KATHMANDU, April 3: From kindergarten through high school, students get education in science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM subjects. However, educators acknowledge that schools often lag behind when it comes to formally updating their curriculum to include courses that go beyond the classroom structure. Schools’ curriculums often focus only on theoretical concepts. This hinders the learning experience, as Nepal’s education system still leaves the students with heavy reading, and with no practical learning.
Most educational systems in Nepal still follow a traditional outlook: a great student must have consistently excellent performances in tests. The problem with assessing a student solely based on their test-grades is the materials in the tests are not taught in school classrooms, but are only plucked out from books. The teacher cannot recognize the student’s ability and potential only from their examination performance.
With that in mind, Karkhana, an educational company and makerspace, started a program called ‘BeeCreative’ at Triyog Higher Secondary School in 2014. BeeCreative (BC) is a co-curricular program designed to bring stimulating hands-on experiences into the classroom. These experiences do not replace the regular curriculum, instead they enhance it. BeeCreative aims to create an out-of-the-box learning experience in school, in which 45-minute-long lessons are provided.
BeeCreative offers students cornucopia of activities – arts, craft, music, science, tutoring – that schools may not be able to provide routinely. For an instance, the students are prompted to design a prototype wearable by making rings that react when they touch each other. This lesson is part of the series named ‘Fun with Electronics’ of BeeCreative, where students get hands-on experience with scientific techniques, as well as develop their critical thinking skills.
Students are free to explore their curiosity in the BeeCreative program and bring their ideas to the table. And this is only one of the eye-opening opportunities for the students to explore their potential. BeeCreative designs a learning experience that focuses on 4 Cs: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
“We are not educating our young people properly if teaching practical skills is not part of the curriculum. We wanted to do something that was a little bit different, and I think that’s generally the case with a lot of students who want to join our program,” explained Sunoj Shrestha, co-founder of Karkhana. “Students who participate are interested in science, but they are also interested in the world outside of science.”
In Nepal, failure is shunned upon, which often de-motivates students to learn further.
“What schools are not giving is the optimistic attitude, skills required for them to gain the academic knowledge. People need to understand that failure is a necessity for a student to learn. Student should be able to pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and move forward. We don’t give them numeric marks, we give them feedback. This certainly changes the attitude, behavior of the student towards learning. ” he added, emphasizing on the importance of developing the right attitude.
Schools are also driving to this trend. BeeCreative is currently implemented in a growing number of schools including, ACE, Phoenix, Paragon, Kasthamandap, and Pragya Kunj.