Tole Shikshya: Improving Learning in the Community

January 25th, 2022 | Stories

As a grade 2 student in Nepal, Bikash found it difficult to maintain his studies when schools were closed because of the COVID pandemic. With his father working as a daily wage laborer in India and his mother working as a daily wage laborer on top of household chores, Bikash and his siblings did not receive support at home with their studies. 

Bikash had difficulty identifying letters of the alphabet, counting numbers, multiplication tables, and other literacy and math skills. Without the guidance to study at home and improve these skills during the school closures, Bikash spent his days playing with other children in the community and taking care of his younger siblings.

To address the needs of children who were out of school, World Education introduced a community learning initiative, tole shikshya. The approach takes learning sessions to communities in the Mahottari district in response to the educational challenges many children like Bikash are facing.  Tole shikshya is a neighborhood-based approach that gathers children in a central location and holds regular learning sessions where pre-primary through grade 3 students gather in small groups.

Originally developed before the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent learning loss during school vacations, the neighborhood learning groups have been expanded to meet the emergency need during the pandemic. Since they were launched, they have been replicated by different donors and international and local NGOs across Nepal. Typically two-hour lessons are facilitated by learning motivators from the local NGOs or trained community volunteers, and even older students.

At the tole shikshya center, Ram, the learning motivator from World Education’s partner NGO Social Development Center (SDC) who facilitated the meetings in Bikash’s community, used various techniques and activities to engage community youth in reading and math. Some of these activities included art, singing, playing, exercises and yoga. He also incorporated materials like charts, pebbles, bamboo sticks, and beans in his activities. Bikash became a regular attendee, where he gradually improved his studies. 

His dedication and consistency in his studies further improved his literacy skills, written Nepali, and mathematics abilities. “This class is different from our school’s classes. It is much more fun and effective! I like it very much,” Bikash said. Observing him immersed in his studies, his parents also expressed joy in their child’s progress and they have become more motivated to support at-home learning.

In 2021, World Education held 3,639 tole shikshya community learning sessions for 62,557 learners. Today, students in Nepal can stop missing out on learning, even with school closures, by mobilizing communities in support of children’s education. Learn more abouttole shikshya and World Education Nepal.

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