Building peace in the minds of men and women

Transforming literacy: Training Community Learning Centre managers in Nepal

15 October 2019

CLC managers and facilitators on their way to visit a model CLC in Nepal during a workshop.

Can you read this article? If the answer is yes, you are not part of the 14% of the global population who are not literate.  Without being able to read or write, you cannot participate fully in society, your health and nutrition suffer and you have fewer job opportunities making it challenging to escape poverty.

“To gain education, one must be literate”

In Nepal, only 66% of the population, five year-old and above, are literate. The situation is even worse for girls and women at 57% (CBS 2011). Community Learning Centres (CLCs) are key to tackling illiteracy in Nepal, as many communities live in remote, hard to reach locations. CLCs are usually set up and run by locals and function outside the formal education system, providing lifelong learning and leadership opportunities to marginalized communities that have little or no access to education.

UNESCO’s Capacity Development for Education (CapED) Programme has been supporting the pivotal role of CLCs in Nepal. The Programme aims to strengthen CLC’s awareness of SDGs, enhance coordination with local government in line with the decentralization of education, and provide them with management and fund raising skills. The Programme also focuses on expanding the CLC network as platform to share good practices and to promote inclusiveness in community activities.

This year, in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Human Resources Development (CEHRD), and UNDP, UNESCO, through CapED, has already trained 33 CLC managers, (over half were female), from 16 districts. The training encompassed resource mobilization, information and communication technology, social media management, reporting and proposal writing. The session was an opportunity for participants to rethink CLC functions and mechanisms, as well as to learn from each other’s experiences.

Purna Prasad Bhattarai from Hangdewa CLC, who attended the training, stated that, “we thought the role of CLCs was only to conduct literacy classes and income generating skills, but after hearing the work of other CLCs, I realize that CLCs can play multiple roles in the community.” 

“We have done a lot of work in our region but we lack proper documentation of our activities. Now I am aware of how important documentation is and how media can amplify our activities,” added Krishana Kumari Bishwakarma, chair of a CLC.

CLC Chairman Khadak Gautam, stated that, only education can change people’s standards of living and explained that “to gain education, one must be literate”.

According to the Deputy Director General of CEHRD, Mr Choodamani Poudel, 51 out of Nepal’s 77 districts have been declared literate and he believes CLCs have played the most important role in achieving this.

To maintain this momentum, CapED has established a CLC network through social media to foster continuous information exchange between centres. The Programme also held an ICT training session to ensure participants are equipped with the necessary skills to engage with the platform and to encourage them to promote their activities through social media.  

Going forward, eight more CLC workshops are planned for 2019 in cooperation with UNDP. These sessions will further strengthen knowledge and experience sharing among CLCs, and will improve understanding of lifelong learning, key to achieving SDG4.

CapED in Nepal: Supporting literacy and lifelong learning for all through better policies and non-formal education services, with a particular focus on women and girls.