School of the Air

In April 2020 when schools closed, many students in remote Nepal had no access to learning. This was because many families in the Solukhumbu live in houses with no internet. Sometimes they don’t have electricity, either. And students can walk hours a day to get to school at all. As a result, as the crisis of COVID-19 grew around the world, Nepal was facing a crisis for students in the Himalaya.

AHF and our partner organisation, REED Nepal, came up with a local solution: radio! To make this work, REED teamed up with local radio station Himal FM. Teachers prepared lessons to broadcast to 23,000 households in the region. They taught English, Nepali, Social Studies, Maths and Science.

Kids learning from workbooks in Solukhumbu

School in session…

Students began learning everyday at 10am, with around 4 hours of study per day. This included prepared lessons and special broadcasts.
The broadcasts aimed to spread awareness about safe hygiene practices during COVID. And teachers asked parents to consider the mental health of their children. This is important as we know there are many pressures on children at the moment.
Teachers found ways to give lessons through song, music and drama to help engage students. Students with mobile phones could send questions to their teachers. Some families had no way to hear the lessons, so we distributed radios to allow everyone to connect. Teachers called or visited homes (where possible) to make sure that all students were learning.
Keshav with Himal FM staff rehearsing Corona Awareness jingle

Your support made it possible

The majority of Nepalese schools returned to face-to-face teaching in late September 2020. Due to Nepal’s School of the Air, children in the remote Solokhumbu did not miss out on quality education. However, in May 2021, Nepal was hit hard by the pandemic, with thousands of cases per day. Schools were closed again, and the School of the Air needed to come into play.

Through our donors’ generous support for School of the Air, REED Nepal was able to:

  • Broadcast radio lessons and support messages to Solukhumbu (23,000 households)
  • Create home radio lessons reaching approx 1.2m students in 25 Districts
  • Give 120 radios to remote communities for home learning

Right now, schools are in lockdown all over Nepal. Thanks to the ongoing support of our donors, REED Nepal has been able to continue delivering the School of the Air. But with each lockdown, education is in jeopardy for children in Nepal. Donate now to support the continued work of REED Nepal in delivering quality education to students in remote regions, through the pandemic and beyond.

AHF’s education programs in Nepal receive support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). 

Words by Laura de Feyter

Nepal's School of the Air