Senior School – Shree Hangdewa PATHIBHARA q. lEARNING english SCHOOL
The Yellow School (Opened 2009)
A Typical Day at School
The morning sees the day start on the playground, as a whole school, with some exercises, and a commitment to Nepal and to doing their best that day. Children are rarely late and there are no behavioural problems… inspite of sometimes bringing toddlers with them. Most have a snack to eat before school, with a tuckshop at the headmaster’s house nearby. They bring rice for lunch. As there are very few vehicles (the occasional taxi, motor cycle or tractor) even young children walk to school – some for an hour or more – usually in a group of children of all different ages. They wear their uniforms proudly as it is often their only complete set of new clothes.
There is a Nepali curriculum to be followed and their country does not expect them to do any practical lessons as resources would be too costly. Our children are extremely lucky to have access to computers several times a week. Inevitably, teachers believe they should teach as they were taught ie by reading the text book out loud. However, at our school, there is more than a nod at asking the children to do the reading (in English) with questions and answers also in English – and children all have their own text books, which have colour pictures and tasks to do at their own pace.
Children enter this school about the age of 6. Each class has a maximum of 30 students in each class. At 15/16, children take public exams and then go on to a variety of schools to study further.
All classes (except Nepali) are taught in English. With Nepal having 129 languages, English is very much the language of study, business and tourism. Maths, Science, Computers, Humanities, Social Studies, Nepalese and English are all part of the National Curriculum.
On the ground floor, there are classes for years 1, 2, 3 and 4 – as well as the staff room. On the first floor, there are classes for years 5, 6, 7 and 8 – as well as the computer room and a basic library. We have temporary classrooms and toilets in separate blocks.
All the teachers are well respected in the community and repay that respect with giving children the help they need.
Our young people now studying at University (medicine, civil engineering, computers, law, electrical engineering, radiography etc) or doing vocational training (eg as a nurse or teacher) have only got there because our teachers go the extra mile. Children are expected to do homework and parents are usually very encouraging to make that happen, although sometimes helping with chores around the farm is the priority.
Break times look like those in the UK; football is popular, little friend groups gather to munch food and to play – marbles are perennial favourites – and all of them want to engage with any visitor. Older children take care of younger ones.
The school feels relaxed and friendly, whilst balancing the very serious task of helping the children to succeed. Parents, grandparents and other relatives (who are generally illiterate) drop in and flick through books and ask questions.
Everyone knows each other as friends who go to family weddings and also knows any problems others may have. The Managing Director or Principal are often the first people to be asked for help on any issue, although there is a strict hierarchy of community elders.
When we first opened the school, the Q.Learning Nepal Trust CIO Founder asked each child in each class what they wanted to do when they grew up.
All these years on, children still refer to Lesley Warburton asking them that question and many have the same ambitions: farmer, teacher, doctor or nurse. Now children usually have new aspirations to being: a software engineer, a footballer, a pilot, an artist, a banker, a lawyer, a construction engineer, an electrician, a scientist… as well as a teacher, nurse or doctor (indeed we have trail-blazers studying all these at universities). And, in a few years, our legacy will be that those children will indeed be in jobs that their older relatives could not even have known about. If we do our job right, they will be living in the village and helping to raise it out of poverty with the 21st Century skills they have developed at this very special school.
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