Report by Biswash Chepang
Date: 17 November 2013
Underprivileged Children’s Educational Program (UCEP), Sanothimi, Bhaktapur has been providing technical education to the underprivileged community since its inception. Among several ethnic groups Chepang, Baram, Bote, Majhietc are some who are marginalized and deprived of basic necessities like: food, clothes, shelter, education and health facilities. The main purpose of providing vocational training is to make them self-sustained and earn and make their livelihood easier. The underprivileged groups are still not exposed to urban areas. So less exposure has led to less urban interaction and these people cannot speak out their inner voices. So it is also difficult to acquire vocational training with this sort of attitude. So general education is necessary to mould their nature and speak out for their basic rights. I (BiswashChepang) as a facilitator have been providing general education to these trainees 2 hours a day for a boys and girls group separately.
General education and its importance:
General education is a simple conceptual knowledge about overall things that is required for all sorts of learning’s. General education is given to build up the confidence level of these marginalized groups trainees and speak out for their rights. This general education also acts as bridge between trainees and vocational institutions. The main objective of general education is to develop some attitudes and skills.
General education class was conducted by grouping the trainees into four groups based on gender and educational background. It consisted two group males and two group females. In order to match up their educational level the trainees below grade 8 were placed in one group and above 9 were placed in another group.
Activities carried out.
To have a friendly and familiar classroom environment rapport buildup technique was applied to know each other in shorter period of time by playing games, singing typical folk song and dancing. This method was very much useful to mingle with the group and know each other quickly.
The formal classroom teaching began by introducing about the needs and wants of human being in relation to their particular trade. Needs included basic things which is a must to learn in trade and wants were some desires that would make their learning’s more fruitful. So the classroom was divided into different groups based on their trades that they were learning in UCEP and made to identify their needs and wants about their trade. This was also an initial step to identify the problem of trainees in learning phase in their trade. The issues raised by trainees were discussed with trade teachers to find out the actual matter. The teachers responded that generally trainees wanting to have new equipment’s while learning are not possible due to budget and furthermore it is not necessary to have new equipment’s to learn during initial phase. So these sorts of trifle matters were settled down by convincing with the trainees to cope up and compromise with the situation and gain maximum with whatever they have.
The trainees were shown documentary on “the Himalayan gold rush” about the Yarsagumba collectors which shows the life struggle of the far western development region people of Nepal and their survival for existence. Trainees were persuaded to work harder in acquiring trade skills and, make life easier by making earnings after their completion of training at UCEP.
Trainees were also taught unitary methods like simple costing, addition, subtractions and divisions as it was necessary in their respective trade. They were also taught to identify their own personality through friends. A person’s name was written at the top of the paper and passed down to all the members of class. So that person gets the feedback from friends with whatever is written in the paper. This was one of the interesting method and trainees enjoyed it all.
As the trainees were learning vocational skills they were taught to start up the small scale business. Some necessary guidance was given to them about raising funds for small scale business. Like taking loans from cooperatives at minimum interest rate, borrowing from relatives, making utilization of self-employment funds provided by the government etc.
Trainees were also taught to write sick leave application letter when they are absent or sick. As it was during festive season the trainees were taught to make greeting cards for Deepawali and Dashain and send it to their friends and teachers.
The initial objective set was met like persuading them to speak up, mingle with friends and teachers. There is still long way to go in shorter period of time. They are many things that need to be taught in general education classes. Larger number of students in a single class might not be able to make everyone equally participative but however it is functioning well. So the new objectives have to be set again. Detail and in-depth syllabus has to be designed to go in systematic order and scientific order and make general education classes really useful and fruitful.