“When you ask the kids where milk comes from, they say it comes from the dairy,” complains Pita Kumari Bastakoti, a parent to two girls at Shree Shanti Namuna Secondary School in Butwal. The students aren’t entirely false in this particular example, but it is also important to teach them to observe, think and learn beyond the superficial, visible layer of something as simple as where milk comes from. Bastakoti explains further, “They will only know how to grow a tree if they plant one. Otherwise, they will only see fruits and not know how to take care of it. In the learning process, if they learn both practical and theoretical knowledge together, it will eliminate the need for separate lessons.” Her two daughters have been recently going through project-based learning that allows for hands-on experience and understanding across subjects.
She is hopeful and supportive of the initiative to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the local curriculum. As the world around changes, she thinks it is important for the children to learn and grow with technology. She explains how their villagers are dissatisfied with the production of rice even as they try to use modern technology. The children might be able to bridge the gap in using the technology more efficiently for greater production. She believes the way her children are learning in school right now is appropriate in its timeliness and methods, and stays with them for a long time.
Pratham Pathak, a student of Grade 10 at the same school feels the greatest gap that these innovations at his school has been able to bridge is between students and teachers. He used to be fearful of his teachers and used to think of school as a prison, his school has become a place for him to grow after the changes were introduced. The focus has shifted from studying to score well in exams, no matter what the level of “learning” is to enjoy school and learning with curiosity. The students use computers to research, produce presentations, video graphics, animations to illustrate what they’ve understood. He says ICT helps them to conduct research from home using the internet and other mediums. It lets them sift through other necessary information to understand better, rather than just using the books. It develops a better understanding of the digital media helping them to fit in the globalised world. The teachers have been able to complement this process with a growth in their own knowledge using different sources. This has enhanced their in-class communication.
Better communications, in their own classrooms and in classrooms across the world, has allowed the students to become more confident in expressing themselves and has helped them find their footing as leaders. The collaborative work has allowed Pathak to learn about different cultural values and make friends with students of other countries. He aims to be a businessman in his own country rather than going abroad. He adds that the changes were made possible after his school opted for International School Award run by the British Council.