Some of the current issues in primary education in Nepal:
Parents are too poor to pay the costs of better education Many parents, although still not all, see the importance of better education. However, they cannot afford to send their children to private schools. At village schools we see many children without books, notebooks or even pencils.
Children do not have access to drinking water at every school Summers are really hot in Nepal. Moreover, many school buildings have a tin roof underneath of which temperatures rise to a maximum. Without drinking water children fail to concentrate. Especially in the nursery and kindergarten classes we often see children simply sleeping with their heads on their desks.
Children are undernourished and thus lack the energy to concentrate for longer periods of time. Nepal is now officially the poorest country in Asia and most children do not get enough to eat, let alone enough of the nutrients that they need. At home they usually get a meager portion of vegetables, and they very rarely eat more than one piece of fruit a week, if even that. The lack of vitamins is obvious. Moreover, many children do not bring an adequate lunch to school and we see children having barely a handful of popcorn to get them through a day at school that lasts from 10 am to 4 pm. Let's not forget that some of these children have to walk half an hour or more before to even arrive at school. Additionally, the same goes for teachers. Many teachers only drink water or tea during lunch break and clearly cannot possibly give the students their best during the last 3 or 4 periods of the day.
Children are being beaten in every school in rural Nepal every day Because of their poor concentration-due to the lack of sufficient water and food, as well as the absence of interesting classes-teachers often feel the need to use aggressive methods like a bamboo-stick to keep children's attention in class.
Furniture is very uncomfortable School furniture is usually very old, used, worn and torn. Children sit on straight hard wooden benches, without backrests, at 4 or even 5 students on a 6 foot bench. How can they possibly sit comfortably on this for 7 or 8 class periods a day?
Schools lack materials to teach in creative, interesting ways. Village schools often have only a blackboard and some pieces of chalk as material for a teacher to run the class.
Teachers lack training to teach in new interactive ways that stimulate the children. If a school does not have a large range of diverse materials, it can only compensate for this by a teacher with a range of diverse techniques like having children come to the blackboard and write or draw something, play hangman, do a guessing game with drawn pictures on the board, make groups and do role-plays, having sing-a-longs, etc. But probably not a single teacher in rural Nepal has ever seen any of these techniques being displayed in practice. How, then, can they apply them?
Children are not creative When given a sheet of white paper and some color pencils in class most children will just stare at their blank sheet for many minutes. Then finally one child starts to draw a flower or maybe a Nepali flag. At the end of the class period we surely end up with at least 20 flowers or 20 flags.