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Project logic/ Theory of change

The HEI ICI- program’s long-term expected impact is to strengthen the capacity of HEIs in the global south to provide well-functioning, relevant and accessible higher education for students. In the medium term, the HEI ICI program’s expected outcome is improved institutional management and teaching capacity in partner country HEIs participating in the program. Fully in line with the HEI ICI program level impact and outcome, this project’s outcome is the strengthened capacity of TU and NOU to develop and implement further Open and Distance Learning (ODL) along with the digital pedagogy program, provide teachers with modern pedagogical skills including guidance and counselling, and empowering local governments to design and implement local curriculum integrating ICT skills and 21st century skills. Thus, this project aims to contribute to alleviating the learning crisis in Nepal. Digital literacy and guidance and counselling skills are crucial in Nepal as the world is moving rapidly towards development in which business, trade, health services, security and education sectors utilize digital technologies, and Nepal must also take part in this journey. Equity, and guidance and counselling are essential for addressing the difficulties faced by 21st century children and youths with depression, anxiety, and who have concerns for successful life careers. Appropriate guidance and counselling education is lacking in pedagogical education in Nepal at present. The current pedagogical approaches are often solely based on content mastery, neglecting life-skills (competences, skills and attitudes relevant to the student’s individual
life) and do not promote critical thinking skills. This is also due to current assessment tools widely used in Nepalese schools- that focus on measuring the level of content mastery and do not support thinking about how to learn and develop one’s analytical skills. The life skills useful in everyday life are, however, crucial for completing studies, for a meaningful and decent life, working careers and avoiding dropouts. These skills are important for teacher educators to learn and apply in order for them to pass on such skills – to their students to enhance individual and collective well-being in the country. The key question for this project is: How can the Finnish-Nepalese collaboration support TU and NOU to meet the increasing demands set on the quality of education and the pedagogical quality and competencies of teachers? Teacher education has a key role in enhancing the quality of education. According to the World Bank, a growing body of evidence suggests the learning crisis is, at its core, a teaching crisis. Therefore, this project concentrates on teacher training and the development of TU and NOU’s capacity to educate teachers to apply pedagogy for 21st century skills. The project strategy builds on, firstly, previously achieved results of the TPP and ToT-projects, focusing on further development of ODL in which TU and NOU has strong ownership. And secondly, on the experience and expertise of JAMK and HAMK in digital pedagogy, guidance and counselling training and curriculum development. The theory of change is based on the premise that the capacity of TU and NOU is enhanced by, first of all, strengthening and upskilling the competencies of an initial tranche of 18 teacher educators, who will work as change agents in the core group of developers. Moreover, the capacity of HEIs will be improved by developing the first output; a master’s program on digital pedagogy and development of ODL. The preliminary plan of this program consists of content as follows:

1) e-assessment, learning analytics, e-portfolio,

2) learning theories, digital pedagogy, instructional

3) guidance and counselling, online guiding,

4) High order thinking skills,

5) ICTs innovation in
education, AR, VR, AI,

6) personalized learning, student-centered learning,

7) project work, internships, e-research practicum,

8) communication and collaboration,

9) research project.

The second output includes development of teachers’ guidance and counselling competences and a MOOC on guidance and counselling for wider impact, while the third output focuses on the integrated curriculum on 21st century skills and its implementation at the local level. The capacity enhancement of teacher educators and the development of the structures are interweaved in a co-creation process with the Finnish HEIs. The theory of change hypothesizes that the developed outcomes described above are a prerequisite for sustainability and scalability of the project results. Thus, the selected approach is to cascade the capacity development so that e.g. the MA program will first be piloted among the first tranche of teacher educators, i.e. the core group of 18 developers/co-creators, in 2021, then, the program will be opened for a second tranche of 30
teacher educators from TU and NOU beyond the core group in 2022 and finally, in 2023, it will be opened for a third tranche of teacher students. The plan in future is that the MA program will provide teachers with the possibility to specialize in digital pedagogy and, therefore, the program could be a requirement for online teaching. Similarly, the guidance and counselling course for teachers will contribute to support girls and boys from the disadvantaged and vulnerable communities to get through high school education and provide them access to quality higher education. This, in turn, will bring more people from these communities in leadership positions in Nepal’s development as the new constitution has provisioned a mandatory representation of these communities in employment and various political and constitutional units. Thus, the
guidance and counselling course for school teachers will directly address the equity and social justice issue in both school education and higher education. In addition, focusing on teachers’ guidance and counselling competence to enhance student engagement and motivation is targeted at reducing student dropouts. Through workshops and a manual which will provide hand-on guidance for implementation actions, the third component of the project will orient and empower the educational personnel in local and provincial governments with skills to design local curriculum integrating ICT and 21st century skills. Once trained, these personnel will then train other people at the local level. Such a cascading process will be applied regarding all outputs.