Teaching / Education

Education is paramount to the development of Nepal and sadly the quality of teaching across both the government and private sectors is severely lacking, with many teachers being either unqualified, poorly paid and thus unmotivated, with few resources and overcrowded classes, or a combination of all these.

Unlike in the West, education for many Nepalis is a privilege and not a given right.

Through this programme, VSN aims to introduce creative education methods into schools that will not only benefit the children, but also the teachers.

Participation in this programme requires stamina, perseverance and patience, as many schools do not maintain a structured format and teaching days may be lost to strikes, festivals, lack of teachers and impromptu holidays, all at little or no notice.

Predominantly volunteers teach English however, there are opportunities to teach maths, science, sports and creative activities. Basically whatever there is a requirement for that your skills set can accommodate.

To teach in Nepal you don't need any formal teaching qualifications. You will however, need a good command of written and spoken English and grammar, plenty of initiative, determination, motivation, a lot of patience and the ability to work with few, if any resources.

You may find that the English skills amongst the children will vary due to age and the quality of education provided by the school. Repetitive, rote learning is common practice with students being able to repeat whatever they are taught, but with little comprehension. Some class sizes can be very large and the facilities/resources provided by the school very basic and/or nonexistent.

Most schools will have set texts that you should follow, although feel free to use your own teaching ideas, materials etc to teach each subject point; others, particularly at the younger end of the school are more open to your suggestions. Exams are usually held each term and so it might become your responsibility to prepare students for these.

Depending on the school and its requirement, you may be working as the sole teacher in the classroom or in partnership with a Nepali teacher. You may also find that due to the number of teaching volunteers, that you will be the only volunteer in a placement. Wherever possible, we ask that you work in partnership with the local teachers, introducing them to new, practical teaching techniques and creative learning ideas, rather than teaching in their place. The more work you can do with the teachers, ultimately, the greater number of children will benefit from your placement.

You will find Nepali schools very different to your own past experience, as they are often lacking in funding and resources, even the private schools. Class sizes can range from 10 to 40 students and generally operate from Sunday to Friday with Saturday off. However, each school is different and Sunday may also be a day off. Again, hours vary from school to school, but are generally from 9.45am to 4.00pm. Teaching for three to four hours per day is the norm within a school environment, but you may wish to extend these hours and/or incorporate extra classes within your daily schedule. It will be up to you to establish your teaching hours with your school.

Most schools shut for a month’s holiday, twice a year – mid March to Mid April (end of academic year) and also during the Dashain & Tihar festivals, that fall somewhere between September and November and are determined by the lunar calendar. Exams are held every term. Given this, we only accept Teaching/Education volunteers at times that do not clash with the holidays and exams ie:

Mid April – 1st week of July
Mid July – end of September
1st week November – end of December
End of January – 3rd week of March

Please contact us for actual intake dates.

Teaching/Education volunteers must commit to a minimum 6 week programme (five weeks in placement after orientation) although the longer you are able to give, the greater the impact you will have and the more your students will benefit. For placements outside of the Kathmandu Valley, priority will be given to those with the longest placement commitment. Due to long journey times and difficult road conditions, we do not place volunteers outside of the Valley during the monsoon season May – September.

Volunteers, who are in a Teaching/Education placement inside the Kathmandu Valley close to one or other of our own children’s homes, will be welcome to help out at the homes during the evenings, weekends and holidays.

For details on the teaching placements available please download the placement profiles.