A Day at the Open Learning Exchange (OLE)
“ Disparity in the world is growing resulting to lack of opportunity. A single donation of money and food without a targeted solution is not the answer to reducing disparity. Give people a real chance! A basis to climb the ladder! Basic education is the answer to do well in school and in life. If we do not act now, the disparity will increase causing resentful society. Give an opportunity to succeed.”- Rabi Karmachyara
Working at OLE has given me the experience of launching various ideas in form of pilot projects that are related to access to education. In this process I am amongst amazing people that are passionate about making a difference in the world. Recently, OLE team in Boston has an opportunity to meet with OLE Nepal’s Executive Director Mr. Rabi Karmacharya who has pioneered technology-integrated education in Nepal’s public schools through a comprehensive program in partnership with the Government of Nepal. Believe it or not, OLE Nepal started as a small conversation amongst friends interested in using technology for education and evolved into an organization. These conversations led to a conclusion that educators are a priority and technology is a tool for quality education.
In 2008, OLE Nepal was launched in two schools with a very small budget and a signed memorandum with the Ministry of Education of Nepal. Currently, OLE Nepal is successfully integrated into 100 schools in Nepal, spread across the entire country; making it clear that right ideas and sincere efforts can definitely lead to success.
What makes this organization unique is that it uses technology to enhance the learning process in schools by integrating technology, teacher training and free educational content that is accessible even without the Internet.
These interactive education materials in form of games and other media resources that enhance learning in an engaging process that has increased class participation, creativity and problem solving skills among the children. Additionally, teachers, parents and community members are equally engaged to understand the learning process so that there is no fear of technology. It made me happy because through this process quality education materials become accessible even across different geographic areas and socio-economic strata. When asked about the practicality of this idea Rabi said, “Many millennium generation middle class children across the globe are growing up by using tablets and computers. Why have not give a similar opportunity of a technology integrated learning to kids in rural areas?”
I was a little surprised when we discovered that the growth process of OLE Nepal was not linear. Instead, it was like navigating through maize. One had to go through successes, experiments, and drawbacks. I was inspired after I found out that OLE Nepal has succeeded in creating awareness among policy makers, education institutions and government that technology can have a positive impact in schools if it is integrated in the learning process.
Our conversation went on about the future of Open Education Resources (OER), which concluded that it is bringing a revolution. Tertiary education has already changed as it has made people around the world get access to their desired classes through Internet. It is also certain that as Internet reaches out more people so will the use of OER. I was also among those independent learners that are taking classes online free of cost. I discovered that the initial goal of MIT to share its education resources openly was to provide teachers access to quality materials for their class globally. But the evaluations showed that 42% of the people using MIT’s OER were actually independent learners! Because the content was learner focused. Even teachers teaching these classes had an incentive to reach out to million of students globally. Our conversation confirmed my belief that using open education resources in schools is the next revolution. I am a rebel, so it made me delighted to be an agent of this next revolution.
In the end, when I asked Rabi about his most memorable incident, with a very infectious smile he said, “ If you let kids be kids and learn, the positive energy and the interaction is contagious. This is my source of motivation and inspiration.”
For more information about OLE NEPAL