Joy Leighton founder of Gorkha Development Scheme first traveled to Gorkha in 1988 and witnessed the limited resources available and the rote learning style of teaching in schools she was invited to visit. As a retired teacher, Joy recognised that providing training to teachers would contribute the greatest benefits to improve children’s education and provide a longer lasting impact than volunteering to teach children directly.
Many volunteers have helped in some way within schools and have contributed to English studies, IT, sport and music, but in future we also hope to reach volunteers who have experience in teaching and education to further develop the teacher’s skills and support teacher training.
Teacher Training is without doubt a crucial requirement to inspire and encourage teachers in poor government schools, especially in rural areas where their own training has been limited. Initiated in Gorkha, the training programme has been developed and a number of trainers are now available to run the courses to deliver the training in the region. Inspired teachers with new ideas will lead to better education for the rural children so reducing the need for them to leave families and move to the crowded cities for education.
Teacher Training Courses in Rural Schools
We are most fortunate that former Head Teacher and Gorkha committee Member Laxman Archarya together with Chair and Campus Chief Ram Chandra Duwali, and NELTA (Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) based in Gorkha, have developed a programme which can be delivered to Rural Schools to enhance teaching methods and inspire good practice in teachers.
Volunteers have helped contribute to these programmes which GDS has funded. Elise, Richard, Katie, Naomi, Linda, Eamonn, Sarah and Aiden have all joined teachers in local and remote locations such as Tangli Chowk, Laprak, Barpak and Manakarmina. Travel and conditions for volunteers are often tough but so much is gained by all who attend, and all have reported such positive feedback on interactive and inspiring programmes. See volunteer feedback for a range of reports
This programme has been especially important for schools and teachers in the small rural village schools around Gorkha which were devastated by the earthquake of 2015, with most of the classes still being held in basic shelters five years later. Teaching conditions have been near impossible, freezing cold in winter, sweltering hot in summer, and wet and noisy in the long monsoon, and no teaching support materials!
Teachers want to learn more and be better teachers but need help. They respond so positively to the opportunity this programme brings.
There is no doubt that this is a very effective and efficient way of using the hard-raised funds to make a real and long-lasting difference to the Gorkha community in Nepal.
Examples of Teacher Training courses
Laprak and Tangli Chowk
NELTA President Upendra Dhakal, English teacher at Bal Mandir School, Secretary Krishna Parajuli who is Lecturer of English at Drabya Shah Multiple Campus and Head of English Department. together with key GDS committee member Laxman Acharya, who is Head Teacher of Shree Mahendra Jyoti School, organised the teacher training events in Laprak and Tangli Chowk which Richard was able to attend and participate in.
Over 60 English teachers attended the two three-day sessions which in turn will make a difference to many hundreds of pupils.
In 2019 Trustee/Medical Elective Naomi together with her Mother Linda and friend Trisha were able to join Laxman in rural Barpak which is known as the centre of the 2015 earthquakes. A new school is being built but 500 children were still taught in galvanised sheds!
Teachers gathered from smaller schools nearby for the 3 day training with Laxman.
Training of Trainers
Aiden, Laxman and NELTA
Through our membership of BRANNGO (UK charities working in Nepal), Linda met Aiden Warlow who had lived and taught in Kathmandu for 10 years and aged 82, was interested in contributing to our programme in Gorkha. Aiden has written education books for Nepal including ‘Better classroom Better Learning’ and he took 70 copies with him to Nepal! Gorkha committee. As noted previously, Laxman has undertaken many training courses in rural areas but we need more Laxman’s! Hence the need for ‘Training of Trainers’.
Aiden and Laxman worked together to deliver the 3-day training course to prepare selected skilled teachers of NELTA to help support and motivate rural teachers who will in turn deliver more fun and participative learning.
A further programme was organised with Aiden and several of the trainers including Gorkha Chair Ram Chandra.
At Manakamana 30 teachers from many local schools assembled and were able to participate and gain from the inspiring training course.
New ideas and motivation will result and Laxman together with Headmasters will be able to monitor results.
GDS was thrilled to help fund the programmes together with support from NELTA and the schools themselves. We do hope that this will enable us to help fund many more courses for teacher development when the opportunity arises.
Our thanks to Aiden and Laxman for all their work.