A Year in the Life of Shree Gyanjyoti

Well, what another fantastic year for LEARN’s school Shree Gyanjyoti Community School.  It has been a while since I last posted a blog but I thought that I would wait until the end of their academic year and show just what they achieve each school year.

Once again, the dedication shown by Devi Prasad, Balkrishna Gaire and their whole staff has resulted in many successes and experiences for the pupils at the school.

Some of the little ones enjoying ball games

With your help, we have been able to provide scholarships to children from Dalit and other low caste families, enabling them to receive a good education which would otherwise be denied them.  There are also many poor families from other castes. This year there are 198 students of which more than 100 are on full or partial scholarships.

Devi Prasad reports that the parents have been very happy and satisfied with their children’s learning activities this year (which stands the school in good stead for the year ahead) as the staff have just completed their door to door program finding that parents are delighted to be enrolling their children at the school for the new academic year.

Proud families look on and support their children

Early on in the academic year, Devi Prasad reported that the School Management Committee and the PTA had been reformed with Devi Prasad being nominated as Chair for the next three years (so we know that it will be in safe hands).

You can see just what a relationship Devi Prasad has with the students

In order to maintain the high standards at the school and stay in line with the national rules and regulations, the school has had to increase its fees and the teachers’ salaries slightly.  Also, the Education Act of Nepal states that teachers should get 12 days sick leave per year, which if they don’t use, they should receive pay for.  Our school hasn’t done this (as we weren’t aware of it), so this year they are making amends and have reimbursed 20% of this pay and will continue to reimburse over the coming months/years until the staff have been paid for this in full.  This is all clearly very important – our staff should be given what they deserve and are owed but it obviously puts a burden on our fund raising which we are striving hard to achieve.  The school also experienced a leaky roof this year which has now been fixed with the help of the municipality who covered ¾ of the costs of the repair, the rest being made up from a kind donor who has also covered the cost of the new books needed for the coming year.

The leaky roof repairs – thank goodness it wasn’t monsoon season!

In terms of academia, the school seems to sit a lot of exams (I’m sure that many of our UK pupils (and teachers for that matter!) would be quite perturbed by the number!).  All pupils scored well in the January exams.  Shortly after, their municipality undertook Recovery and Accelerated Learning (ReAL) Plan examinations.  All 110 eligible pupils from our school took part in them and they came top out of 37 schools.  Once again, as almost every year since the school was founded, the final year students came top in their municipality in the annual end of school year examinations. 

Sitting the exams

Whenever Devi Prasad emails to tell us the results of examinations, he never fails to thank God, Michael and Maureen and everyone who supports the school for their contribution to the school’s success.  So, on behalf of Devi Prasad; all staff, pupils and families at the school and all the trustees of LEARN – THANK YOU – without your unending support, this would not be possible.  As well as exam success, the school participated in a municipality organised primary level quiz contest and our three students gained third place in that.

Exam results day celebrations are awards

The school organise many internal sports competitions and activities but they also partake in sports tournaments organised by the municipality such as running competitions, volleyball and taekwondo.  In the latest taekwondo tournament, they gained 3 gold, 4 silver and 8 bronze medals and our three gold medallists were selected for the provincial level tournament, so we look forward to hearing how they do in that.

Great success in the municipality Taekwondo contest

The school management are also intent on ensuring that the children and their families are well cared for.  This year, they organised for Doctors from the medical college in Tansen, Palpa to deliver menstruation awareness to all of the girls in grades 5-8 and also for the girls to be taught how to make washable sanitary pads, that they were then able to keep.  Great for the environment as well as the girls.  The whole school celebrated World Environment Day, enjoying many different activities as can be seen from the photos. 

Learning to safeguard the planet’s future

The school has organised basic tailoring programmes for parents and non-parents which all helps with income generation and have also been able to distribute three goats (using funds from the local municipality allocated for this purpose) to three disabled families to aid income generation for those families – of course, they were delighted with their goats. 

The ladies enjoy their tailoring session
So happy with his family’s goat

The school also celebrated Christmas (although it is not affiliated to any particular religion) following a visit from Pastor Ramu Rayamajhi who taught them about Jesus being the Son of God and the reason He came into the world.

Pastor Ramu and the real meaning of Christmas

Shree Gyanjyoti has also been really actively involved with other schools in their region.  Early in the year, our school organised 2 teacher training days about SSP teaching methods which was attended by 35 teachers representing 13 other schools. 

A great learning and sharing day

They also organised  a meeting for school management committees, PTAs, Principals, Education Officers, etc. from 7 other schools to share good practice and how to deal with challenges. 

Devi Prasad shows the way

In February of this year, the municipality organised a two day scout refreshment camp held at our school.  It was attended by 16  schools, with 40 Scout masters and over 100 guests. It was also attended by our school’s Principal – Balkrishna and our other male teachers.  They are now going to set up a Scout group for boys and girls at our school during the coming year.

Hosting the Scout meeting

One final very exciting development this year is the involvement with our school of a UK group – Engage Nepal with Science.  Our school is rightly very proud of its science education, having a purpose built science lab, good science equipment and a very keen and able science teacher.  Engage Nepal with Science sets out to encourage, empower, inspire and build confidence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  They pair a school in the UK with a school in Nepal and provide equipment and guidance to join together in science projects.  Shree Gyanjyoti are really keen to be involved in that, alongside their already ‘partner school’ – St. Mary’s in Hawkshaw, Bury.  Hopefully, this year will see that relationship develop along with all the positive outcomes that will inevitably occur as a result.

It is so good that our school is not only providing its own students with an incredible school experience and education but also fostering links to so many others that can only be of real benefit to themselves and all involved – taking great education beyond its own walls!

The school opened in 2008.  Since then hundreds of children have benefitted from an excellent education that would, otherwise, have been denied them.  This has only been possible because of the generosity of our supporters. 

‘THANK YOU’  You have changed the lives of these underprivileged students.

If you would like to know more or make a donation, please head to our website: www.learnnepal.org.uk

And please look out for our next blog (to be published soon), detailing our fundraising exploits and how to help us in our mission to continue to provide such fantastic education to our students and those others who are also affected by our school’s inspirational leaders.

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