Many of us support various charitable organisations in developing countries like Nepal and regularly make generous donations to help achieve their aim and objectives. However, I just like to request for your support for helping a public school in Narayangarh, Chitwan, Nepal to set-up a completely offline digital library.
As we know education is the backbone of a nation. But, in Nepal, schools are failing. There are handful of private schools in urban areas that achieve good results but are inaccessible to majority of the population. Most of the schools in Nepal are public (government funded) and only about 46% of student from these schools pass the School Leaving Exam.
Last year, as part of my study, I visited various public, private and OLPC schools supported bye Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal and spoke to many teachers. Of course, there are various complex social, cultural, political, infrastructural and educational challenges and there are no technology short-cuts to good education (Toyama). However, the traditional teaching and learning methods can be changed, if not at least supported by providing access to useful and relevant digital resources.
"There is a common misconception that ICT-based Education is about teaching students computer skills. ICT-based Education is about using computers and technology as tools to enrich learning in various subjects such as English, Science and Mathematics" (www.olenepal.org). It will require some work and time just to change this view towards Technology Enhanced Learning in a developing country like Nepal. E-library can also help to understand how technology can be used and support teaching and learning.
"E-Pustakalaya (E-Library) is an education-focused digital library containing full-text documents, books, images, videos, audio files, and interactive educational software that can be accessed through an intranet or on the Internet. OLE Nepal started the development of E-Pustakalaya in 2008 with the aim to improve children’s reading skills and develop a reading culture in schools by giving them free and open access to age-appropriate reading materials and to enable students to do research projects and promote habit of independent inquiry. Since E-Pustakalaya went live in 2009, teachers as well as other adults have also benefited widely from various teaching resources, and educational materials in agriculture, health, environment, local technologies, etc." (www.olenepal.org)
The library is accessible on the Internet at www.pustakalaya.org. But Internet access in Nepal is either limited or slow and expensive. In my school (Balkumari higher secondary school, Narayangarh) there are set of desktop computers already. So the plan is to install a low power server to deploy this digital library and setup a local network and provide an offline access to the library. It will enable better user experience through fast access and quick downloads.
As there are few existing computers in the school, we will just need to buy one machine and few network equipment to get E-Pustakalaya running there. The exact cost depends on the location, but the estimate is that it will be around Rs. 80,000. This will include all the hardware equipment, travel costs, on-site installation and network, and orientation to local community members on how to use the digital library. When available, I will post the detail budget plan.
[ Rs. 80,000 = £576.77 = 903.73 USD = 741.07 EUR = 869.50 AUD ]
The breakdown of the costing per school for one time elibrary installation and orientation:1. Equipment: Rs. 37,000-
2. Travel, Transport, Insurance: Rs. 6,000-
3. Technical setup & Orientation at schools: Rs. 28,000-
5. Office overhead: Rs. 3,500-
Total : Rs 80,000-
The work will be closely monitored, and the progress will be reported through the relevant media. With the help from my dad (who is a dedicated social worker and a retired teacher, who taught more than 30 years in this school), we will encourage the school to adopt and use this offline library. I can assure you that your kind support and suggestions will be really appreciated and acknowledged.
You can email me (sunnysujan at gmail dot com). Twitter @ sunnysujan. My homepage: www.sunnysujan.co.uk
If we could raise more than expected, the available fund will be used to setup similar library in another public school.
Thank you very much.