about quality in education

student in timal-kavreThe Ministry of Education has been telling the public that there are 60,000 vacancies for teachers in schools. But there are more than 300,000 people with valid training certificates and teaching licenses waiting for an opportunity to serve as teachers. School education, in Nepal, remains dismal also because of unnecessary government intervention in educational establishments from time to time. Last year, the government decided to recognise ten months’ training after SLC as equivalent to grade 11. Moreover, they have also announced that ten months’ training after grade twelve will be considered equivalent to B.Ed first year. At a time when the undergraduate degrees in most countries across the globe require four years of study, the government seems ready to award B.Ed degree in two years’ time
Worse still, the training contents and methodology at the Education Training Centres (ETCs) are below par as com pared with the academic ones. This will only produce incompetent and unskilled teachers but also have an impact on the quality of students produced. In our own neighbouring countries, a primary school teacher requires a Bachelor’s degree plus a year or two years’ training. In our context, SLC pass-outs fulfil the minimum qualification for teachers of primary schools. The School Sector Reform programme envisages 12 years of schooling as minimum qualifications for the primary school teachers. On the pretext of upgrading the qualifications of teachers, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has made a wrong decision to equate the ten months’ training with academic degree.
As per the government provisions, aspiring teachers are required to sit for exams that certify them to be allowed to work as teachers. However, it is also true that the government has distributed teachers’ licences to all and sundry, without actually assessing the qualifications and performance of the candidates. It should be noted that only such candidates, who have undertaken trainings, are qualified to sit for teacher’s examinations. That means licensing examination is the second layer of quality control. Recently, Education Minister Renu Yadav announced that the Ministry of Education has decided to scrap the teachers’ licensing examinations. If implemented, this will be another erroneous and irresponsible move that will still degrade the educational system.
From an article of Dr. Mana Prasad Wagley

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Dal Nepal: buon anno ai Sostenitori italiani di CCS Italia

Before Chisthmas 2009, CCS Nepal expressed criticism on some methods and practices of the italian INGO which they were collaborating since 2003. New management and people have been appointed both in Nepal and Italy from the middle of 2007 so many activities have been reduced or cutted. We give an abstract of the letter and a table which compare the activities done in 2006 and those in 2008.

Cari Amici
Prima di tutto, ringraziamo I sostenitori italiani che dal 2003 stanno aiutando I nostri bambini e comunità nel Distretto di Kavre, I migliori auguri per le festività di Natale e del nuovo anno.
CCS Nepal, formata da gente di Kavre, iniziò nel 2003 tutte le attività per contribuire a educazione e salute in Nepal, grazie a migliaia di Sostenitori italiani.
Come abbiamo scritto nei posts precedenti stiamo ancora discutendo con I responsabili di CCS Italia INGO il budget per il 2009 e come far proseguire I nostri progetti.
Dal 2007 I fondi sono costantemente diminuiti e così l’aiuto e le opportunità che eravamo in grado di dare ai bambini e alle comunità di Kavre, come si vede dalla tavola che compara le attività nel 2006 e nel 2008.
Come siamo preoccupati per l’elevato aumento delle spese di gestione dell’ufficio di Kathmandu di CCS Italia che è passato da 4 a 22 funzionari per gestire meno attività rispetto al 2006. Ciò significa che le spese di gestione (stipendi, rents, attrezzature, macchine, etc.) sono cresciute da euro 43.000 in 2006 a 153.000 in 2008. Ciò ha gravemente ridotto I fondi per I progetti e I beneficiari.
Vogliamo estendere queste preoccupazioni ai Sostenitori italiani.
Thanks for all
The Staff of CCS Nepal NGO

activitiescompare TABLE ACTIVITIES 2006 COMPARED TO 2008 (tAVOLA DI COMPARAZIONE ATTIVITA’ 2006 e 2008)

Dear Friends
First of all we thank a lot the Italian sponsors which since 2003 are helping our children and community in Kavre District and best wishes for your for Christmas and the End of the year holidays.
CCS Nepal, formed by local people of Kavre, established 5 years ago all activities related to education and health in Nepal thanks to the help of thousand Italian sponsors.
From 2007 our budget and activities were severely reduced as well as the help and opportunities we were able to give to children and community in Kavre as appears in the comparing the activities in the table below which resume the documents already published.
As well as we are worried about the huge increase of running expenditures in CCS Italy office in Kathmandu which passed from 4 people to 22 managing less activities. It means that the running expenditures (salaries, equipments, cars, rents, etc.) raised from Euro 43.000 in 2006 to 153.000 in 2008, this has severely reduced the fund for the projects and beneficiaries.
We extend our concern to Italian sponsors.
CCS Nepal NGO staff

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Trainings, reports and workshops development

balbikasinau-28

In a recent article it has been pointed out the paradox of local level governance in Nepal is that much money and effort have been poured into it over the decades but with no visible improvement.
In 1996 UNDP and DANIDA pushed on the government to introduce the Local Self-Governance Act 1999 which failed to include the vital provisions regarding the user groups which showed good performances in managing the forestry community development which has been fully domestically managed by local community.
With no provisions regarding the formation of local groups, the enormous fund to decentralization has been managed by, as the article points, local bodies were invariably composed of the hand-picked favourites of the village elites.
As a result, the billions of rupees that went through the DDCs (District Dev. Office) and VDCs (Village Dev. Office) in various tied and untied grants over the years made little dent on the problems of poverty and deprivation that continue to remain rampant in Nepal’s villages. The same seems happened for other local authorities as DHO (health) and DEO (education).
The misuse of huge funds and the needs of a serious reforms of local body, most of them not working or bad working due to that lack of elected officials and good mnagement should suggest to international donors to go directly to the primary stakeholders: it means community through local user groups (for specific projects), community schools, etc.
This work should be a priority for INGOs and NGOs which must operate gross route level as their guiding principles should require. Unfortunately this is not happening for some of them. It is the case of Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo INGO (CCS Italia) which during the last two years left good community tied projects in Kavre moving towards funding the local DEO (district education office) and DHO (district health office). This negative attitude seems directed to void the role and capacity of the local NGO working in Kavre since many years. The reasons could be the strong critics  the local NGO moved regarding the ineffective use of Italian fund and donation made by the officers of the INGO and their incapacity to operate directly with the community. Maybe also their laziness and high salaries.
The same misadventure which is running, in a great scale, DANIDA. They decided to support a 10 million rupies project (19 months) project entitled “Promoting Local Governance for Effective Service Delivery” in six selected districts.
It was said to be “supply-side” governance strengthening initiative and comprised workshops for government officials, local politicians, NGO/CBO officials, and “service receivers”. The project developed training manuals, formed coordination committees and “good governance pressure groups”, and held public hearings with government officials including the CDOs in attendance.
It seems the same trend followed by Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo (CCS Italy) in which instead to work in the community, it is easier to work through local bureaucrats. It is the training and workshop development which is the main activity wide spreading among INGOs and institutional donors.
This kind of “projects” doesn’t need many activities, fieldwork, and accountability of service given.
The single most important contribution that the government and donors could make to promote good governance and development in the villages is to empower the stakeholders and assuring effective service delivery and the only way is to go in the villages working with people. 

Guna Dhakal- Social Worker-Kathmandu

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Fighting Aids, but alcoholism…

alcohol abuseThe celebration of World Aids Day at Tundikhel (on 1st december) has been a public and political event reinforcing the role of various organizations and funds engaged on this issue.
From a recent World Bank Report by the middle of 2008, more than 1750 cases of AIDS and over 11,000 cases of HIV infection were officially reported, with two times as many men reported to be infected as women.
In the last days, a Report issued by Patan Hospital revealed that almost half of Nepal’s 25 million population consumes alcohol thus not only straining the country’s health budget but giving rise to social tension. And Increasing number of youths giving to alcoholism which is comparatively more serious a problem than drug abuse affecting the life of the alcohol-addicted’s entire family.
A standard three-month recovery program costs between Rs 3,000- 5,000 a month. Those who can afford to, go abroad for confidentiality
No organizations have never been done a study in Nepal about the social and economic cost of alcohol abuse. Neither is there any reliable statistics regarding alcohol consumption.
The new rule set by the Government regarding limitation of alcohol selling could be a first step if it will be seriously implemented.
Despite the enormous social problem of alcohol in Nepal, nor NGOs or INGOs or other development agencies have specific projects on the matter. Nepal face the worst alcohol problems in South Asia and the social costs of alcohol abuse is far higher than the combined ravages of drugs and Aids. But this issues overshadowed other health problems in funding and in public recognition.
Probably due to the officialdom, liquor lobby and media the voices, especially coming from village women have been denied. But because of its cultural acceptability, experts say, alcoholism has become the single biggest medical and social problem in Nepali society today
As wrote by some scholars, the initiatives against the abuse of tobacco, liquor and such other injuries of capital and market that complicate gender, class and ideological positioning tend to be either deferred or altogether discredited.

Nina Tamang-Kathmandu

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The strange story of a training center

training-center

We received

Dear Friends
I came in 2005 in Nepal to visit CCS Nepal projects places and I was really happy to see how they worked for the benefits of children and community we sponsored from Italy.
Now on the web I read about a strange story related to the Training Center built in Thulo Parsel. It seems that what has been written in the house magazine of Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS (Progetto Solidarietà –
http://www.ccsit.org/archives/docs/pages/jchia47b-PS2007-3.pdf) , it is not true.

They wrote to italian sponsors of the association they built the Center so “Finalmente la comunità di Thulo Parsel può contare su uno spazio polifunzionale costruito dal CCS Italia”. In September 2007 (translation: Finally the community of Thulo Parsel has a multi -function space built by CCS Italy)

They wrote the Center has been paid by CCS Italy INGO but on the web it seems it has been paid by a local farmer. So I like to ask you what it is true and why they wrote so to  italian sponsors of the organization.
With friendly regards

Claudio Parodi-Italy

 

Dear Friend
in 2006 CCS Italy decided to built the Training Center in Thulo Parsel, in order to train teachers and people directly in the community. CCS Nepal, signed an agreement with a local farmer, it stated: CCS Nepal have free use of the land for 15 years and after that time (if no further agreement will be signed)  the building will be property of the land owner.
In may 2007 CCS Nepal (and community) finished the building and it started to be used by teachers and people but at the end of 2007 Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo INGO changed idea with no reasonable explanations. So they ask the farmer to give back the cost of the building. All people were surprised and  shocked by this negative approach. The farmer decided to avoid problems and gave back around 9 lacks (euro 9.000) spent for the construction with some problems due to the high amount.
It is quite surprisingly to hear by you that Centro Cooperazione Sviluppo ONLUS which not paid the Center market it to italian sponsors. But as you could see in other posts, since 2007 the new officers of the INGO have not a correct attitude towards community and people involved in the Timal projects and most of them has been stopped or reduced.  
In 2006 CCS Nepal decided as primary activities for 2007 to enforce quality education in the ECDs, primary and secondary schools supported in Timal area. So they need a place where to held trainings and courses avoiding to stop the regular lessons in the schools. Of course the building could be used by community or other organizations working in the area.

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NGO needs credibility and efficiency

community meetingSome past posts criticized the work and the role of some INGO operating in Nepal. we receive this article on the matter from Syed Mohammad Ali, Pakistani Researcher

Engaging in a debate about the role of NGOs should not be confined to questioning their credibility, but also their ability to deliver services efficiently and in a sustained manner
A landmark Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was put forth in 2005 which acknowledged that international development aid needs to respect the priorities of recipient countries and that donor organisations must begin to coordinate their activities with one another. In development terms, this understanding implied the need for donor alignment to improve the harmonisation of aid.
Three years have passed since this declaration was signed, yet the overall ineffectiveness of development assistance continues to evoke much criticism. International non-governmental organisations perhaps remain the harshest critics of aid effectiveness. But what about the effectiveness of these NGOs in utilising aid for development purposes themselves?
After all, international NGOs receive large shares of aid from donors, which adds to the funding generated by them privately and amounts to a significant sum. In some donor countries, the share of NGOs in the expenditure of official development aid is as high as 20 percent. The aid granted by NGOs from OECD nations alone amounted to a total of to almost $15 billion in 2005. A similar amount was given to them in 2006.
Some of the larger NGOs now have budgets bigger than longstanding government donors. The overall budget of ‘World Vision International’, for example, exceeds the aid budget of Italy. The ‘Save the Children Alliance’ spends more money on development than Finland.
Given the enormity of funds involved, a closer look is needed over how NGOs are spending this money meant to assist developing countries. Some recent research in this regard indicates that there is due basis for concern.
Generally, international NGOs are considered to be able to target aid more effectively than state-run development agencies. This confidence is based on the assumption that such entities are more aware of the needs of poor people – since most of them directly cooperate with local level civil society groups, enabling them to circumvent corrupt governments. It is also claimed that international NGOs are less influenced by donor governments’ commercial and political interests, and more responsive to on-ground needs.
However a look at cumulative NGO activities indicates that like official donors, international NGOs are also very subjective in where they chose to spend their money. Ethiopia, for example, has been found to host 5 separate affiliates of World Vision, 7 Oxfam agencies, 6 Care International and 12 Save the Children offices.
Similarly, in other relatively small countries such as Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, more than 40 of the 60 largest NGOs have a presence. This is in stark contrast with other deserving countries like Congo, Yemen and the Central African Republic, where only a handful of these international NGOs operate. Therefore, like official donors, NGOs also ignore the income position of recipient countries and their genuine requirement for aid.
Partially at least, the evident concentration of NGO presence in selected countries is explained by their dependence on government donor priorities, which earmarks official assistance for specific countries. But then if NGOs from donor countries have a tendency to replicate the aid allocation of official donors, surely it must also limit their independence in terms of decision-making.
There are also other indications illustrating that international NGOs lack serious resolve in making their programmes more responsive to needs felt on the ground. For instance, there is little evidence that NGOs are better at respecting the priorities of their local counterparts than of official donors.
In the directorial boards of 55 of the world’s largest development NGOs, only 6 per cent of members have been found to belong to developing countries. This power differential is compounded by the fact that local NGOs themselves lack direct access to international aid, since most official donors restrict their funding for NGOs to organisations based within their own countries, instead of routing this aid directly to NGOs in developing countries.
It is interesting to note that the Global Accountability Report for 2006 found that the World Bank and even the corporate sector have better procedures for managing complaints than international NGOs.
It is about time that international NGOs take a critical look at their own activities instead of using most of their energy to convince donor nations to abide by the principles of aid effectiveness. Engaging in a debate about the role of NGOs should not be confined to questioning their credibility, but also their ability to deliver services efficiently and in a sustained manner.
This ambiguity concerning the effectiveness of NGOs working at the international level has also percolated down to the national level. There is a growing undercurrent of scepticism in the general public about the role of all types of NGOs. In the case of Pakistan for instance, the entire sector is often seen as attempting to propagate and impose the values of a foreign donor agency on an unsuspecting local populace.
While development practitioners must acknowledge that some problems do exist within this sector, and that the efficacy or design of many initiatives can be questioned, the entire sector however cannot be written off as being corrupt, bureaucratic or inefficient.
Moreover, not all local NGOs are recipients of international aid. According to research done by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy some years ago for instance, Pakistanis themselves were found to have given five times more funds to non-profit organisations than what these organisations had received in grants. Nonetheless, the need to bridge the credibility gap concerning internal governance, financial accountability and the participatory approach of NGOs is vital if they want to remain legitimate stakeholders in the process of international development.
A voluntary NGO certification programme has been initiated in several developing countries, including our own, which is a good thing. Scrutiny of international NGOs at a broader level through aid effectiveness forums is also a welcome move.
Ultimately, NGOs must be able to fulfil the needs of the local communities more responsively and expediently than larger international development agencies, or else there is be no real justification for their profusion.

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Sanitation in the villages

child in TimalThe Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN III) concluded in New Delhi today with the participating countries recognising people’s access to drinking water as a basic right.
The key principles included the promotion of wider participation of all the stakeholders, effective advocacy, change of people’s behaviour, partnership with the stakeholders, allocation of budget in all levels, strengthening of community efforts, improvement in working conditions for sanitary personnel, and development of appropriate technologies and methodologies.
The New Delhi declaration has also promised to promote collaboration among the SAARC countries with the help of appropriate mechanism, said the minister.
The United Nations has designated 2008 as International Year of Sanitation.

We publish the Report 2006 about our Health Project (in cooperation with Dhulikel Hospital) in Timal (Kavre District) where we started water analysis in some schools and appropriate activities (pipeline rebuilding, water tanks, distribution of deworming tablets, general sanitation) to tackle children water born diseases. Video report Health and sanitation project 2006.

In 2009. Dhulikel Hospital believed that there are no more condition to work with  CCS Italia ONLUS due, in our opinion, to the incapacity of the CCS Italia staff to deliver services to beneficiaries and to manage the project as before.

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