We met up with the School Head- Mrs Nepal and her English teacher yesterday. It was a very productive meeting.
Normally I would catch 5 minutes here and there in her office, in between queries from parents,her staff and the children.This was the first time I had a chance to have 2 uninterrupted hours of her time, exploring , discussing and understanding both our perspectives. Being a school holiday , Mrs Nepal was able to come to Uma's before going to the school to do some catching up.
Since my last visit in September 2010, the school took out a loan to have 8 new toilets built. It was a very pressing public heath issue I understand. I have been invited to visit the school on sunday to see the progress they have made in the various areas
Through total misunderstang on my part, it would appear that the school curriculum do include English language. The teaching medium is Nepali at the moment. However they welcome any help the charity can give to improve the language skills of the pupils there.In fact, the school has introduced English as the teaching medium this year for the first 3 junior grades.We had discussion around useful aids to engage the children more. A continuous audio video tape playing on a big screen would be useful. Something to plan for in the near future.
The purchase of 4 computers was discussed. From the school 's point of view , a sturdy and reliable photocopier is what is urgently need .The school currently spends s lot of money getting printing (exam papers termly for its 675 pupils among other things ) done outside. Just imagine running a school without a photo copier in UK ! However, the purchase of a photocopier would mean that we will be left with just enough money to buy one computer. But needs must. Uma is trying to source one @ 745 pounds sterling. There is no such thing as a contract for x years here in Kathmandu I am afraid. I am convinced it will save the school a lot of money each year. Hopefully the trustees agree with my view.
The school library could do with stocking up of more English books. They could be adventure/fable/ scence fiction, as well as factual books about the world aroud us.I showed the Head some of the books that I sourced from charity shops to ascertain the type and level the school needs.I feel sure this is an area the charity and its supporters would be able to help by donating unwanted dictionaries/encyclopaedias etc etc
The equipping of the science lab was discussed. Mrs Nepal will get the Science teacher to do further work on the costing before my return on 19th
The other important aspect we discuused was looking at ways of how ,on the chariity's behalf,Uma could be more involved with the school through joint projects with her children from the orphanage,as well as using her volunteers to teach English in the school.For longer term, possibly plan for an exchange programs with UK school children with both the orphanage and school children. We even talked about a cultural show involving both lots of children, and do a tour in UK.We fully understand the implication of that.However, it is good to dream , and dream the impossible. So, Watch this space :)