Book: Why School? by Will Richardson

World War I was an important point in the world’s history, and certainly one for Canada, both as a nation and as a nation of the world — so much so that The Great War was a major unit in the grade 10 Canadian history curriculum. Just like every other unit, there was a test at the end, to evaluate what we students had learned. To prepare I frantically poured over the class textbook and my notes, collecting important dates, places, people and events, and using them to draw out timelines.

I didn’t do well on that test; however, I ultimately cleared the class with an 83%. I credit part of this eventual success to an assignment, ironically tied to World War I. That assignment had us write a paper blog (I mean diary) of a soldier caught up in the war. Presented on tea-stained, oven-burnt paper, bound inside dirt-covered, paper-machéd cardboard covers, my diary was simply titled, “La Guerre Mondiale” (thankfully I caught a grammar mistake at the last second and added that last ‘e’ before submitting it). It detailed the desire to go home, the awful state of the trenches, loss of friends, and an impromptu sports game with both sides on Christmas Day.

In the days when Google was just getting started, well before things like Wikipedia and Call of Duty, I was researching and trying to envision what it would have been like to be in the front lines. I took the most complete picture I could piece together, peppered on WWI details and threw in my views on war and how I would feel losing my friends to gunfire. I wrote it all out. I did well.

This experience falls directly into Will Richardson’s premise in his short-length book Why School?: How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere (SEE: Book at In his mind, the age of Memorize and Mumble is over. Knowledge and the ability to connect with others is no longer scarce. “If we have an Internet connection,” says Richardson, “we have fingertip, on-demand access to an amazing library that holds close to the sum of human knowledge and, equally important, to more than two billion people with whom we can potentially learn.” Why would we limit our youth’s studies to a handful of books and facts that likely leave very little long-term impression?

Continue reading

External Video: RSA Animate: Changing Education Paradigms

“Don’t look. Don’t copy. That’s cheating! Outside school, that’s called ‘collaboration’.” – Sir Ken Robinson

This is a video animation based on a presentation given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, a world-renowned education and creativity expert. In it, Robinson argues the need to change the current education paradigm, whose origins are rooted in the ideas of academic ability of the industrial revolution, to match the current world in which we live. Education is modelled after the interests of industrialism, notably by it’s assembly line-like design. “Why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are?

“We are getting our children through education by anaesthetizing them. We should be waking them up to what is inside of themselves!”

Please view the video below for the presentation:

View here:

Open University of Nepal: Vision for Future

Written by Dr. Drona Rasali, Dr. Pramod Dhakal / Dr. Ambika Adhikari, Dr. Raju Adhikari
Originally published by Nepal Republic Media / 


The growing thirst for education has been one of the most inspiring developments in Nepal lately. But despite the progress in basic education, the access to higher education in the country is still limited with an overall low gross enrolment rate. This is the result of rampant disparity in access to higher education across income quintile, gender, caste/ethnicity and geography. Especially alarming is the fact that the bottom two-fifth of the country’s population by income has less than two percent gross enrolment rate.

Continue reading

Open University of Nepal Update – 2012 Annual General Meeting Report

Espousing an unquenchable thirst for education among the people has been one of the greatest inspiring developments in Nepal by the turn of the last century. Despite much progress made in basic education, the World Bank data indicate that the access to higher education in the country is still severely limited with the overall low gross enrolment rate. Especially alarming is the fact that the bottom two-fifth of the country’s population is recorded to share less than two percent gross enrolment rate. The expansion in higher education intake has taken place mainly in the private sector. This trend is likely to further widen the gap of educational access between those who can pay for higher education and those who cannot. Further, the quality of higher education in Nepal is inconsistent across the colleges. The public campuses often have fared worse than their private sector counterparts. This demands for a systemic arrangement for quality control and accreditation, and mechanisms to uplift the quality of publicly managed higher education. One of the approaches to enhancing the universal access, enrolment rate and quality in higher education is the open and distance education system, which can complement the campus-based conventional education. Open education is also necessary to remove the manifold barriers, and thus to help bring higher education particularly to the disadvantaged.

Continue reading

OUN Logo Proposal

Benjamin Wood, designer of the CFFN logo and graphic materials, as well as designer of the current interim OUN logo, has designed a new logo for OUN to adopt. He says, “the interim logo that is currently in use, like the OUN Initiative itself, was always meant to showcase a concept that would later grow into a full-fledged design. Here is that design.”

While at the OUN office at the ministry of Education in Nepal, Ben has collaborated with the OUN volunteers on many variations to evolve the current design. This document will highlight the strongest design that he believes best conveys the themes and goals of OUN, while offering variations for consideration.

Continue reading

Update 005: Open University of Nepal Initiative

Dear Supporters of Open University of Nepal (OUN) Initiative:

Some notable progress have been made since our update of August 1, 2011. The highlights of this period are given here.

  1. August 15, 2011: Jiwan Giri and his organization donated a modern document digitization machine to OUNI. The machine has been already brought to Nepal and operating know-how has been transferred to Nepali technicians. A model to generate funds for OUNI with the services that can be offered to other institutions have been developed.
  2. August 15, 2011: Dr. Lawa Deo Awasthi beceme the new Joint-Secretary of the Ministery of Education and therefore the new member of the OUNI Steering Committee.
  3. August 26, 2011: Athabasca University donated 20 laptops for the pilot academic program of the Open University of Nepal Initiative. The laptops were handed over to NRN-Canada President Dr. Binod KC and NECASE President Moha Nath Acharya by the Director of Distance Education of Athabasca University Dr. Mohamed Ally in Edmonton, Canada in a public program.
  4. September 15, 2011: NRNA delegation including President Dev Man Hirachan, Patron Bhim Udas, Executive Director Rajesh Rana and OUNSC Member-Secretary presented a case for OUNI to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Finister Hon. Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
  5. September 15, 2011: Member Secretary Pramod Dhakal handed over the concept paper of the OUNI to the Prime Minister of Nepal Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, who was also extended with was an invitation to OUN Stekeholder Meeting to be held on October 11, 2011.
  6. October 11, 2011: OUNSC with kind hosting of Ministry of Education and NRNA is organizing a Open University of Nepal Initiative Stakeholder Meeting at Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza with the Prime Minister of Nepal Dr. Baburam Bhattarai as the Chief Guest, the president of ICDE Dr. Frits Pannekoek as Keynote Speaker.

Open University of Nepal: A Mission to Learning and Innovation and Soverignty

By Dr. Pramod Dhakal

Before the exploit of modern humans touched my mountain village, we walked barefoot on its trails, forests, and terraces, even to go to Baglung Bazaar for writing School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination. I felt sophisticated in buying my first toothbrush while taking tuition classes in Painyupata for SLC. Radio and/or wristwatch were off-access even when studying at elite Tri-Chandra College in Kathmandu. It was a matter of status when my brother bought a radio after becoming a clerk of our village school. But no one today walks barefoot in my village, no one wears the worn-out clothes like we did, no one walks for days to go anywhere useful, and almost everyone today carries a mobile phone. Today, our village home has electricity, television, toilet, and tap drinking water. These amenities are coming near the reach of other villagers and young folks know more about technology than my brother, a school principal. The coming of the information age and globalization is changing the face of my village. However, this globalization of new era has pushed us towards greater dependency and vulnerability. Unable to find their means of survival in the country, village youths are taking menial temporary jobs in Middle East and elsewhere. Local production is diminishing and goods are imported, including food stuff. If someone were to block the supply (e.g. fuel) for ten days, most people of urban cities in Nepal would not be able to eat and there would be massive riots turning upside down. Perilous is this magical modern world for a small and poor country like Nepal that is still struggling to develop its capacity to ensure even basic survival of its people in case something unwanted happens. Should not it necessitate us to seek new ways for our survival?

Continue reading

CFFN Concern Nepal Year 6, Issue 1

CN Banner

Year 6, No 1, Issue 8 - October 2011

Click here to download this edition as a .pdf file.

Canada Foundation for Nepal has released its eighth issue of Concern Nepal. This issue is prefaced by CFFN’s new Executive Director, who reaffirms the organization’s commitment to several education-specific initiatives, namely Open University of Nepal, Community Child Care Centres. The AGM report discusses the key changes in CFFN’s executives, as well as the addition of new positions within the organization. This issue contains featured articles written by each executive member on a range of matters important to the various CFFN initiatives, as well as research papers discussing development opportunities in Nepal. We invite you to enjoy the reading of our publication and get involved and contribute to Concern Nepal by sending news, views, op-ed writings and research articles.

Continue reading