Saathi Programme

SAATHI - INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF TEACHERS

HELP SAATHI is a collective force of young graduates who have a deeper understanding of, and/or have gone through, the challenges of public education in Nepal. “Saathi” in Nepali means friends. So, what do we look for in a Saathi?

Skills

Saathis are self-motivated and empowered young teachers with adequate competencies and abundance of empathy who have a strong zeal to use their knowledge/skills/talents with compassion to extend an opportunity for children to grow in a wholesome and inspired manner.

Commitment

Saathis are recruited based on their recognition and personal experience of the fact that basic education is paramount for children’s future and the community’s happiness. Saathis are recruited for two years and are paired to go and teach at a school where they can make the most difference.

“My goal is to remove the fears that children have: of parents, failure, their future and economic insecurity. It is these fears that prevent children from moving forward, progressing academically and being proud of their achievement” – Sunita

“My aspirations for my placement are not only to learn for myself, but also teach the parents and teachers the need for educaton, and make them more responsible for the progress of their children” – Merina

schools participating in pilot

hours of training before joining school

students in Saathi teachers' classrooms

Selection & Training

In this first pilot project we have recruited 10 young Saathis local to the project area.  They have received intensive pre-service training in primary teaching methods particularly in how to use a child-centred and interactive approaches, to manage the class without corporal punishment and to assess and support children of different levels particularly in Maths, Science and English.  Over 170 applications were received for the positions and the final selection was made following interviews, demonstration lessons and group activities so we know that our Saathi’s are highly motivated and skilled.
Following pre-service training the Saathi’s have been placed in pairs in 5 primary schools.  A specialist teaching support officer from HELP visits them on a monthly basis to observe lessons and advise them, and they meet regularly with Saathis at other schools for reflection and learning sessions.  Further in-service training days are provided during school holidays.

What's next?

Our Saathis started work in July 2019 and have already made a great impact on their classes – aiming for teaching which is inclusive, differentiated and appropriate to the local culture and available resources.  We have conducted a baseline study of the schools and aim to show how this improved learning environment will lead to better academic outcomes for the children and lower drop-out rates. We are also measuring impact based on non-academic factors, conducting in depth interviews with children at the schools to understand whether they feel safe, happy and enjoy their classes.
We envisage that Saathi teachers will also influence other staff in their schools, sharing their ideas and teaching methods.  Other staff members will be invited to some of the training days, and be part of the evaluation of the project as a whole. In this way we plan to make a wider impact on the teaching methods employed across the 5 schools.  This first two years will be treated as a pilot, and lessons learnt used to expand the programme to further schools in future.