Our first teacher training session isn’t until next week, but we have started to visit schools to get prepared. We are trying to learn about what schools are like in Kathmandu so we know how we can best help the teachers we are working with.
The first school we visited was a public school. Public schools in Nepal are free for families because the government pays to run them, just like in Canada. Unfortunately, the government of Nepal doesn’t have as much money as Canada, so the public schools don’t have many resources.
Moura Bauddha School. There are three stories of classrooms with open-air hallways connecting them. This photo is taken from the field where students play.
The school rooms we saw were small and completely filled with long benches and tables where children sit. Classes at this school have forty students per class! There is no room for book shelves, carpets, or tables for small group work. The only other things in the classroom are a whiteboard and a stage at the front of the class.
Forty students sit on these benches and work at the desks.
The teachers need a stage because they teach differently. They stand at the front of the room and read to the class from a textbook, or write information and questions on the board that students must copy into their notebooks. Most of the work students do is individual, silent desk work.
Mlle Dent reading the advanced work on the whiteboard. Do you see the stage at the front where the teacher stands?
We noticed that teachers had left information on their whiteboards and we were impressed with all the material students in public schools learn. We saw classrooms teaching biology, accounting, and advanced math. One grade five student we talked to was doing math that students in Canada do in grade 7 and 8!
School days are the same length as in Canada for public school students, and students here will walk or take a bus to school too. One difference is that students stay in their classroom for learning time and teachers rotate into the room to teach different subjects. Students may leave their classroom to visit the computer lab, but there is only one set of computers for the whole school. Students also leave class at break time to play outside in the school yard during breaks. Do you notice anything different about this public school’s yard?
The schoolyard where students play. Do you notice the visitors to the yard?
For students whose families can afford to pay for school and believe education is important, there are private schools. The price for private schools varies. Some are only $30 per year, but high quality private schools cost $1,200 per year or more. The more money that students pay, the more money the school has to run. Private schools often run for longer hours. One student we met goes to school from 8am – 6pm. In the morning and evening, see does extra-curriculars or clubs at her school. Popular activities are traditional Nepali dance, karate, singing, games, or music lessons.
What’s the vegetation like? – Owen
There isn’t a lot of vegetation in the city because there are so many roads and buildings, but we have seen a few unique plants like this poinsettia tree below. You might have heard of poinsettias because they are popular Christmas flowers. This weekend we are going into the mountains where there will be a lot more vegetation and I can tell you more about it then!
Can you describe the size of the stores, compared to ours? – Lily
There are large and small stores just like in Canada. However, in Kathmandu there are only a few large stores (the size of a department store or grocery store in Canada) and many small stores (the size of a Canadian convenience store). There are also some VERY small stores the size of a walk in closet. The owner of the shop sits in the middle and can reach all of their products in the whole store from where they sit!
Is the food spicy? – Owen and Nathan
The food has lots of flavours and spices in it. I haven’t eaten anything bland while I’ve been here! Sometimes those flavours are spicy which I really enjoy. Some of the other teachers don’t like it as much though and their faces get very red from the spice as they eat!
Please describe the Nepali New Year. – Marcus
I’m really looking forward to the celebrations next week! I don’t know much about it yet, but I’ll make sure to take some pictures and talk about it in a blog post next week.
What food do they use turmeric in? – Mrs. Wright
They use turmeric in all sorts of food here, including tea! You can even get fresh turmeric roots to cook with. I also like turmeric!
Have a happy weekend readers and I look forward to updating you again on Monday!