Children dropout rate reduced
Children dropout rate reduced

Children in Kankri VDC of Rukum are mostly limited in household chores and expected to take care of domestic animals, as sending them to school is still not considered a priority. Mostly inhabited by Magar people, the region is dominated by the Lahure culture which is an age-old trend of joining the armed forces abroad. According to VDC statistics, the number of educated people is therefore less in this area. Parents usually send their children to fetch grass and bring firewood from the forest. Even those who return after school get immediately engaged in household chores.

There are seven Early Child Development (ECD) centres in this VDC. According to Ramesh Magar, MIC Nepal social mobilizer, the situation in all the ECDs is the same. Shila Gharti, ECD facilitator of Tribeni Secondary School at Kankri, said that ECDs work like shelters for children when their parents are at work. She explains that it is a very common practice for ECD children and upper grades students to be irregular and some parents don’t even enroll their children at school. As a result, schools are facing not only problems of lack of active participation of students, the children at the same time are unable to achieve what they are expected to. 

In order to tackle such a critical situation, UMN started working in supporting child-friendly education in partnership with MIC Nepal. “These days, improvement can be visibly seen,” says Shila, further mentioning that they were not aware about how to deal with children in the past and were quite worried. 

With the implementation of Multi-Lingual Education (MLE) programme, thelocal partner MIC Nepal worked hard to assist in developing local ECD materials for teaching purposes in the area. Teachers and facilitators like Shila were oriented on ECD methods and also on the use of locally produced materials, including child-friendly teaching techniques. Regular coaching through mobile meetings was also conducted for effective teaching and learning.

In order to make the ambience visually appealing and vibrant, ECD centres are well furnished with jute carpets, decorated with wall paintings with alphabets and different pictures. ECD facilitator Shila started to conduct classes in an interactive and friendly manner, and children also started using the materials provided. They found the new approach to be interesting, so they started to come to the centre regularly which gradually improved the student participation in the school. 

Shila further shares: “By playing with the materials, children are able to recognize the alphabets easily and are able to read them fast. Children’s drop-out rates have suddenly reduced.”

Out of 13 children that were enrolled, only eight to nine children were regular in the centre last year and many used to drop out as well.But the number enrolled in the class increased up to 28 and the class attendance rate now is also high as compared to last year. Shila describes the current situation: “We do not find a single child that doesn’t come to school in the entire village. This is a big change here.”

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