Home > Education > Mingmar Goes To School, by Ragita Basnet

As an education facilitator I know that when assessing students we should focus on those students who are weaker as well as those who excel. We must assess children’s educational, family, social and economic circumstances to give them a better opportunity to improve. By assessing students in this way we can discover the reasons behind their success or weaknesses and think of ways to solve some of their problems tactfully. I believe that assessing students in this way can help to create positive improvements in all students.

Mingmar is the youngest of all our students, her tiny hands and fingers look as though they have burns from the fire. My attention was drawn to her because she is always in class, participates enthusiastically in every activity, and loves reading. This is her story:

Mingmar lives in Chumchet village, in the Gorkha district of Nepal with her parents, Kunsang and Chhiring and five older siblings. She is their youngest daughter and is just 8 years old. Her parents are farmers and their economic circumstances are poor. Their farm often doesn’t yield enough to sustain the family.

Mingmar spent her childhood working with cattle, collecting firewood and doing household chores. Her parents couldn’t afford to send her to a good school in the district. The primary school in their village doesn’t open regularly and, even when open, it is a dangerous 2 hours walk from their home. Consequently Mingmar did not attend school.

Now, Mingmar attends school through the PHASE alternative school programme. She participates actively in all school activities, concentrates well in class, doesn’t talk during lessons and is very interested in learning. When Mingmar first started school she found learning difficult as Nepali is not her first language. However, thanks to the teaching staff, she can now read and write Nepali and understands the language well.

Mingmar Goes To School

Kunsang, Mingmar’s father says – “We could not afford to send our children to good schools.Our children had to study in the same grade for 2-3 years.. Now, PHASE Nepal has initiated the alternative school programme which has helped our children to go to school. I think PHASE Nepal has done great work setting up these types of alternative schools so that children like mine who are poor and disadvantaged can have opportunities. The teachers of PHASE teach our children very well in spite of the remoteness of this area and the cold weather. I want to thank PHASE Nepal for this.”

Mingmar explains – “I am very happy to go to school. I read instead of working on household chores. I am now able to read the alphabet and also to read and write in Nepali. The teachers are nice and helpful.They help us play games. Also the sisters from the PHASE clinic come here and teach us about brushing our teeth, washing our hands and keeping the school surroundings clean.”

Chhiring, Mingmar’s mother expresses her thanks – “I studied in an adult literacy class run by PHASE Nepal and my daughter is studying in the alternative school. Now, I can also read and write Nepali like my daughter does. I think PHASE helps people who are denied the bright sunlight of education.’’

PHASE Nepal alternative education (or “catch up”) classes, where children are taught in small groups, near their home, in an inclusive environment. This gives them basic literacy and numeracy skills, and often enables them to continue into mainstream schools at the end of the programme.   These programmes are run alongside the government and the aim in the longer term is to create fully functional government schools, this has been successful in three of our project areas in Sindhulpalchok.

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