Home Schooling is making an impact
Samjhana (15), Tekendra (13) and Topendra (9) study in grade 10, 9 and 5 respectively. Their school is near their house and all of them are regulars in school. Their father is working abroad and their mother looks after the family. At school, they depend mostly on their teachers for lessons and at home they support each other. Mostly Samjhana supports her younger brothers with homework. They strictly follow the routine they have prepared as part of the home-schooling initiative of Sahayatra II project. Their day starts at 6 AM during summer and at 7 AM during the winter. They spend mornings studying and, in the evening, they do their homework, play, help their mother in the household and have fun.
Samjhana, being the eldest, takes the responsibility of teaching her siblings at home. But being just a batch senior to Tekendra she cannot always answer everything. “We seek the support of our teachers if we have confusion,” she shares. Their mother cannot support them in their studies directly as she does not remember much from her school days. “I went to school up to grade five. That was just a formality. Everyone went to school so my parents thought I should attend one too,” shares Balkumari. She does not think going to school made any difference in her life, but she does not want her children to feel the same. So, she makes sure that the children follow the timetable, support each other in studies and learn so that they grow up valuing education and their lives.
“When Kastura miss called all the parents of the community and told us about home schooling, I was not sure if that would be applicable for a family like mine where one parent is not around and another one cannot teach their kids. But, in the orientation, I came to know that home schooling is not always about book lessons but is also about life lessons. For small kids, for example, a parent who is not educated, can teach by making them understand about the vegetables, colors, and household chores,” Balkumari shares her experience. Parents who cannot directly contribute to homework or lessons of their children support and monitor them by ensuring they are following their routines and asking them to recite the lessons for them.
“The initiative is effective regardless of the education status of parents as it is not always parents teaching their children,” says Kastura, field officer of SOSEC (Save the Children’s partner organization) in Piladi. “It’s more about learning together and focuses more on behavior change of both parents and children. Because of the initiative, children will be more responsible and will spend time consciously while parents will also be responsible to ensure that children are learning both in school and at home,” she adds. Otherwise, parents who have worked a lot do not necessarily have time to focus on children’s learning at home. “The parents think that their duty is done if they are sending kids to school”. This unique initiative has helped both kinds of parents (those who have degrees and can read and write and those who did not have chance to go to school or complete high school) to be a part of children’s learning
Khuman (8) comes first in his class. His uncle is a teacher, and his father is a priest. His mother Shova is also educated. Everyone at home guide Khuman and his sister Gayatri in their studies. Khuman spends a lot of time reciting lessons in the learning corner they have established under home schooling initiative. Learning corner is a dedicated study area established in each home. All the 20 houses of this community have a learning corner. Khuman equally likes playing. Previously, his mother would not let him play much but now he is happy that he can play without his mother asking him to get back to study as it is in his schedule. “Mother wants me to study a lot. I like studying but I also like playing. When I do things as per the routine, mother does not say anything when I play,” shares Khuman. Shova finds it interesting to have play time in the routine.
Like Shova, the concept of having a mutually agreed routine to follow was new to the children and their parents in the community. It was equally new to Kastura who has been leading the home-schooling activity in the area for a year now. “I have a small brother at home, and I taught him and my parents to practice home schooling when I last visited them. The things that we have been doing for the kids here are practical and effective and I thought this activity would help my brother as well,” Kastura says.
Home-schooling has received quite a praise from local government, teachers, parents, and community in the areas it has been implemented. “The concept is gaining more popularity, and this is something that every household can follow.
Even after the project, we can continue home-schooling if the schools and the local government work together on this,” says Chandra Bahadur Rana, Ward Chairperson of Piladi-6, Dailekh. “The ward office is fully supportive of this initiative, and we are also planning to allocate funds for the sustainability of the initiative at least in this ward,” Rana adds.
The approach of ‘Home Schooling’ was first introduced in Sahayatra II project with the intention of continuing education for children at their own homes during unprecedented circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic like the nationwide lockdown. Because it was effective to promote learning at home, during and beyond the emergency and increase meaningful engagement of parents to create a safe and stimulating learning environment at home and provide academic and remedial support to their children, it’s still in practice in the project areas. Center of Education and Human Resources Development under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Nepal Government has also adopted the project innovation ‘Home-Schooling’ and has developed a Home-Schooling Management and Facilitation Guideline, 2078. Till date, 6742 children have been benefitting from the approach.
Save the Children together with local partners is implementing the integrated project – Sahayatra II in five rural/municipalities of three remote hilly districts in the Karnali Province of Nepal: Jajarkot, Dailekh and Kalikot. Funded by Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Sahayatra II aims to improve the status of education, protection, and child rights with a special focus on children from the community most in need over five years (2019-2023). It seeks to enhance the institutional capacity of local and state governments and civil society to respond to child rights violations and create an environment for survival, protection, development, and participation, with a focus on children’s learning, development, and protection from violence; teenage pregnancy and child marriage; and the underlying framework of child rights governance.