. “Just focusing on using technology for teaching is discrimination against people who cannot use technology,” he said.
Offer of Resources to Students
The Department of Education, communities and schools, made a decision to categorize students who don’t have internet access and offer resources to help them study. You need to classify students according to radio, FM radio, television, and computers rather than the Internet.
In Lalitpur, for example, students in 219 public schools without online access were instructed to attend radio or television classes at certain times. But, Mahendra Chhetri of Lalitpur City acknowledged that if the gap in technology is not addressed, alternative learning will remain unequal.
Before the government decided to replace education, Bhaktapur had started distance learning on local television channels in 33 public schools, and many of the 60 private schools were teaching online.
But there are still access problems. Hari Parsad Niraula of the Bhaktapur Ministry of Education said 80% of private students are in class while only 48% of public school students are online.
There are 500 private and public schools in Kathmandu. Kathmandu government spokesman Ishwar Man Dangol said that most schools have implemented alternative learning systems effectively. In addition to Zoom and Messenger, the school also broadcasts its courses on radio and television.
“Even with equipment at home, online courses are difficult. Some families only have a smartphone or laptop, and up to three children can attend class online at the same time, ”says KB Karmacharya, a teacher at Wajishwari High School. “Your parents are tired.”
The headmistress, Indra Mohan Jha, said that around 30 students at a public school in Dhahran, eastern Nepal, are unable to use online platforms, radio or television. “Even if your family has a laptop or a cell phone, they don’t have WiFi and they can’t afford cellular data.”