Madanpokhara CMC extends its network to village schools
Four new community telecentres were established recently by Madanpokhara community multimedia centre (CMC), in schools belonging to the village development committees (VDCs) of Madanpokhara, Telgha and Rupse in Palpa District of Nepal, in collaboration with UNESCO.
"The community telecentres have been set up with the objective of increasing access to ICTs at the village level. Our aim is also to make sure that students can listen to the distance education programme of Madanpokhara CMC", says Gunakar Aryal, Station Manager during one of the planning meetings of this new initiative.
The distance education programme of Madanpokhara CMC, called Hamro Pathshala (Our School) first went on air in August 2005. The programme is produced by local school teachers of the four ICT centres and focussed on areas that will help increase the pass percentage from the present dismal rate of 26.43% in Palpa District.
The management team of the telecentres comprises of school teachers, members of the VDC and listener club members who are responsible for the operation of the centre and work closely with Madanpokhara CMC. "We are grateful to have the first computer in our school. We have over 900 students and everybody is excited as majority of the students are seeing a computer for the first time." says one of the teachers from Damkada secondary school.
The Damkada school alone has about 30 blind students and the management hopes, that with the introduction of the computer, visually challenged children will not only be able to listen to CMC Madanpokhara's programmes but also to produce their own audio programmes. People with disabilities are being trained this month to produce audio content using special software which will then be aired by Community Radio Madanpokhara.
"We are piloting this in four schools and would like to increase the network to involve more village schools in future. Madanpokhara CMC will be the main hub through which all these centres can share the audio content", says Gunakar Aryal. At present the four centres are located in the Sharda higher secondary and Damkada higher secondary school in Madanpokhara VDC, Mandali secondary school in Telgha VDC and Karnadhar secondary school in Rupse VDC.
Community Radio Madanpokhara established in 2000 with support from UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication. Madanpokhara is one of the first village based radio in Nepal and South Asia. The CMC facility comprising of new technologies like computers, Internet and specialised software applications was established in August 2004 in collaboration with UNESCO.
CMC- Combines community media (radio and television) by local people in local languages with community telecentre facilities (computers with Internet and e-mail, phone, fax and photocopying services). UNESCO's Global CMC Pilot project is supported by Swiss Development Corporation.
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