Since January 2020, I’ve been walking every morning to the top of the mountain, to teach the children of Sworek Maidan the English language through fun activities. Last week the principal of the nearby public school called me into his office and (literally) announced to me that we should work together and that I had to share my western educational knowledge with his school. 

Nepal has two types of schools: community and institutional. Community (public) schools receive government grants, and institutional (private) schools are self-funded. Primary education in Nepal is called ‘Basic Education’ and consists of grade 1-8. Secondary levels are grades 9-12. Pre-primary education is available in some areas. Public schools are criticised for not being able to provide quality education, due to the following problems: lack of physical and infrastructures, textbooks, a unified national curriculum, monolingual instruction, and a lack of constructive and critical pedagogical strategies. Furthermore, poverty and social exclusion are the major factors contributing to poor performance. In 1951 Nepal had 10,000 students in 300 schools and an adult literacy rate of 5%. There were 49,000 schools in 2010 and by 2015 the overall adult literacy rate was 63,9% (males 76,4% and females 53,1%). 

The principle gave me one week to come up with a ‘school improvement plan’ and then we had to start. I started off creating exciting interactive workshops about cooperative learning strategies, learning maps, mind mapping, etc. until I looked at the wall in front of me where my life’s mission is written:

To help individuals unleash their inner power, so that they create a life where they feel fulfilled, inspired and empowered.

I realised that if I wanted to do this the right way, I had to step back and act as a facilitator. To be able to make a long-lasting, positive change it was critical that all teachers were listened to and involved in the developing of the end goals and objectives, before even starting at all. 

And that’s how I changed my approach and came up with the following workshops: 

  1. Finding our personal WHY: ‘The 3 most important questions’
  2. Finding our school’s WHY: ‘Our school’s identity’
  3. Finding the WHAT to our WHY: ‘Begin with the end in mind’
  4. Finding the HOW to our WHY: ‘Our school’s strategies’

And so instead of dragging the team with me into my direction/vision of quality education, I erased the ‘School Improvement Plan’ name and wrote:

Improving Education through Collaboration

As soon as the schools will open their doors again (due to Coronavirus all schools in Nepal are closed until further notice), there will be a questionnaire to collect data from the students and teachers. I am currently preparing for the first workshop, and will keep you updated on the progress.