The transition to online learning due to COVID-19 has impacted millions of Nepali students and encouraged the government to continue visualizing the digital learning transformation.
King’s College in Bijuli Bazar was one of the first colleges to transition online. Most schools in Kathmandu Valley have rolled out online classes using Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, and so on. Nepal’s top universities (Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University) have also adopted online learning methods.
Outside the city, online learning is not as accessible. Roughly 80% of the Nepal population is rural and come from low-income families who cannot afford computers, laptops, smartphones, or even internet access. This is a major challenge to Nepali students as learning shifts online; however, some communities are persevering.
Recent reports show communities in Rolpa, a rural area in Nepal where the internet isn’t available, are producing distance learning packages, broadcasting them through radio stations and YouTube. While limited educational opportunities push students to study abroad, the flexibility of online learning can deter this.
Many students move to Kathmandu in pursuit of higher education but carrying the burdens of college fees, rent, and transportation. Online learning tools can be the solution to balancing quality education with accessibility: it’s affordable, time-efficient, and practical. Courses can be completed through online mediums such as ebooks, audios and video tutorials, and presentations, all in one organized place.
The Nepali government has introduced a Digital Education System for educational institutions in April and has rolled out online classes for grades 9 and 10. The classes run 6 days a week through a nationwide broadcast through NTVplus. The government and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, have formed six subcommittees to study online classes. They adopt different methods for different circumstances in order to monitor the impact of digital education in Nepal.
COVID-19 has posed challenges to the online learning transition in countries like Nepal whose resources are already limited. Some schools have been able to successfully transition online while those in rural areas still struggle. Leveraging online education can help those in both urban and rural areas pursue quality education.