Kathmandu- SciTrek is a project run in collaboration with Australia that delivers engaging, hands-on science and innovation workshops to students and teachers in the most remote and disadvantaged schools throughout Nepal.
The unique program aims to demonstrate how science and innovative thinking can be incorporated in to classrooms using very low cost, every day materials in a fun and practical way.
The program has been delivered to schools in Kathmandu since June 2016 and is now in full -swing in rural communities where the program hopes to target the most disadvantaged schools.
Ten student volunteers from Brihaspati Vidyasadan have recently returned from a 10-day trip, delivering the SciTrek workshops to 14 different schools in the Kavre and Dolakha districts, many of which were devastated by the 2015 earthquake.
Children from grades one to six were able to experience various scientific phenomena from investigating science of sound through a ‘telephone’ made from paper cups and string, or making a fire-resistant balloon to demonstrate the properties of water.
The program even encourages innovating thinking by getting students to come up with unique designs made out of old materials such as newspapers and straws, to address the issue of waste disposal and recycling.
The funding allocated to science equipment and resources in government schools pales in comparison to private schools, and this problem only worsens in the most remote areas.
“That’s why we want to get out to the most rural and disadvantaged schools and show that science can be done in the classroom quite easily and cheaply. You don’t need expensive equipment and chemicals at all.” says Alyce Nehme, Australian science communicator and creator of the program.
“Science and innovation needs to be a priority in all schools in Nepal and should be accessible whether you are privately or publicly educated. We want this program to become incorporated in all schools in Nepal,” says Pravin Raj Joshi, director of Brihaspati Vidyasadan School in Kathmandu.
Given the already huge success of the program, Brihaspati Vidyasadan volunteers are already planning the next outreach trip to Acham in 2017. To meet the demand of this program in rural areas, SciTrek is looking to collaborate with more schools to train volunteers to trek out to deliver the program throughout the rest of rural Nepal.
The project is currently independently funded and people can donate to this worthwhile cause through GoFundMe: Help Start up SciTrek!