Training Manual Preparation Workshop

OLE Nepal organized a three day workshop on December 23-25, 2008 to prepare the teacher training manual for the next round of OLPC laptop deployment planned for April 2009. The workshop participants included experts from the National Center for Education Development (NCED) – Nepal Government’s teacher training body under the Ministry of Education, as well as officials from the Department of Education (DoE)’s OLPC team. Teachers from the two test schools – Bashuki Lower Secondary School and Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School – were also invited for a day to share their experience on using , shed light on the challenges faced so far, and give suggestions on how the training program can be made more effective and relevant in integrating the laptops and ICT-based teaching-learning method in their classrooms. Earlier on December 15th, few of the participants had also visited the two test schools to observe how the program was being implemented in the classrooms.

The OLPC Project in Nepal will enter its second phase when the next school session begins in April, 2009. In the second phase, OLE Nepal, in partnership with the DoE, plans to expand the project to more than 20 schools in at least 5 different districts in the country. While OLE Nepal was able to train the teachers from the two test schools for the current deployment, it would be nearly impossible to train teachers in 5 districts scattered all over Nepal without NCED’s involvement. Moreover, since teachers have barely 3 weeks of break between two school sessions, the training programs have to be run in parallel in various places. With NCED’s involvement, not only can the trainings be conducted in parallel, but the project can utilize NCED’s training resources and infrastructure that are located all over the country. Following NCED’s training modality, one of its Master Trainer will be prepared on ICT-based education approach. The Master Trainer will then train other trainers from Education Training Centers (ETC) located in or near the pilot districts. These trainers will in turn be responsible for training pilot-school teachers ahead of the April 2009 deployment. However, before all of this, the teacher-training manual as well as the trainer-training manual need to be prepared.

The goal of the workshop was to prepare the framework that can be used as the base to create the teacher training manual. In addition to the valuable feedback received from the test-school teachers, the participants had last year’s training manual that OLE Nepal had prepared to train those teachers. The first day of the workshop was allocated for needs assessment. After a brief discussion on the points gathered from the school visits, teachers from the test schools answered queries that the participants had about various aspects of the test-phase implementation at the schools. Later on, participants and teachers mixed up in smaller groups and asked to make a list of suggestions that could to be incorporated in the new training package. The groups discussed about a wide range of topics including classroom arrangement, IT literacy, use of laptops in the classroom, classroom management, maximizing use of laptops at homes, non-technical issues and their solutions, parents and community orientation, etc. Suggestions from the groups were later incorporated into a comprehensive list that was used to prepare the framework for the manual.

Participants were given first half of the second day to review the existing manual, and the afternoon session began with participants expressing their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the manual. After much discussion, it was decided that the new manual should conform to NCED’s standard format so that its trainers can use it with ease during training. The training structure was kept similar to that of last year – 5 days of residential training followed by 3 days of on-site training. The teachers will be given at least few days’ time between the residential training and the on-site training in order to organize orientation programs for parents, communities and local stakeholders in each pilot-school area. This time will also be used by teachers to get familiar with laptops and raise their comfort level in using them.

Once the structure and outline of the training manual were finalized, the participants broke into four groups and set out to preparing the manual based on suggestions from Day 1, materials from the current manual, and other points that came out of the discussions. At the end of the workshop, a solid framework for the manual was prepared. It was decided that the OLE Nepal team will complete the the remaining task of filling up various portions of the manual.

In the next couple weeks, OLE Nepal team will work to complete the first draft of the manual. It will then be circulated amongst the participants of the workshop for a review before completing the final draft. The team is scheduled to complete the manual by the first week of February. That will give enough time to prepare a trainers manual and start working with a Master Trainer from the NCED. The teacher training program will take place between the third week of March and first week of April.

This workshop marked a major milestone in OLE Nepal’s effort to bring various government agencies on board the OLPC project. From its inception more than a year and a half ago, OLE Nepal has always held on to the belief that the project will fall short of its goal to reach all corners of the nation unless the government agrees to incorporate the OLPC initiative in its overall education plans and policy. With NCED’s involvement, the project can now benefit from a pool of experts who have in-depth knowledge of the country’s education system, as well as utilize existing training infrastructure to carry out the training programs. At the same time the partnership will help build the capacity of NCED’s trainers in the preparation and delivery of training programs on integrating laptops and ICT-based teaching-learning methods in classrooms.

During the course of the workshop, Executive Director of NCED Mr. Harka Bahadur Shrestha, Director of DoE Mr. Bishnu Devkota, and Deputy Director of DoE Mr. Baburam Poudel paid a visit to get an update on the workshop progress. While all three threw their support behind the project and expressed satisfaction over the ongoing work, it was particularly encouraging to hear the head of NCED Mr. Shrestha say that he wants to see this manual become NCED’s standard training manual on ICT-based education. He further stated 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.

15 Responses

  1. villager January 10, 2009 / 4:16 am

    “Department of Education (DoE)’s OLPC team” It seems OLPC is holding so many governments hostage to further their agenda. Just imagine, with the money being spent on their semi-laptops, how much could’ve been done in schools all over the country. Why do you just support OLPC laptops? With netbook prices coming down by the day, are you working on making that available?

  2. Rabi Karmacharya January 14, 2009 / 8:00 am

    We’d be happy to work with any netbook as long as they are sturdy, durable, low-powered. We are not here to sell OLPC laptops, or, as you wrote, “further their agenda.” We are interested in promoting one-to-one computing and integrating ICT-based teaching-learning methods in Nepal’s education system. And if you can point me to a so called netbook that we can purchase for $200, has a bilingual (Nepali + English) keyboard, is water resistant, has not vents or moving parts, can withstand rough handling by children, I will gladly include it in our program. No matter how much people like to criticize OLPC, there is no denying that they have produced the most well designed laptop suited for learning. And had it not been for the bold initiative by OLPC, you’d not have been able to buy the cheap netbooks in the market right now.

    There is a team of three people at the Department that was set up to support the project in Nepal. Since the Dept of Education is piloting the project in the country, don’t you think it is appropriate to have 3 people supporting it?

  3. villager January 16, 2009 / 7:04 am

    And had it not been for the bold initiative by OLPC, you’d not have been able to buy the cheap netbooks in the market right now.” Will anybody really believe that? Price of computing has continuously fallen for many reasons – low software cost, increasing silicon integration, more efficient manufacturing etc, etc. Why does OLPC make such outrageous claim all over the web? It only hurts their cause. Shouldn’t a non-profit make best use of efficiency of the market rather than fight it? Or claim to be in the same game as the rest?

  4. Rabi Karmacharya January 16, 2009 / 9:44 am

    “Price of computing has continuously fallen for many reasons – low software cost, increasing silicon integration, more efficient manufacturing etc, etc.” Exactly!!! And that is why OLPC was able to produce a laptop for under $200, while other notebook makers were more interested in keeping the price over $1000 by adding all sorts of add-ons and unnecessary software, and marketing them as must-haves. This is the reason Negroponte announced in 2005 that he could make a laptop for $100. Rest of the world including Bill Gates and Craig Barret made a mockery out of him. Now Intel and Microsoft are frantically trying to join the bandwagon afraid that they might lose a huge market segment. Despite your claim above about decreasing costs and manufacturing efficiency, why is it that the price of an average laptop has hovered between $1000 and $1500 in the past 10 years ? The truth is that no one was interested in making small affordable laptops designed for educating children in developing countries because there was no profit to be made there.

  5. villager January 17, 2009 / 7:24 am

    And that is why OLPC was able to produce a laptop for under $200, while other notebook makers were more interested in keeping the price over $1000 by adding all sorts of add-ons and unnecessary software, and marketing them as must-haves.
    Wouldn’t you say then that OLPC should’ve been a for-profit company rather than a non-profit? Well functioning markets like that do not leave opportunities unfulfilled. To many of us, OLPC seems more like a beneficiary rather than the driver of technology progression. You’re right that no one will make rugged laptop for kids in harsh places because the market is very limited. But going from that to saying netbooks exist today because of OLPC is taking that a wee too far?

  6. Rabi Karmacharya January 19, 2009 / 10:46 pm

    It is not for me to decide whether OLPC should be a for-profit venture instead of a non-profit. But if it were a for-profit company, I can tell you that it’d be no different than any other laptop maker whose first priority is to reward its shareholders and investors. Well functioning markets are just that for those who have high stakes in the market. You don’t have to look very far to see that the so called “well functioning markets” have failed miserably when it comes to providing opportunities to and addressing the needs of the low income majority.

  7. Tim Moody February 16, 2009 / 8:51 pm

    Have the districts and schools for the April deployment been identified and can you say where they are?

  8. Rabi Karmacharya February 16, 2009 / 11:42 pm

    Tim. The following are the districts for the April deployment:
    1. Dadeldhura
    2. Kapilvastu
    3. Mustang
    4. Makwanpur
    5. Kavre
    6. Lalitpur

    We are currently working on identifying the pilot schools based on the following criteria:
    – Well run community schools
    – Strong involvement of elected School Management Committee
    – Enthusiastic teachers
    – Good school administration
    – Rural schools

    We have sought the help of the District Education Offices to identify the schools.

  9. M. Hafizur Rahman Khan February 23, 2009 / 10:56 pm

    Hi, I was trying to gather an overall idea about the project that you are running. Is there any site / web address where I may learn more obout the project.

    We as a tecnology based company also looking forward to invest on ICT based education projects that we believe will help in development in quality education anong the poor particularly who are living in rural & remote areas.

    Thank you
    Hafiz

  10. Tim Moody March 6, 2009 / 8:46 pm

    Hi Hafiz,

    This is an OLPC project about which there is lots via google.

    The main web site is:

    http://laptop.org/en/

  11. Tim Moody March 6, 2009 / 8:54 pm

    Hi Rabi,

    When do you expect to get into the areas around some of the larger centers like Janakpur, Rajbiraj or Biratnagar? I am curious as to the rationale for choosing remote areas like Mustang or Dadeldhura.

    Tim

  12. Rabi Karmacharya March 7, 2009 / 1:30 pm

    Hi Tim.

    Implementing the project in large city centers would be relatively easier than in rural areas. Our challenge is to develop a model that can be used to deploy the project in rural areas where there will be minimal technical support. Furthermore, rural areas are more representative of places lacking access to quality education material.

    -Rabi

  13. Tim Moody March 8, 2009 / 4:05 am

    Hi Rabi,

    From what you are saying it sounds like most students in Nepal do not lack access to quality education material unless they live in remote areas. I don’t think that was true years ago when I lived in Joginiya in Saptari district. They had no electricity and a school of about 60 students, grades 1 to 6, for a village of 2500. Are you thinking that places like Rajbiraj and Biratnagar and the villages around them will not need OLPC?

    I sponsor a child in Rautahat and another in Sunsari, so I am interested in what is happening in these areas.

    Tim

  14. Rabi Karmacharya March 8, 2009 / 8:18 pm

    Tim.

    There is a general lack of access to quality education materials throughout the country. However, the situation is more severe in remote areas. Our plan is not to implement the OLPC project strictly in rural locations. Our larger goal is to persuade the government to integrate ICT-based education into the national education plan, which means students at public schools in both urban and rural areas will benefit from easy access to quality education materials.

    We do not have plans to deploy in Rautahat and Sunsari this year. There are a number of factors that are considered when the districts are selected. Firstly, we look for an active District Education Office who is eager to bring the project to the district. Secondly, we need implementing partners who help to meet the cost associated with the deployment. It also helps to have a local partner that we can work with.

    Cheers.
    -Rabi

  15. rdr April 25, 2009 / 5:44 am

    All the planet’s poor kids had to have desktop machines. With fiber optic. Sure! You go to Bombay, Shanghai, Lagos even, you’re like “hey kid, how about this OLPC so you can level the playing field with the South Bronx and East Los Angeles?” And he’s like “Do I have to? I’ve already got three Nokias.” The teacher is slapping the cellphone out of his hand because he’s acing the tests by sneaking in SMS traffic. “Half the planet has never made a phone call.” Boy, that’s a shame — especially when pirates in Somalia are making satellite calls off stolen supertankers. The poorest people in the world love cellphones. They’re spreading so fast they make PCs look like turtles.
    http://gigaom.com/2009/03/01/bruce-sterling-on-olpc-versus-mobile-phones/

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