Addressing health and education divide through computer literacy
Health Foundation Nepal (HFN) has been implementing Computer Literacy Program in 21 Public Schools of Chitwan District. The key objective of the program is to provide computer knowledge and skills to primary and secondary level school students and initiate connection with peers at national and international level. HFN has provided two computers with basic software to each participating school. HFN has also hired a computer instructor to facilitate teaching and learning sessions at schools and also monitor the program for its effectiveness and future directions. HFN has been providing technical assistance to develop video tutorials on basics of computer use, plan sessions, assess knowledge and skills of students and conduct periodic meetings with school teachers and members of management committees.
HFN Kathmandu office has gathered some information and feedback from school teachers and principals from Jan 21-28, 2019. Below is the summary of findings:
1. More than 2200 children have directly benefited from computer literacy program.
2. The number of students in each computer class varies from 40-90.
3. A computer instructor, hired by HFN, has been visiting each school weekly or fortnightly based on the local need. However, there are still some schools where computer instructor has not been able to facilitate the computer sessions.
4. Time duration of each computer session facilitated by Computer Instructor varies from 45-90 minutes. This is based on the local need and time allocated by participating schools.
5. Overall impression of school management towards computer literacy program and newly hired computer instructor is very good. In some cases they are very happy with knowledge and skills taught by computer instructor.
6. Computers are placed in a separate room in 4 schools, in an office room in 6 schools and in a library room in 4 schools. Rest of the schools do not have separate room for computers and are kept in a shared space.
7. Only five schools have introduced computer course and only three schools have additional computers than those provided by HFN.
8. Computer instructor has been teaching on various topics based on the need of students. In schools which have introduced computer courses, instructor facilitates training based on school courses.
9. Only 9 schools allow their students to practice computer in the absence of computer instructor.
10. Seven schools felt that they need internet in the schools to strengthen teaching-learning environment.
11. Six schools felt that they need additional computers (2-3) due to high number of students interested in learning computer skills.
12. Some schools also felt that there is a need for computer training for teachers.
Overall impression: Computer literacy program is running very well, and HFN also need to engage with members of school management committee and computer teachers to strengthen the program.
A report by Madan Bhatta, MPH