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Written By:  KSAA    |   Published Date:  10-Dec-2012

Khumbu teachers commit to "make a difference"

Evaluating and identifying good teachers, supporting mother tongue education, and improving guardian participation in schools emerged as the major themes of interest in the two-day ‘Teachers can make a difference’ (‘Shikchyak le chahema garna sakcha’) conference held in Namche Bazar on 8 and 9 December 2012. The event aimed to inspire and motivate schoolteachers and the wider community to work together to improve schools in the Khumbu region. The Khumjung School Alumni Association (KSAA), the Khumbu Multipurpose Cooperative (KMC) and Khumjung Secondary School were joint hosts of the event and shared the costs of food and lodging for the facilitators and participants. 65 participants from 12 community schools in the Namche, Chaurikharka, and Khumjung VDCs attended. Participants inclulded teachers, representatives from Parent-Teacher Associations and School Management Committees, and student representatives.
 The participants, facilitators and organizers all pose for a group photograph

Two facilitators from the Suryodaya Foundation, Tribhubwan University Professor Bidhyanath Koirala and Mr. Lakshman Sharma, headmaster of a model school in Dhading, travelled to Namche for the workshop. During the first day of the event they shared their valuable experiences and expertise on topics including emerging knowledge about best teaching practices from around the world, potential strategies for multi-lingual education, ideas on incorporating information technology into schools and child-centered teaching techniques. Mr. Mahendra Kathet, Headmaster of Khumjung Secondary School, also made a presentation of his observations from a recent visit to schools in New Zealand, while Dr. Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa spoke about the importance of schools as a tool to encourage revitalization of mother tongue languages such as Sherpa. Over the two-day workshop, short videos from the Suryodaya foundation of exemplary teachers, teaching practices and schools from other regions of Nepal such as Baglung and Sindupalchok were also screened. Each of these presentations sparked lively discussion sessions as the participants debated how to best apply lessons learnt within the Khumbu context.
On the second day of the workshop, participants were divided into four groups (headmasters, teachers, guardians and students) and given time to discuss three key topics: how to identify, reward and encourage the best performing schoolteachers; how to incorporate mother tongue education in schools; and how to increase parental participation in school processes. Participants were also were encouraged to raise any other issues or ideas relevant to their groups.
During the afternoon session, each school was asked to identify key constraints and weaknesses they faced, and come up with potential solutions to these problems. Each school then presented a list of commitments that they had made to improve their school.

The workshop was well received, and during the closing remarks many participants expressed the need for similar follow-up programs.
(Jemima Diki Sherpa)