OLE Nepal’s venture into open sourcing E-Paath(2-6)

OLE Nepal’s pursuit of digitizing educational material up to grade 10 recently reached a major milestone as we completed the development of content for grade-8. Although this is quite the achievement, computer technology is such an ever evolving field that the content developed for grade 2 to grade 6-using flash- have become technologically outdated. Consequently OLE Nepal in our endeavor of improving education through computer science decided to make our code base for grade 7-8, developed using HTML5, JS and CSS, open source and involve the students, in various fields of computer science, into our project to redevelop the content for grade 2-6.

The college we have currently approached and have started working with, to a certain extent, are:

  1. Thames College(10-15 students) ashish
  2. Apex College(10-15 students)
  3. Pulchowk Campus(10-15 students)
  4. Kathmandu University(10-12 students)

We are also looking into other possible colleges to collaborate with.

So far the response from the colleges and the number of students interested in being involved with our project has been very encouraging. Thames college, so far has been very proactive and we have already had multiple workshops with their students where we introduced them to the various programming approaches, good programming habits and libraries used in our project. Currently they are busy appearing their board exams however as soon as they will be done with their exams we will move into the next phase of our collaboration with them where they will develop the content of E-Paath for grade 2-6.
On a more personal note is was very interesting to see a good number of female students interested in our project. Female participation is something the field of Computer Science has not been able to attract for the longest time but the current bulk of female students pursuing a degree in Computer Science/Engineering seem intent on breaking the trend of male dominance in our field and bring some fresh perspective that can reinvigorate the existing crop of people in the technical sphere. It was very encouraging to meet the IT club of Apex college, where both the Chairperson and Secretary were female and their group had a good bulk of female participants.The other group that I was really impressed by were the students from Kathmandu University. These students took the initiative and approached us on their own and their group visited our office for the workshops all the way from Dhulikhel which had me in awe because personally, I was never as resourceful as this bunch during my college days. Their active participation and desire to better themselves by going beyond their prescribed syllabus is indicative of their pro-activeness.
We intend to have at least two workshops in each college so that the experience of the students in transitioning from a college environment to the sphere of IT professionals-open source contributors-is as smooth as we can possibly make.
Finally, we at OLE Nepal are very positive with the amount of progress we have made with integrating the colleges into our E-Paath 2-6 project and feel that the approach we are taking has the potential to be a mutually beneficial venture where the ultimate beneficiary will be the students seeking quality education in various parts of our country.

Hit the ball for Nepal

DougieDougie Foster is an Evolutionary Anthropology student working as a research assistant for the project run by the University of Oxford investigating the transmission of caste status. He has traveled to Nepal couple times in order to conduct the research in his field of study. During his third visit to the country, which happened to be around time when Nepal was hit by the massive earthquake, he came to know about OLE Nepal.

After learning about our work , he decided to organize a fundraising event in London, United Kingdom to help us in our earthquake relief efforts towards school rebuilding. Dougie organized a fulfilled tennis match on 19th of July, 2015 which was attended by more than fifty enthusiastic participants and was named “Hit the Ball for Nepal.”

The event was a great success in terms of the funds raised as well as in spreading an awareness about OLE Nepal’s objectives. The fundraising campaign run through indiegogo met the target of 1500 pounds.

OLE Nepal team would like to heartily thank Dougie for organizing the fundraising event to help uplift the education of children affected by recent earthquakes in Nepal.

Re-posting Dougie’s story about OLE Nepal:

OLE (Open Learning Exchange) Nepal open up whole new worlds of learning for children in Nepal who have limited access to adequate educational material, or none at all. By providing remote schools with cheap, custom-designed laptops that store a wealth of engaging content, OLE Nepal provide the keys to unlock children’s potential, desperate as they are for exposure to new ideas and technology. Not only that, but the laptops have been shown to actually redefine pupils’, teachers’ and communities’ approaches to what education is. Rote learning fizzles out as pupils take more initiative in their classrooms, and truancy levels plummet because they are motivated to come in to school and use the OLE Nepal computers to discover troves of information. The PCs offer multilingual interactive exercises in Nepali, English, Maths and Science, as well as a host of other incredible features- access to 1000s of online books, Wikipedia, virtual instruments, lessons in coding, and the ability to chat with pupils from other schools. And it is all open source (which, if you’re a Luddite who hasn’t heard of the phrase, is something really cool!) For more information on the content provided, see here: http://www.olenepal.org/E-Paath/

Having taught in and observed a group of rural schools over the past 3 months, I arranged to meet the OLE team the other day at their office in Kathmandu to find out exactly what they’re up to, and can personally attest that what they are doing is revolutionising Nepal’s education sector. The Ministry of Education are fully backing their work, well aware as they are that the system needs shaking up, and that technological literacy will play a vital role for the future of Nepali children.

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A fun tennis match to raise funds for OLE Nepal

After the harrowing earthquakes earlier this year, OLE Nepal are zoning in on the worst affected communities. Pupils there may have to sit under tarpaulins while their schools are rebuilt- we can help to provide them with the necessary materials to continue and greatly enhance their education, and, in turn, their lives.

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Group picture of the participants. Thank you guys!!

A huge thank you to everyone at OLE Nepal for their hard work, and Jai Nepal!

Portraits in relief center


Our volunteers from OLE Nepal have been working with children in Tundikhel relief camp for over a month. They bring interactive learning materials in child friendly XO laptops for the children. The children can explore various learning activities in Math, English and Science in Nepali, English and Chepang languages. The children look forward to using these laptops and they seem engaged in those learning activities. It was enlivening to meet children from various backgrounds , interests and aspirations. While we got to interact with them helping them learn, we also took their interviews along with their portraits.

Photo Courtesy: Sanjog Rai

portraits

Sunima Barami

Nabina Karki

Suraj

Sunita

Suraj Lama

For more pictures from Tundikhel: http://blog.olenepal.org/index.php/archives/1623

Sindhupalchowk: ruins and relief

On May 20, I travelled from Kathmandu to Liskankhu, Sindhupalchowk to help with a relief program. Sindhupalchowk is one of the most severely damaged districts by the earthquake. It had been less than two months that I had travelled the same area admiring beautiful lush villages. Now to see the same villages turned into rubble was heart-wrenching. But it was also relieving to see see people coming together to help each other. Many temporary housings were built along the way on locals’ effort and I was also able to witness a relief program, that was very well-managed by the village committee.

Most of the houses have been destroyed by the earthquake. Even the houses, standing upright are damaged from inside and unliveable

Most of the houses have been destroyed by the earthquake. Even the houses, standing upright are damaged from inside and unliveable

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Two girls holding flowers to welcome relief workers. A temporary housing on the background.

Two girls holding flowers to welcome relief workers. A temporary housing on the background.

temporary housing built by locals

temporary housing built by locals

People carrying relief materials to their homes.  Buddhist shrine at the side of the road.

People carrying relief materials to their homes. Buddhist shrine at the side of the road.

people waiting in line for relief materials

people waiting in line for relief materials

volunteers carrying relief materials

volunteers carrying relief materials

Since most of youth have gone abroad for employment, it was common sight that old folks had come to receive relief materials.

Since most of youth have gone abroad for employment, it was common sight that old folks had come to receive relief materials.

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also mothers with young babies

also mothers with young babies

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“Our school is 2 hrs away. The school is damaged by the earthquake. We don’t know when we will be going to school again.”

damaged wall of school roof

damaged wall of school building

education materials inside classroom damaged by the earthquake

education materials inside classroom damaged by the earthquake

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A severely damaged school

A severely damaged school

roofs are crumbled

roofs are crumbled

Landslides like this pose big threats as monsoon is coming

Landslides like this pose big threats as monsoon is coming

 

Khokana Bungamati

On Sunday afternoon, Deepa , Sabrina and I visited Khokana and Bungmati to observe ‘Child Friendly Spaces’, temporary playgrounds set up by different humanitarian organizations to address the emotional needs of children whose lives were affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal. Following are the photo series taken during our visit to the area which was hit hard by the natural disaster, leaving many people homeless.

Learn More about Child Friendly Spaces

Khokana Museum

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Severely damaged and cracked house which is not suitable for habitation

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” आसे, जिनं ग्वाहली याय” “May I help you?”

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Many scaffolding can be seen throughout the alleys

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Little thing is tired and sleepy

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Beautifully carved window. Many of these precious carvings were damaged due to earthquake

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Many lost their belongings and were forced to find shelter away from the place which was once their home

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Cleaning her temporary house built from local wood and tin which she received as a donation

Child friendly Space run by World Vision

Child friendly Space (CFS) run by World Vision

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Children making crafts in Child friendly Spaces. Temporary spaces like these have helped children engage themselves in learning activities

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Children here look forward to these learning activities during the day.

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Wheat fields of Khokana

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Way to Rudrayani Temple

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Deepa gathering information on CFS’s role and discussing possible relief effort that OLE Nepal team could provide for the children

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CFS volunteers with children

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Machindra Nath temple in rubbles. Many religious sites were heavily damaged by the earthquake

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Periphery around the temple

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Craftsmen. They are confident about reconstructing the temples but only if the process is fair and transparent.

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Work has to go on

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From field assistant to a programmer

Transition must have been boring!!

Most of you must be guessing the above statement by the title of my blog. But, I am here to surprise you all.

As a passionate explorer, I am hooked with the anxiety and the butterfly effect I get when setting out for a journey. The feeling of a vicious circle of my daily routine slowly breaking while escaping into the unknown; it feeds my desire to learn and gets me going.

The field visits of OLE Nepal are an adventure on its own. Our project schools are located in diverse locations without any sign of basic infrastructures. Most of the time we had to walk long hours to reach our destination. The walks are comparatively easy then the next task; talking to people and making them aware and co-operative. There were times I slept above a barn and ate what was served. But after seeing the happiness reflected from the innocent eyes of the children who are fascinated with our E-Paath and E-Pustakalaya, it feels rewarding. And, on top of that, the work we conduct during field visits are truly satisfying for one’s soul. It encourages us to do more for them.

Then comes the transition…… It has been 3 months since my last field visit. After shifting from a technical room to developers room, I have been deprived of all the adventures. However, I am focused as the quote says,

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy ,
not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
– Socrates.

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working seriously 😉

I managed to find my own adventure in coding. While it is fun to go places and get our digital educational programs implemented, it is exciting, both as a learner and as a student studying Information Management, to be able to develop these interactive activities. I can not express my gratitude in words towards our development team who dealt with my constant curiousness and guided me throughout this transition process.

I am currently working on grade 7 math activities and so far have managed to develop two activities with the help of my mentors. I feel deep sense of satisfaction developing them as students of different schools in diverse parts of Nepal will be able to learn math with the help of these activities. I feel such because this particular subject has never been my cup of tea.

All in all, it will soon be a year since I joined OLE Nepal team as an intern. And coming back to discussing my transitions, I have had many in this one year. I gained a clearer perspective, learned interpersonal and technical skills, understood the outlook on education and ICT and much more.

It is all because of these transitions, I have evolved as a better person.

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Developer’s team