Establish alternative educational programmes, but make them equivalent for formal education
Education planners and practitioners start this morning discussing strategies on how to establish non-formal educational programmes that have the same value as formal general or vocational education during a three day seminar in Nagarkot.
Innovative alternative education methods can take up many challenges facing education in Nepal, including the high number of children remain out of school, the fact that only 56.6 of the adults are literate and the high numbers of dropouts and repetition rates in primary grades.
Traditional formal schools are still unable to address all these challenges. But a strong non-formal education system and attractive non-formal education packages can help cater for the learning needs of all under the condition that they are comparable with the formal education offers.
“Equivalency programmes propose alternatives to formal teaching and learning. They provide opportunities to everyone to learn, especially to the many girls and boys, women and men, who are marginalized and vulnerable”, says Tap Raj Pant, who heads the Education Unit of the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu
“Equivalency programmes must be designed to provide a quality of learning and the skills and competencies that are equal to programmes in the formal system. In this manner, they can open new pathways to education”, says Myrna Lin, an expert in non-formal education working for the project.
This workshop is a starting point of a broader discussion on why these programmes are important in Nepal, what the equivalency programmes should cover, and which are the best frameworks for their planning and implementation.
The event, which is organized by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and the Non-formal Education Centre of the Ministry of Education, is the fourth workshop of a series of training events that UNESCO and NFEC have organized since the beginning of the year within the framework of their joint project "Building Capacities for Strengthening Literacy and Lifelong Learning".
The other seminars focused on family literacy in Pharping in March, on data management and monitoring in Dhulikhel in April, and on integrating life skills in curricula earlier this month in Kathmandu.
More information on the project “Building capacities for strengthening literacy and lifelong learning in Nepal” is available at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/kathmandu/education/capefa-nepal/
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