Digital Literacy Training in Rural Nepal
We partnered with Microsoft Nepal to deliver a two week intensive digital literacy training course to the Dhital VDC community.
- Location : Astam, Dhital VDC, Kaski District (GPS: 28.292931, 83.907624)
- Institution : Astam Computer Centre, Shree Bhumeshwor Lower Secondary School
- Date : April 2013
- Project : Certified digital literacy training course for 80 teachers and members of the Dhital VDC community + targeted training course for 9 women aimed at fulfilling their needs.
- Category : Training,
Congratulations to the 89 students who, on the 20 April 2013, were awarded Certificates for successfully completing a two week intensive Digital Literacy Training Course.
The course was conducted at the Astam Computer Centre as a joint partnership between the Logged On Foundation and Microsoft Innovation Centre, Nepal.
When we started preparing for the course, we expected around 10-20 students to enrol. But days before the start of classes, the Computer Centre Management Committee was overwhelmed with the number students wanting to attend the course. High school students, teachers and members of the community who attended came not only from the village of Astam, but together originated from four different Village Development Committee (VDC) locations. Together with the 12 computers in the Computer Centre, 15 laptops were specially brought to Astam from Kathmandu. A generator was also hired to ensure constant power so classes could run all day starting at 7am.
The first group comprised of 30 School Leaving Certificate (SLC) level student and a second group of 37 students were at +2 high school level. SLC is the final examination that is given at the end of the 10th grade of high school and is considered the ‘iron-gate’ for entry into higher levels of education. After passing the SLC, students have the option of studying two more years at the 11th and 12th grade to complete the Certificate of Higher Secondary Education (+2).
In April 2012, a group of SLC students on their holiday break approached the Computer Centre Committee in Astam requesting a computer course. “We did our best to provide some training that year and it motivated us to think about how we could provide a proper certified digital literacy training course on an annual basis,” says Mark Pinoli, President of Logged On.
Why is it important to provide such a course in rural Nepal?
The reality is that we live in a global technological culture in which literacy and numeracy are no longer enough. Without digital skills, the existing inequalities between rural and urban areas, and the developing and developed world will deepen.
Logged On is not only providing access to information technology, we are working to see it used in beneficial ways, especially when it comes to strengthening the education of children and young people and creating opportunities for them.
Proper digital literacy training for SLC and +2 students not only provides advantages for academic studies through online research and learning. Having good computer skills also gives them an advantage when seeking employment. The region where we are working, for example, is an important tourist hub and the uptake of computers and the demand for internet for local businesses is high.
“I find myself often being asked to fix technical problems or provide IT advice to friends in Nepal whenever I am visiting”, says the President of Logged On. “I even remote desktop to the server in Astam from Australia to help troubleshoot problems. This is happening less frequently as time goes on and we will keep on training and building local capacity until even the most difficult issues with software and equipment can be resolved in the village without too much effort.”
Main topics covered included: and introduction to computers and how they can help in daily life, study, communications and in business; computer parts and peripheral devices, troubleshooting, introduction to the MS operating system and the desktop, icons, folders, files, task bar, menus, shortcut; use of software including MS Paint, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint; Introduction to the internet, email, Google search, Skype and social networking sites; troubleshooting, viruses and protecting devices from damage.
We were pleased to see that a third group was formed that comprised 20 teachers from a number of schools in the region and two members of the Computer Centre Committee whose skills are being used to maintain computer facilities.
In addition to the 80 students enrolled in the two week course, a women’s group with 9 participants was established at their request to be given a short course on using computers and the internet for communications (especially using Skype). One of Nepal’s major international exports is labour and many rural households depend on at least one member’s earnings from employment away from home. From our research, around 70% of households in Astam have a member of the family working overseas, particularly in the Middle East. So after school hours, the Computer Centre has become a communication hub where families can stay in regular contact and this has been driven primarily by mothers in the Dhital area.
We would like to thank the Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) Nepal for providing an exceptional teacher, Ms Samjhana Bhandari, for the training in Astam. We would also like to thank Allen Tuladhar (MIC Director) for his support and the provision of training in Astam (shown in one of the classes in Astam in the top feature photo). Special thanks to Logged On’s management team Sudip Aryal, Raju Pariyar, Ves Raj Bastola and Bishow Adhikari who gave an enormous amount of effort to ensure the success of the program.