Last December, we received good news: INTENT Nepal can start the first research based teacher education programmes in the country. We will focus on student active learning, both in distant learning and on campus, because although the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases are decreasing, Nepal is still suffering severely from the pandemic. The government has launched an education campaign te reopen schools in a safely manner.

Education campaign for reopening schools

At the height of nationwide and local lockdowns, the learning of nearly 8.5 million schoolchildren was put at risk by prolonged closures of educational facilities. While schools have begun to reopen in some areas where local governments have deemed the risk of COVID-19 as being low or under control, the persistent risk of infection in many other regions continues to pose a challenge to reopening efforts.

In January the Government of Nepal and partners have launched an education campaign to help children continue to learn safely during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, through guidance on safe reopening of schools and the use of alternative education modalities. In line with the Government’s framework for reopening schools in the context of COVID-19, the campaign engages parents, caregivers, teachers, school authorities and local governments – as well as children themselves – with information on the standard public health security protocols to prevent the spread of infection in areas where schools have reopened.

Funding for student active learning

The INTENT consortium received good news in December. Their application for funding was accepted by the Norwegian NORHED programme (Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development). With this funding, INTENT Nepal will start the first research based teacher education programmes in Nepal, focusing on student active learning, both in distant learning and on campus. The research and development project is led by NLA University College in cooperation with Nepal Open University (NOU), Gandaki University (GU) and Early Childhood Education Centre (ECEC), and is related to the sub-programme Education and teacher training.

Through competence building of staff and classroom research, the partners will develop programmes and provide learning materials for teacher education and schools focusing on student active learning, in addition to mentoring student teachers and developing local curriculum. New practices will be implemented in development/revisions of teacher education courses at BA and MA level.

Cooperation with model schools to strengthen quality education

The project will develop a triangle for cooperation between universities, educational centres and model schools, to strengthen the mentoring of in-service teacher students undertaking their practical training. Joint research teams will be established and focus on both universities and basic schools. A main outcome is increased competence in research ethics when involving children and marginalized groups.

The triangle will strengthen the universities in classroom research by accrediting model research schools for intervention studies and action research. This NORHED-part of the INTENT project gives a strong quality input to the project and also broadens the organisational foundation by extending the number of consortium partners.