Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE Nepal) began the first part of training teachers to integrate E-Paati (XO laptops) in classroom teaching-learning process by conducting a four day training workshop on March 22-25, 2009. This training was designed to train master trainers from the Ministry of Education’s teaching training body, the National Center for Education Development (NCED), for the next round of OLPC laptop deployment planned for April 2009.
The training covered a wide range of topics including IT literacy, classroom arrangement and management, challenges in using laptops in the classroom, maximizing use of laptops both at home and school, non-technical issues and their possible solutions, parents and community awareness, etc.
The workshop was conducted at NCED’s training center in Sano Thimi. The fifteen participants included five trainers from NCED’s central office, as well as four Education Training Centers (ETCs). Program Officers from four District Education Offices also participated in the workshop. These trainers will go out to the pilot districts to train teachers of the schools where the XO laptops will be distributed.
The first day of the training started with an opening speech by Rabi Karmacharya, the Executive Director of OLE Nepal. He gave an overview of OLE Nepal’s mission, strategy to integrate ICT based teaching-learning method in Nepal’s education system. That was followed by remarks from Mr. Mahashram Sharma, Director General of Department of Education (DoE), who highlighted on the role that the OLPC project can play in improving the standard of education in Nepal. He also applauded OLE Nepal’s exemplary work in this area. Finally, Mr. Harka Prasad Shrestha, Executive Director of NCED thanked everyone involved in the process and hoped that this step in building NCED’s capacity to train teachers in ICT-based education approach. The exposure to E-Paati and its activities were a novelty for the participants. For many, it was the first time that they saw the laptop. They were also amazed to see the variety of things that could be done in such a small machine. All participants agreed that this initiative has the potential to bring a revolution in education by improving quality of and access to education materials. Dr. Saurav Dev Bhatta, Education Director of OLE Nepal, who was also the heart and soul of this workshop, conducted the major parts putting strong emphasis on how this training should be delivered to teachers.
OLE Nepal had prepared a training manual with help from trainers from NCED, DoE officials, and teachers from the current test schools. A copy of the training manual was given to each participant. By the end of the workshop, participants had read through the manual and discussed its strengths and weaknesses. Their feedback was taken positively and necessary amendments were made before it was made ready for the residential training for the teachers of our pilot schools. Most participants commented that this training manual followed a new modality that was very effective and should become NCED’s standard training manual on ICT-based education. They also expressed the opinion that the training program should be turned into one of the standard training programs that NCED offers to public school teachers all over the country. This workshop ended on March 25, after a one day break these participants joined the residential training for teachers from the pilot schools in Kavre district. During this seven day training program, the master trainers are expected to get a firsthand exposure on how to train teachers to implement the processes outlined in the manual.
This training is currently being held at Malpi International School, Panauti. In addition to observing the training sessions for the seventeen teachers from three pilot writing service agreements schools of Kavre district, the trainers are also participating actively by conducting at least couple sessions a day. This time, the work load has been divided among the trainers from NCED and the OLE trainers. The NCED trainers are doing a good job by trying to show the connection between child centric education philosophy, learning styles and the E-Paath activities. It is encouraging to see that eight of these enthusiastic teachers from Kavre district are female and despite their family responsibilities, they have opted to join this training. Two of them have little children and one is in her later stage of pregnancy. Four of these female teachers come from Jana Jyoti school where XO laptops had already been distributed last year. The teachers said that this was the first time they learned how to open the laptops. They commented that they did not know children could have learned so much using these online laptops. Although they had taken a long time before deciding to join this training, they do not have second thoughts about their decision. They now feel that the laptops from last year that were being stored in children’s houses will now come to life.