“Garden of Knowledge”: How “Gan Batika” Helping Students Left Behind
I travelled from Kathmandu to the Terai region of Nepal, which is at the south and at the outer foothills of the Himalayas. This region is known for large areas of grasslands, savannahs and subtropical forests. The temperatures are much hotter and drier. Chances are when you think of Nepal immediately the mountains come to mind, but this region is important for Nepali for many reasons and I had the chance to go to visit a town called Kapilvastu.
Garden of Knowledge
As you might have already guessed, this post is about education, but not just any kind of education. This is a program called “Gyan Batika”, which translates from Nepali to Garden of Knowledge.
This programme is designed and implemented by WeWorld, under the project “Partnership for Equity and Access in Kapilbastu” (PEAK), to help students who are falling behind in education.
Despite slowly improving education systems, many students leave formal education each year and any face learning difficulties. In fact, I was told that on average girls in this areas don’t continue education past class 5.
This class is designed out of normal school hours, usually in the late afternoons to support students who are “falling behind”.
I spoke to a Gyan Batika Facilitator, who supports the programme and facilitates the education with the students, and he shared his story about working with the students. He said, “I used to be a teacher, but I realised that I want to help the most marginalised students so now I am a facilitator.”
Another Gyan Batika Facilitator shared similar ideas and added that as a facilitator she is not directly a teacher, but also a friend – someone who encourages the students to continue to study. She also told me that since Gyan Batika started, she has noticed considerable improvements to the children’s hygiene and attendance.
The children at the school were full of energy. While some were very shy, others were ready to jump up from the floor and introduce themselves.
Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education
For me, this project really demonstrates a strong link to SDG Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Education is a fundamental human right and it is inspiring to see efforts to lessen the gap between children who are out of school or fall behind. According to UNDP Nepal, “since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education.” Education is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.