Global Action Week for Education: A webinar about alternative ways of teaching and learning in a pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on every aspect of human life, including the education sector. In Nepal, educational institutions are once again closed, affecting teaching and learning. Schools that have access to the internet are conducting online classes smoothly, whereas in rural areas, schools have limited or no online connectivity nor the devices needed for it, all of which has had a great impact on the continuity of teaching and learning.

In celebration of this year’s Global Action Week for Education, a webinar on “Teaching and Learning in Pandemic: Alternative Ways”, was organized virtually on April 30 by Youth Advocacy Nepal (YAN) in partnership with UNESCO, ActionAid Nepal, VSO Nepal, and other development organizations, involving more than 95 stakeholders. The webinar provided a platform for participants to discuss teaching and learning practices in the context of the pandemic, and alternate ways to strengthen teaching and learning practices in Nepal.

Emphasizing the important aspects to be considered, the resource person of the event, Prof Dr Bidyanatha Koirala, stated: “Teaching and learning are possible in a pandemic; teaching and learning can be done through any means: through radio, television or even offline teaching centres.”

Similarly, Dr Uddhav Pyakurel, Assistant Professor at Kathmandu University, expressed that the modern education system adopted in Nepal has focused more on teaching than on learning. He further opined that the Nepali education system is largely ignoring traditional skills and knowledge in the name of modernization.

Dr Balaram Timalsina from UNESCO stated: “Learning is possible even during the closure of schools, and these are not alternatives but rather complementary.” He also said that the use of technology in teaching and learning should be continued even after the pandemic.

The two-hour discussion sought to explore some alternative ways that could be used to consolidate teaching and learning practices in Nepal. The dialogue was also intended to empower young people by sharing this context and highlighting their role in the crisis.

Actions can only get the required result if the planning is done with adequate knowledge and understanding among all stakeholders. During this productive discussion, both youth and experts shared their views, emphasizing that learning should be continued even during this challenging time.

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