March 19th, 2013 By: roxan · 3 Comments
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. (Source: Wikipedia)
We also got hands on the much acclaimed Raspberry-Pi, thanks to OLE Inc in Cambridge, USA. We have tested to see if we could replace our traditional school server with Raspberry-Pi model B. However, Raspberry Pi couldn’t handle the the task when we loaded our digital library E-Pustakalaya on it. Though the page were browsable, the performance was very slow. We replaced Apache with Nginx and optimized Mysql, but still the CPU power was not powerful enough.
Upon more investigation, we found more expensive but highly powerful Raspberry-Pi alternatives like Odroid from hardkernel. It comes with 1.7 GHz quad core CPU and 2GB of RAM. We are hopeful that this can replace our single core 1.6 GHz atom processor school server. We can reduce the cost of our future deployment tremendously by substituting MSI server, inverter and battery (for power backup) with Odroid, battery pack and SD card.
March 19th, 2013 By: roxan · No Comments
We are excited about moving to the new XO-4 laptops for upcoming deployments. XO-4 uses power efficient processor based on ARM technology and has expanded storage space. It has the same sturdy design as its predecessors that have earned a reputation for durability and withstood heavy usage by students in rural schools in Nepal.
In mid-February, OLPC sent us an XO-1.75 which is based on same architecture as XO-4 for testing purposes. We were worried to learn that there was no public support of Flash for this architecture since OLE Nepal has invested heavily in Flash. We have over 500 interactive learning modules develop ed on Flash that children in Nepal use to learn various concepts. Not only that, other educational activities in our digital library, E-Pustakalaya, like the British Council’s “Learn English Kids” and “E-Learning for Kids” are also based on Flash.
(We tried other platforms to develop on, but Flash provided us an environment where we could quickly create interactive activities. Later when we learned that Flash was not being supported by many vendors, we were well on our way to build our framework on it and it was too late to switch to other platforms)
Fortunately, with the help of OLPC we managed to run Flash on XO-1.75. This was a major relief for us. Besides that, the performance of new XOs is extremely better compared to the previous versions. Now we are setting up new build system for new XOs which will be deployed this summer.
March 19th, 2013 By: Rabi Karmacharya · No Comments
We are very excited about the recent agreement with Kathmandu University School of Education (KUSOED) collaborate to further strengthen ICT-based education programs in Nepal’s public school system. OLE Nepal has always believed in expanding the reach of ICT through collaborations and partnerships with governmental and non-governmental institutions. It is a win-win situation for both parties. While the partnership allows OLE Nepal to tap into a pool of talented students to help in the expansion of its program in the country, KUSOED can take advantage of the rich experience that OLE Nepal has gathered over the years in the design and implementation of ICT-integrated education.
The two parties agreed to work together to build on each other’s strengths and experiences towards developing capable human resources, needed to expand ICT-integrated teaching-learning process in primary and secondary schools in the country. It is hoped that the collaboration will lead towards creating a center of excellence in ICT-integrated education within KUSOED. The envisioned center of excellence at KUSOED can play a lead role in the research and design of ICT-integrated teaching-learning practices in the country, and help prepare the human resource required to realize the potential that ICT has to office in improving quality and access in our education system.
As part of the agreement, OLE Nepal will prepare graduate level students to train school teachers on ICT-integrated teaching-learning process, and provide opportunities to trained graduate students to conduct training sessions in OLE Nepal’s program schools. OLE Nepal will also provide support to KUSOED students conducting research in the field of ICT-based education. KUSOED will identify graduate students to participate in the program, facilitate research in ICT-integrated education, provide expert inputs and provide relevant resources available at its ICT Resource Center to expand the scope of ICT-based education in the country.
As per the MoU, OLE Nepal conducted a three-day Training of Trainers (ToT) for eight graduate students from KUSoED on January 28-30, 2013. Four of the trainees later accompanied OLE Nepal’s trainers to Baglung from February 5 to 10 to observe the in-school training being conducted at the six OLPC shared-model program schools.
KU students getting trained at OLE Nepal office
March 18th, 2013 By: basanta · No Comments
The E-Pustakalaya development team has changed the overall layout and design of the E-Pustakalaya website to make it more user friendly. The landing page now, is more dynamic and displays featured books based on popularity and other variables which can be changed periodically. It also displays recently added books which helps user stay updated regarding the additions. The book cover preview makes the user easier of notice and identify books. Listed below are details of other new features added on the website:
- E-Pustakalaya New Interface
All the videos have been sorted into different categories based on the content and, displayed with a preview image and a title. For videos that cover two or more categories are placed in all the categories. A short preface about the videos tell users what the video is about and the view counts help reflect its popularity among the users.
- Videos with title and picture preview. Left panel shows different video categories.
Author page allows to view a list of all the authors, their biographies (if available), and links to their books. We are in the process of finding biographies of all the authors.
Other important features in the books section include bookshelf and book review. Users can use bookshelf functionality to prioritize books to read, identify books for future reference or reading, share the book list among friends and other users. Book review feature on the other hand helps users write their views on the book and rate them. Users can use the login feature with their google, facebook or twitter accounts.
Rato Bangala Foundation has created audio tapes of the English course books used in public schools throughout the country. These audio tapes are highly popular in Dailekh where most primary English teachers have received trainings on how to incorporate these audio tapes into their daily classroom lessons. Through OLE Nepal’s partnership with the foundation, these tapes will be made available in E-Pustakalaya’s portal.
August 17th, 2012 By: Kayomars Bilimoria Puri · 4 Comments
If you think you heard a clap of thunder, you are not entirely wrong. High amplitude sound waves do wiggle through the air(all the way to Rabi Dai’s office) when we L-O-L. Ok wait–that’s lame. Let’s try this again.
Let’s start by telling you who we are. This is Kayo. Now it’s Anisha. And I’m here too(Sahara btw). I’m Pratistha and I’m Niraj. Wait what? Guys just stop! Let me handle this. Google Docs can be such a pain sometimes.
Here it goes.
We are the sleepily-arriving, tea-chugging, email-checking, report-writing, keyboard-pounding, XO-fixing, charger-taping, puzzle-solving, book-hunting-and-scanning, then-editing, now-uploading, hard-at-working, philosophy-phishing, pun-intending, joke-making, wildly-laughing, tummy-growling (guys! lunch?), human-be-ing, lunch-gobbling, second-help-ing, survey-checking, while-burping(eww Kayo), field-visiting, wiki-updating, fund-hunting, E-Paath recording, NEXO-testing, NEXS-installing, tea-sipping, cable-crimping, router-flashing, Linux-not/liking, blog-writing, work-loving OLE Nepal Interns.
Book scanning, Puzzle solving, XO fixing, Tea sipping
We are five young interns who have come from different places, for different reasons and for different lengths of time (Kayo’s the big time senior intern). We come from colleges in New England and homes in Tinkune, for a month, for six, for a year. We are individuals who have for the first time, been taken seriously as our ideas have been encouraged, while our report-writing and book-scanning skills have seen vast improvements.
It was the XOs that needed fixing, the E-Paaths that needed reviewing, the audio that needed recording, the google docs that needed translating, the reports that needed editing, the programs that needed brainstorming and the surveys that needed correcting that really brought us all together. The attachment that we then felt towards one another was what grew out of the meaningful conversations and overwhelming laugh-out-loud moments. During our field visits, we were seeing and learning new things together. Living with one another for days on end helped us see each other beyond the work that we did and the opinions that we held. We got in touch with one another’s idiosyncrasies and emotional disposition; we got to know each other in person. Even when we later see one another in the office, we burst out laughing because the familiar faces summarize the wonderful moments shared and the discoveries made.
Aman and Sahara establishing a school network in Dadeldhura
Yes, our experiences here have truly been out of this world. We come from different fields of interest and each of us at some point, experienced things that we would have never had the opportunity to otherwise. Some of us who were intimidated by the tech-savvy ended up fixing XOs and crimping CAT5e cables. Others who had hardly been outside the city had the chance to travel from Solukhumbu and Mustang to the likes of Doti and Dadeldhura; to see the realities of our country, step out of of our comfortable bubbles and remind ourselves what is easy to forget: that the rest of Nepal is a long way from Kathmandu.
We are most inspired by the people at OLE Nepal who are among the rare few that walk the walk. Some of them have a quiet brilliance that shines in their work. Some have kind words and wise ways that help make the best decisions. Some have the child-like sense of humor and wonder that we are often afraid we will lose when we grow up.
It is precisely this collective sense of wonder in everyone that works wonders. People generously open up their minds to one another, sharing ideas big, small and wondrous. Everybody talks to everybody else. Conversations are effortless. We find ourselves talking to adults without weighing our words or filtering our thoughts, an opportunity we seldom got before. When we share ideas that sound ridiculous or impossible even to ourselves, the people listening to us kindly crop out what is too far fetched and ground the rest with their own imaginations into something really doable. With yet more sharing, cropping and imagining and then sharing, ideas become. It is like the office is a child’s mind, with conversations like thoughts inside the same head.
Kayo and Pratistha fooling around in Solukhumbu
The people at OLE Nepal have shown us that regardless of whether we become mathematicians or teachers or movie stars (Niraj?), we can all come together to create something innovative and wonderful, just as the people at OLE Nepal have come together from completely different fields of expertise to do spectacular work and share a common goal. These people are genuinely interested in what they are doing. They are as good mentors as they are people. In ways small and big, from the frequent pat on the back to the thoughtful words of advice, they invite us to walk with them.
Guys! What? I think this is coming together alright. Maybe Google Docs isn’t too bad after all?
For OLE Nepal, interns come and interns go. Over the years, it has seen many like us. But for us interns, there is only one OLE Nepal. We will always look back at our days here with a smile, grateful for having been part of this family. When we do finally leave, we are not really leaving, we are just becoming like distant cousins who don’t see each other very often, but will always be related. We will form a larger network–in other words, an extended family– of OLE Nepal, spreading the word and carrying with us a cause that we will believe in wherever we will go. Our experiences here have given us a better sense of direction. The rare chance to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.
We are five young interns who over our time here at OLE Nepal, have taken many little steps closer to a future that we will someday be responsible for, a future that we hope to become. We are five young interns who have taken one giant step closer to helping build a future that is beyond ours.
Niraj, Pratistha, Anisha, Sahara, Kayo
OLE Nepal Interns:
- Kayomars Bilimoria Puri
- Sahara Pradhan
- Pratistha Bhattarai
- Anisha Shrestha
- Niraj Paudel
- Aman Maharjan (On leave from inception through materialization)
August 3rd, 2012 By: pratistha · 2 Comments
Imagine. A million bits of information hatching into life, fissioning into a billion more, flying across plains, hills and mountains. On arriving at destinations where sometimes no roads, boats or even aeroplanes can reach, every single one of the million bits manage to fall in just the right places to together make identical copies of the shell from which they initially hatched. This process of fission and subsequent fusion is happening even as we speak. These bits are spreading far and wide, creating shells of information that become knowledge for anyone fortunate enough to open them. An education epidemic growing viral far and wide, like something out of a science fiction.
Like all science fiction, this one too is a metaphor : one of the work at Open Learning Exchange Nepal. People at the office work for months to fill empty shells, E-Paatis (laptops), with bits of information, content. This information is cloned onto many more laptops and pendrives, one of which sat in my pocket and flew all the way to Solukhumbu. Our team of five — consisting of Sarina di, Tika sir, Sunil sir, Kayo and myself — carried with us the responsibility to update the existing E-Paatis of the schools. The new version of NEXO had 120 new paaths(lessons) in science and bigyan. Once update began, the cells of information in the E-Paatis turned first black and then blue and then green, and magically were ready for use. When children started accessing and eventually understanding the information stored, they became knowledgeable enough to answer the questions to the paaths they had just learnt. The sounds â€œthikâ€ (correct) and â€œmilenaâ€ (incorrect) that were once ringing in the rooms of our office were now unanimously emanating from these E-Paatis hundreds of kilometers away, telling the children if what they answered was correct or not; signals from another world.
Sarina di and I gave baseline surveys to the children to see how they would attempt to answer the type of questions one would encounter when using an E-Paati. There was a range of reactions amongst the different schools and even amongst children within the same school. There was genuine excitement, bewildered indifference, and other things in between. For example, on the question â€œConnect the dots to complete the picture of a cat,â€ some children jumped at joining the dots, an excited few totally disregarded the dots and made their own cats, a confused many complained that they did not know how to make a cat and the majority did not even attempt, let alone interpret, the questions and rather resorted to asking us for help. â€œMiss? Miss! Miss!!! Miss?! Miss?????? Mmm..â€ We often found ourselves penetrating through a hard space of earnest requests, softening confusion. It was challenging. But a lot of children, especially those from Garma, made me realize that teaching was as fulfilling as it was challenging. These children were completely absorbed in what they were doing and easily picked up any new concept that we taught them. They were like balm on wound. The wound was my own premature assumption that children in rural areas were deprived of the tools for a quality education. The balm was the realization that these children had the best tool — the want for an education.
The surveys brought us overwhelmingly close to the childrenâ€™s minds. We could almost touch their learning, play with it. We tried to give them what we could. Sometimes they took what we gave them but for the most part they did not. Their inhibitions were much too deep for us to fathom, let alone alleviate, in the one hour that we had. No matter how hard we tried,we would eventually find ourselves against a wall. We theorized, out of observation, why the wall was there: children did not attempt to read the questions; when they did, they did not understand them; when they did understand them, they did not know how to answer them and when they did know how to answer, they were not sure if they should. These children clearly felt like they did not have the right to know. The only way to deal with the theory was to deny it. That too we could not do, given the intensity with which the evidence was staring at us from every corner of the room.
We are only a retrospect away from the realms of a childâ€™s mind because we ourselves were children to begin with. As a child, did I ever feel like I did not have the right to know? In retrospect: yes, more often than not. I think that children are so inquisitive and sharp that they can outsmart any education system. A boy in Garma asked me what 13 meant on the digital clock. I asked him what he thought. He hung his head as if in shame. I could tell that he knew the answer. I got frustrated, not for myself but for him because I knew exactly what he was feeling; the fear of being judged. After a long pause, punctuated with my goading, he finally said â€œ1 PM!â€. The question he asked was not on the survey and was probably bothering him for a while. It is sad that earlier he felt that he did not have the right to question and sadder still that when he did question, he could not jump at an answer like he ought to have.
Imagine. A super teacher that not only knows Science, Math, English and Nepali but is also diligent enough to teach a thousand students at once without compromising the quality of education she gives to any one. She has both the rigor and the vigor. She is a breacher of the classical theory that one canâ€™t be in two places at once, a muse for quantum theorists. In any given moment, she can be in multiple locations, telling a variety of things to a variety of children. Wake her up at 2 in the morning and ask her a question that is keeping you from sleeping and Eureka! she has the answer. A genie — except that she grants unlimited wishes of enquiry and does not belong to any one master– and a very trust-worthy one at that; she does not disclose to the world the questions you ask and the doubts you have. You are spared the fright of questioning or of even answering.
E-Paati is a childâ€™s wildest imagination come true. â€œE-Paati!â€ is the new â€œEureka!â€ This is literally to say that a â€œEureka! momentâ€ translates to an â€œE-Paati! moment.â€ Children that had been using E-Paati for quite a while, especially those in Garma, seemed to associate understanding with E-Paati. For instance, children would intensely stare at their papers in a dire attempt to understand the question. When they did finally see what was being shown, they would shout â€œE-Paati!â€. Their exclamation probably sprouted from the realization that the question was something they had seen earlier in E-Paati but they said it so often and with so much enthusiasm that one could not help but think that the word â€œE-Paati!â€ was an exclamation of understanding and learning!
Learning can be spontaneous. This is best exemplified by children that have never played with technology before but when given a new cell phone, can know the ins and outs of its functions in less than an hour. Their natural presence of mind helps them grasp new concepts without the need for any pre-requisites. My going to the schools as the childrenâ€™s â€œMiss!â€ changed the way these children functioned in front of me. Like the little boy that could not confidently tell me that 13 meant 1 PM, children, I noticed, acknowledged my presence by giving me their silence and giving up their natural mindfulness. A lot of children we met did not know the name of their schools. While some did not make any effort at all to somehow get their school’s name on paper, a smart few copied the name from their own, or another’s, school sweaters; an act of spontaneous learning, of being mindful in the present with the intention of learning something right here right now. Some children could read Nepali but not comprehend it. If it was English that the children could read but not understand then I would understand. But Nepali? Isnâ€™t hearing oneself read Nepali the same as listening to someone speak to you in Nepali? If you can converse with me in Nepali then why canâ€™t you understand what you are reading to yourself? Why the pretense of incomprehension? These children were clearly waiting for my approval to understand.
As a kid, I had moments when I thought that it was my ignorance of certain knowledge on which the purpose of a teacher was built. As such, to know was to destroy that purpose and to not know was to respect it. My many questions and sometimes even answers have come out as nothing but silence. It probably is the positioning of a teacher and a student on a vertical plane, with the teacher at the top, that by default creates this psychology. Or maybe it is the term â€œteacherâ€ itself, which wrongly defines a person as someone who teaches rather than as someone who assists a student in their personal learning. No matter what the explanation, it does not justify the relationship. I was pleased beyond measure to see that E-Paati can bring a change.
Our field visit made me see how E-Paati can help teachers help children. Children can open any activity they like and interact with it in any way they wish. After learning a lesson from a teacher, children can visit paaths they feel most inclined to visit and revisit the ones they feel are most deserving of revision. Despite of the immense power that this seemingly-a-childâ€™s-toy possesses, it does not intimidate a child but on the contrary, motivates curiosity. The E-Paati will never say â€œHow many times do I need to answer the same question?!â€ Children will finally feel like they have the right to know. As such, the E-Paatis wonderfully complement a teacherâ€™s lesson plans. The teachers too complement the purpose of an E-Paati by helping students make effective use of it. Also, the teacher’sâ€™ relationship with students can better once children start shedding inhibitions through their E-Paati experience which entails exploration, self-assessment and self-discovery. Win win. Such thoughts are far-fetched considering how little these schools have worked with the E-Paatis but they conjure a beautiful picture of the state of tomorrowâ€™s education. Education can be a playground where children play free, with the teachers teaching them not what to play but just how to play safe. Each child plays a unique combination of games without feeling the need to catch up or slow down. They receive an education as unique as they are.
Tags: News & Events
July 20th, 2012 By: sahara · 2 Comments
A week into my internship at OLE Nepal, I was still the newbie struggling to remember everyone’s names when I was asked if I wanted to go on the support/survey visit to Doti and Dadeldhura. Besides popping up on headlines now and then, the last time I had much interest in either of these places was when I was memorizing them for a social studies test a few years ago. I said, Yes.
Buddha Airâ€™s flight 951 to Dhangadi took off from Kathmandu on the 10th of July, and a little birdie called the newspaper warned me of the 37 degree weather that awaited an OLE Nepal team made up of (I am tempted to write sugar and spice and everything nice) Subir Sir, Niraj, Aman and myself. With our backpacks and cables and monitors and tool boxes, we spiralled our way up the snaking road to Dadeldhura where four hours later, we reached Hotel Sunlight, perched on the appropriately named â€˜Toofan Dadaâ€™. The two teams split up the next morning as Niraj and Subir Sir were dropped off near Koral to start their own adventurous set of school visits that included having to eat raw mangoes off of trees, a wild horse and long muddy walks in the pouring rain.
A view from 'Toofan Dada'
Mauwa was a two-hour drive uphill from Dipayal on a muddy, winding road and after a quick lunch at the hotel, we headed to Mahadev Primary School about 20 minutes away. The schoolrooms were isolated from the rest of the world with bare walls and little or no furniture, save for the row of laptops (XOs) on charge in the corner. Students were in class on benches or on the floor, some older kids with younger brothers or sisters on their laps.
A classroom at Janajyoti Ni Ma Vi
Chhaya Miss helped us to get the students organized for the baseline science survey. We selected 10 students each from grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 ranging from the top students to the students that weren’t doing so well. We called them into classrooms, grade 2 and 4 in one and grades 3 and 5 in another while the rest were ushered into other classes. The younger students who couldnâ€™t yet read had difficulty understanding our different dialect of Nepali at this school so we quickly solicited the help of teachers to read out the questions. Besides having to remind them to not ask their friends for answers, the surveys went fairly smoothly. When some kids couldn’t grasp the idea of circling the alphabet options, we accepted any mark that indicated the right answer. We also introduced ourselves and explained why we were there and gave the students candy, along with asking them if they brushed their teeth and kept their nails clean and took some pictures.
Afterwards, the children lined up for their daily serving of haluwa from UN WFPâ€™s School Feeding Program. Aman worked on the server as E-Pustakalaya hadn’t been working (the problem turned out to be the loose RAM) as I updated the laptops. As we spoke with Chhaya Miss, we learned that there had been no electricity at the school until recently because of a thunderstorm and the month-long strike in the Far-West earlier this year meant that they hadn’t had the chance to use the laptops much. When they were used though, the students were absorbed and took interest not only in the E-Paath specific to their grade but in all of them. Grade 5 students would spend time looking over grade 2 and using the ideas there in their writing. Something interesting she had noticed was that students were fighting a lot less with one another in school after they had started using the laptops.
The laptops were not being sent home during the monsoon. Five of them had screen problems and there were several broken chargers; Chhaya Missâ€™ guessed it was because they kept falling to the ground since the charging racks were loose. A few new students had enrolled in the school because they wanted to go to â€˜the school with the computersâ€™, while many also came for the food provided by WFP. However, though more students were coming to school, it also meant that classrooms were getting over crowded and more difficult to manage for the already scarce number of teachers. An issue brought up by Chhaya Miss was that more students go from grade 1 to 2 than students that leave from grade 5. That past year, 8 students from grade 5 left behind laptops but 38 students were now in grade two, leaving 30 kids without laptops.
The lights went out as Aman worked on the server so we took it back to the hotel to update it later that evening and Aman returned it to the school bright and early the next morning. The Sir at the school informed him that his son had rushed to brush his teeth, first thing that morning.
The hike to Bel from Mauwa involved walking into the fog down steep, rocky paths and narrow ledges on the edge of rice fields with a posse of mosquitoes following us at all times. Just another day in the life of an OLE Nepal intern! While asking for directions at every fork, for missing one would mean that we could end up on the seemingly identical–but wrong hill entirely, everyone wanted to know who we were and why we were there, if we were World Vision or if we were there to give trainings. I was accustomed to introducing myself as â€˜from Nepalâ€™ but that didn’t cut it here. We were from â€˜Kathmanduâ€™, and therefore also foreigners. At 9 am with the sun already beating down on us, we knew we were at Durga Primary School as we were greeted by the singsong voices of children reciting numbers: nine one ninety one, nine two ninety two…
Here too, E-Pustakalaya wasnâ€™t working but was fixed fairly easily and the survey was run smoothly. Students of grade 2 struggled however, and were initially not responding to our attempt to communicate. Eventually, we ended up sitting with pairs of children and reading every question individually, and they seemed to do quite well. One question I distinctly remember a student answering after I read it out was: which option do you think is correct, only the mother working in the fields or both the mother and father working together in the fields? He circled the first option and smiled confidently. Perhaps the â€˜correctâ€™ answer was irrelevant when faced with his reality.
Students taking the survey
In Chasi, we stayed with Dhauli Miss in her home and as we ate plenty of mangoes and papaya from the garden, she told us about the womenâ€™s troubles in the village whose husbands would get drunk and give them a hard time. Her own husband, whom she called a good man, was helping her chop vegetables and was sharing his own struggles from when he worked in Malaysia for four years and his current unemployment. At her home, we had the best Aam ko Achar which we also brought back! The server at Saraswati Primary School couldn’t be updated as the ports were not functioning, so Aman, or should I say Superaman walked all the way back to Bel to attempt to update the hard drive using the server at the school there.
Saraswati school was a fifteen-minute walk uphill from Dhauli Missâ€™ home, made difficult by the rain. At the school, Dhauli Miss called to our attention that those who don’t get picked for the survey might take it to heart–something that hadn’t occurred to us, and devised a simple chit system to pick them so that the students see that they are picked by random chance rather than something personal about them. As I took the surveys, I had the company of a six-year-old boy who followed me around; he was mentally challenged because his parents had beat him too much as a small child. At the end of the hour, I discovered that he could write the two Nepali letters ka and ra. I watched a class where the laptops were used and students read about Devkota and listened to his poems. Some students who had forgotten theirs at home shared laptops. The students took laptops home but since it was the last day of school, they stored it in a steel wardrobe in the office, organized and with care. The server adapter had not been working since a thunderstorm, when lightning had struck the school. We replaced the adapter but the server did not work despite Amanâ€™s efforts and we brought it back with us for further investigation.
The view from the school of the surrounding hills and the forest above it, resting on the clouds was picturesque. It was so serene and peaceful, like a little piece of some kind of paradise. But the truth was that for me, this was work in the form of a six-day adventure. For the people there, it was everyday life. The realities of our hills are harsh, and a pretty scene does not fill a hungry stomach or plow the fields or make it any easier to get to the health post. The problems are numerous, difficult, intertwined, socially complex and largely political. Seeing the laptops in these classrooms, though, reaffirmed my faith that these phucche laptops and all that is done back here at the office, were going to do wonders, opening up a whole new world to these children.
Students using XOs in class
Three and a half hours of some threateningly slippery rocks–thanks to the rain– and some down-a-hill-and-up-another-through-a-village-and-up-the-next-hill-and-down-another-some-women-offering-to-carry-me-down-in-a-doko later, we finally reached Dipayal. Elated to be back on a road wider than our shoulders, we were driven back to Dadeldhura where later than night, we were reunited with the drained Subir Sir and nearly-collapsing Niraj who had just returned from a long day of network cabling and updates at Samaijee Primary School in Haat.
We left early the next morning and drove down to Budar, and after leaving our things at the hotel, drove to Hamtad from where Subir Sir and I went to Janajyoti Lower Secondary School while Niraj and Aman waded across the river to go to Selaling Primary School on the next hill.
At Janajyoti, the surveys were the easiest to conduct and most students immediately grasped the questions. Â A thunderstorm had blown the roof off of one of the buildings and eight or ten laptops had gotten wet in the rain. The teachers, as soon as they realized what had happened took out the batteries and put them to dry, after which they functioned normally. A crash course from Roshan Dai had made me a fairly competent…cable maker…so we made new cables for the school and did NEXO updates while the NEXC and NEXS updates were constantly interrupted by frequent power cuts.
Accompanied by a teacher, the Selaling team joined us soon afterwards to use our monitor because their monitor had failed them on account of the power cuts but also because it had started raining heavily, and they had to come back before the river would rise and be too difficult to cross.
What the teachers at the school did want was to meet with other teachers from schools in the area and in Doti. They suggested that OLE Nepal facilitate a meeting for teachers in the same area to exchange ideas and experiences. The teacher from Selaling told us of the attachment that students feel towards the laptops and recounted how some students had cried at the end of last year when it was time to part with the beloved XO.
We made our way back to Budar, and our driver Buddhi Dai rushed back in hopes that we would reach the hotel before the roads were obstructed by potential landslides. The next day, the flight back to Kathmandu was apparently quite eventful because of heavy turbulence and some shouting on the part of passengers (ahemniraj) but I say apparently because I, for one, was fast asleep.
Back at the office, Iâ€™m writing this blog and field visit logs and looking forward to some downtime in front of this trusty monitor! Over the last six days, we walked many paths, uphill, downhill and winding and backwards(literally–do ask subir sir for a demonstration), to make our way to each of these schools but what was important was that these were steps in the right direction.
Tags: News & Events