Ditching the chalkboard for a computer lab

how you’re helping Nepali students learn

They were lucky if they could even find one computer that worked at school. And then a BMS World Mission worker got involved and did something about it.

How did you learn to use a computer? You probably sat in front of one, right? The pupils who went back to school in the UK this week will be learning the same way. They’ll often have access to a laptop or personal device at home, too. It’s easy. Accessible. Normal.

That’s not how it is in Lamjung District in central Nepal, where BMS worker Simon Hall lives and works, training teachers in IT. In Lamjung, only a small minority of students have access to a computer at home. Everyone else has to learn at school, which is difficult as schools don’t have enough of them.

The old computers used by students in Lamjung District, Nepal
The old computers that pupils in a village school in Lamjung District tried to learn IT on. Unsurprisingly, it was hard work for them.

Students learn instead by taking down instructions put on the classroom chalkboard, or written in a textbook – instructions for how to start a computer and work through the very basics. They memorise the steps, and then eventually get to watch a teacher put them into action on an actual computer.

If there are other computers available for students to use, they often don’t work properly through wear and tear, or because of national power cuts. And so it’s back to learning from the textbook for these young people who need IT skills to get on in a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology.

This is why Simon’s work is so having such a big impact in Lamjung. In the past few months, he’s helped four schools through the process of securing the computers and then installing them, and it’s hoped more will follow.

Students at a school in Nepal type on computers during a lesson
Instead of learning IT from a textbook, these students can now learn on a computer. You’ve played your part in making this happen.

Over 100 computers have been installed in schools in Lamjung over the last two years through Simon’s work. The computers are new, publicly funded, and are in rooms that are battery-powered. Schools in Lamjung are being brought into the modern age, with Simon driving them on.

“If students know how to use IT, it just gives them a whole new ability, like reading or writing,” says Simon.

“You need to be able to do this effectively in this day and age, so it’s crucial these students have regular access to computers. And with computers that work consistently and look good too, teachers will be excited and feel encouraged to use the lab.”

The students are understandably loving the opportunity to spend more time in front of a computer, as opposed to simply reading about them. And the teachers are happy too.

BMS worker Simon Hall helps to assemble new computers at a school in Lamjung, Nepal.
BMS worker Simon Hall starts to assemble another computer at a school in Lamjung, seeing the project through from start to finish.

“Everyone is delighted with the result,” says Simon. “As one principal has said, if other schools could see this, they would all do it.”

And it’s hoped they will. We can’t wait to tell you all about it when they do. Great work, Simon.

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