Nepal’s schools have been closed now for nearly five months, and while some have shifted to online classes, Zoom and YouTube are not the answer for schools in the districts. Teachers fear many students will have dropped out when schools physically reopen.
Ichksha Pandey, 15, is a student in Nauthar village of Lamjung and dreams of becoming a nurse to improve healthcare standards in her village. Shreya Thapa, a fellow with the Teach for Nepal project says she is one of the sharpest students in class, a keen and curious learner.
For the past three months, Pandey has been attending television classes broadcast by the government. But it is difficult when her father scolds her for spending too much time on schoolwork at home, she says.
“I have to do all the household work because there is no one else in the house to take care of it,” she says. “My parents didn’t go to school so it’s hard to make them believe my education should get the most priority.”
Pandey is determined to continue her studies, but has seen classmates and juniors lose interest in school during these months because some do not have access to television and radio. Those who do are quickly discouraged without teachers physically present to hammer home the importance of education and walk them through difficult problems, she says.
“Relying on technology won’t work for us,” said Moin Uddin, an alumnus of Teach For Nepal, an organisation that tries to address the inequities in education in the country. “COVID-19 has to end, school has to start. That is the only way out.”