On the 19th-20th June, Classrooms in the Clouds, together with Liverpool John Moores University held an ‘Educational Inclusion and Rights in Practice in Rural Nepal’ workshop. Representatives from LJMU, CITCNepal and CITC’s Sister Schools network were among the speakers and attendees.
Hosted at LJMU’s IM Marsh Campus, the event critically explored themes relating to educational practices, gender equality and the benefits of partnership learning between the UK and Nepal.
Guests of honour included Llami Sherpa, Chhiring Tamang and Mani Kumar Rai, 3 CITC sponsored teachers from the remote Solukhumbu region of Nepal who have been visiting the UK as part of CITC’s teacher exchange project, as well as CITC’s founder Dawa Geljen Sherpa and Education Development Officer Samden Sherpa. The Nepali team shared their own personal stories of how the involvement of CITC has influenced their communities and well as their own professional development.
In a male dominated Nepali education system, CITC promotes the employment of female teachers to act as role models and catalysts of change (supported by the Soroptimist International's Educate to Lead Campaign) and as such issues surrounding the barriers faced in recruiting female teachers were critically examined. Chhring and Llami, both female teachers discussed their own roles and concurred that complex cultural challenges need to be navigated in order to facilitate and support the role of female teachers in rural areas.
Sally Sixsmith, Headteacher from St.James’s Primary School in Stourbridge and co-ordinator of a cluster of Dudley’s CITC Sister Schools, shared her first hand experiences of visiting Nepal to deliver teacher training and discussed how the model of partnership learning can work in practice for both UK and Nepali schools, enhancing global awareness and developing the ‘Rights Respecting Schools’ values which centre around respect and understanding of others.
Dr Kay Standing and Netti Porter from LJMU’s Sociology department introduced the UK based ‘Tender Project’, an initiative promoting healthy relationships. Consideration was given to how domestic abuse and violence can develop and how providing a relationships education can positively impact young people.
Angela Daly, senior lecturer from LJMU’s School of Education initiated a ‘Participatory Learning in Action’ session involving learning resources from the natural environment, a model that could be used cross-culturally within the Nepal – UK schools partnership. Pupil and teacher engagement was explored in groups with UK and Nepali educators coming together to discuss possible lesson ideas and outcomes. Dr Sara Parker from the School of Humanities and Social Science highlighted the benefits of using stories including those from Global Action Nepal and Fair Connections.
Following on from the ‘Learning in the Natural Environment’ theme, the next day Dr Avril Rowley and Kathy Stokell led a Forest School training session in a dedicated forest school area at LJMU involving the Nepali teachers. The teachers were keen to actively undertake challenges and examine how their children could benefit from outdoor teaching and learning methods.
The event was a wonderful and unique opportunity for the CITC sponsored teachers, university academics and UK teachers to come together to share their experiences and learn from one another. CITCNepal is continuing to work in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University to collaboratively support research and practice links with Nepal based education.