Analysis based visit to school.
It was such a fortunate moment to visit the school in Aalborg and know most of the thing about how school functions with the principle of inclusiveness and promoting personal and professional growth of the children in Denmark.
The inclusion of all the children regardless of social, economic, physical and mental condition was one of the most exemplary model that other countries needs to learn from it. This is one of the lesson for the rest of the world to learn how children and other individual from diverse background whether it be migrants, refugees, people living in slums and even socially constructed divisions such as ethnicity, race are taught in friendly environment.
The aims and motives of the school to support the children in personal and professional growth by teaching the real facts of life and the basic social skills to adjust in the community was what I liked most. The teachings based not only on the national level testing subjects but other group works and adjustment social skills either through games or participative schemas fascinated me most.
I was surprised to see how visually impaired, also the child who could not hear Is well facilitated with the tools and equipment’s to participate normally as other normal children in class discussion and teachings. What I also felt is physically and mentally impaired children in school were not made to feel difference than other children, they were given same education from the different techniques. Everyone had chance to learn the only thing is the pace of learning could be different.
It was kind of surprise for me in comparison to my countries current political turmoil where people have been fighting based on their ethnicity and geographical regions. Our country needs to learn from this school where they have set an example in meeting everyone’s need.
Even the work setting that I saw was interesting!!!
The administrations and teachers in had separate departments but was completely open. To further illustrate this the work setting was open were everyone could see anyone where they are working or not. I think this was also one of the reason for the good productivity in the school where the administrations and other staffs do not use the time in unproductive sectors. This whole process surprised me as I come from a country where the organization has higher bureaucracy and where people are highly valued who are in power relation. Simply illustrating it, so called people in higher authority needs a separate enclosed well facilitated room.
Overall, one day visitation to this school taught me a lot about the school, environment and how inclusion is necessary in modern era in the world of globalization. Inclusion gives dignity and self-respect to the differently abled person which motivate them to participate in activities. Each individual need to be valued and one’s life world needs to be understood.
My academic journey began at the age of five when I was admitted to the nearest government school which was a two-hour walk from my leaky hut. Studying in non-native language was challenging, however, in the early days. Nonetheless, through hard work and dedication I fared well in my classes.
Growing up in a residential national school constituting diverse ethnic groups from all 75 districts in Nepal was an extraordinary feat and, of course, life changing opportunity. I was exposed to varied cultures and customs that students represented at the school. I grew up independent though; taking decisions on whether to study or play especially during the holidays and weekends. Day-to-day chores such as cleaning, gardening, maintaining personal hygiene allowed to understanding personal duties and responsibilities. I learnt to take responsibilities and in the process developed different leadership skills. Over the years, I was assigned different leadership positions and duties at school. For instance, I was the Vice-President of the health and fitness club, where I had to organize different programs, write proposals, raise funds, and conduct various health-related events on special occasions. Team work, collaborations with other clubs within and outside the school, coordinating and managing the club members were among the major tasks that I successfully performed as a leader of the team.
After completion of my Cambridge University’s Advanced Level examination, I left the school to further my Undergraduate education. It was a turning point in my life. I had to live alone in the capital city, Kathmandu. I had to work hard to earn my living- making enough for buying groceries and paying for my small room. I continued my Undergraduate education concurrently working for a job. Finding a job has remained a Herculean task in Nepal. However, I managed to find a job at an organization working to impart education for underprivileged children and worked as a life skills teacher overseeing overall activities of the students. During my three years of Undergraduate education in Nepal, I worked for different organizations, all related to child care and development. Working as a teacher at child care homes, my duties were to promote underprivileged children education. Additionally, I had privilege to coordinate earthquake reconstruction works with local organizations and also worked as a social worker for juvenile justice system.
After my undergraduate education, I started to realize that I needed to give back to my community. I also wanted to help and support many children just like me who are unprivileged and still deprived of basic education in this twenty first century which boasts of science and technological advancements and putting humans in Mars. To this end, I formed a group of likeminded people who are passionate and poised to volunteer for the upliftment of our community via implementing developmental programs in the community. With my leadership, we developed “One Sponsor One Child” project to support the education of those needy and underprivileged children. Currently, there are 14 children under this program funded by sponsors and are studying in residential boarding schools.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use it to change the world” said Nelson Mandela. Understanding the difference that education can bring in the society, I along with my team of 11 members developed a livestock entrepreneurship program. As a team leader, I was successful in supporting 50 households to improve their living standards.
In addition, I worked day and night during the time of crisis and emergency management when the earthquake measuring 7.8 Ritcher scale struck Nepal in April 2015. Through the funds provided by the Society of Ex-Budhanilkantha Students (SEBS)-North America, I carried out an immediate relief work for the earthquake victims in the community. The program benefited 600 individual members directly. Community people were happy to receive immediate support which brought a sign of relief for them. Recognizing my service toward the community in need, I was awarded “Outstanding work” during the time of crisis by SEBS-North America. Working at the grass-root level with the community, learning and growing with them, and working for them were my biggest strengths. While at work, I developed effective communication skills dealing with local people and assessing their problems at hand. I learnt to adjust in difficult situation during the time of emergency response helping others. I also learnt to develop projects, write proposals, make plans, budgeting skills, and implement what I have learnt for the good of others. What I have grown into today is a more independent individual who cares for those in need and dreams of more just and equitable society.
There are significant differences between the education system in Nepal and here in the UK. Postgraduate courses in the UK mandate students develop critical thinking and analytic skills. The role of lecturers and professors is not to teach how to do it but to show just the way of doing it. Whereas learning and teaching techniques in Nepal have mostly been rote learning whereby students memorize sentence-by-sentence by repetition. Although the postgraduate life here is a bit challenging, the course structure and the teaching concepts have helped me develop problem solving skills, working both independently and as a team player, and develop communicating skills (in writing, and via oral and poster presentations, and public speaking). Meeting deadlines, time management and prioritizing activities are also areas that I have been improving.
Lok Raj Pokhrel
“Biswash” is a Nepali word which means trust in English, it’s the title that I am given after 9 days of my birth during naming ceremony in Hindu culture which we call it Nawaran by priest. I called it as a title because it will be tagged to me as Biswash throughout my life and also after my death. Chepang is community or a tribe which is highly marginalized and disadvantaged group of Nepal, which is my family name. Chepang is my mother tongue and Nepali is National official language and English is my third language.
Winning the trust of everyone as per my meaning of the name, I began my journey of education as a scholarship student from kindergarten level as I belong to deprived community of Nepal. I was provided foods and lodging in community school for Chepang community in city area- Chitwan district which is 6 hours walk from my home. With my hard work and diligence in my academic results I was selected to study full scholarship student in Budhanilkantha School one of the best school in Nepal to continue my education from grade 4 to Advanced Levels course of Cambridge University-UK. It was the end of my residential schooling where I studied from the age of 7 till I was 18.
Residential school had all kinds of facilities where clothes were washed by washer man, foods were cooked by kitchen staff and many more. After completion of A Levels I had to move out from a residential school. Moving out and adapting in the outer environment after 12 years of dependency on school was just like being thrown on swimming pool and learn to swim by oneself, like wise to compete in the market and best fit in. I was taught to read and write and memorise the answers from the articles and books but I was not emphasized on practical skills like public speaking, communication skills, self-management, time management and of course applying for job and competing in the market.
The other side of story starts self-reflecting oneself by keeping in mind where I belonged and where my community stands I thought of working for the welfare and upliftment of my community for my undergraduate course. While I studied my undergraduate I worked as well. I worked in child sector for 4 years; Orphanage, underprivileged children and Juvenile delinquents. I developed some projects on personal level after I understood the dissonance and the discrepancy that existed in the policy level making level stage, project development stage and implementation stage that was practised in our community and main reason of remaining backward despite of several attempts from the government on improvement plans. There existed trickle down approach- where large sum of money being sent for the community development and empowerment program by international non-governmental organizations and government aid were distributed did not reach the grassroots level. So I worked on the ground level forming a circle of 11 members to work. I was not in strong position to support by myself but I asked help from my friends abroad. Which we call Self Sustaining Campaign for Chepang community.