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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Academics & Research

Students, faculty collaborate on free online resources for Nepalese students


Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

UH faculty and students recently collaborated on an effort to create free online resources that
helped Nepalese students preparing for their national exam amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With over 350 math and science videos gaining more than 14,000 views, the HamroV YouTube channel offers tutoring resources for 10th graders preparing for Nepal’s Secondary Education Examination.

Computer science associate professor Omprakash Gnawali led a 10-person team to build this
platform from scratch.

When many U.S. organizations jumpstarted new initiatives to provide students free resources during the pandemic, Gnawali noticed a lack of support on the same scale in Nepal.

“It was a no-brainer that our small effort could create something special we could share as our
gift to the Nepalese students, especially during these challenging times,” Gnawali said.

Gnawali was inspired by the student’s example and sought to address the need in his home country.

All 350 lesson videos were all created by Gnawali’s 10-person team in just over a month.

Gnawali said the process of creating the free video lessons involved much more than recording, including various coordination tasks such as deciding which videos to take, deciding who makes which videos, Q&A work, editing and organizing the content and presenting it online and distributing it.

This initiative holds personal significance to Nepal natives like Gnawali and Google software
engineer Topraj Gurung that they can give back to their home country.

“Personally, it has been fulfilling,” said Gurung. “It has been inspiring to see the volunteers
come together to execute on this and deliver these videos to students back in Nepal.”

For Nepalese students, these educational resources are significant in that they unlock new doors
to earn post-secondary opportunities and scholarship aid.

Though coronavirus magnified adversities facing Nepalese students with limited resources, the
potential to promote equal learning opportunities through digital mediums remains promising.

Gnawali’s team remains optimistic about continuing similar efforts using the virtual infrastructure they developed through the HamroV channel and video format, especially since more Nepalese students have technology access.

“It is evident from the impact and feedback from students that there is latent desire for relevant education content in Nepal,” Gurung said.

“Therefore, we hope to produce more content in the future leveraging the wide reach of digital platforms, and the growing penetration of smartphones and the internet among youth in Nepal,” Gurung added.

Likewise, physics doctorate student Sumit Khadka affirms the future of similar outreach projects.

“Delivering education materials and information by digital platform has proven to be exceptionally impactful, especially in countries like Nepal where there is always a lack of adequate and affordable educational tools and resources,” said Khadka.

“I think there will be further collaboration with similar projects to make the project even more impactful.”

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