Kathmandu's Textbook-Free Fridays

A module for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage through Education

Anil Gandharba 승인 2024.06.06 22:44 | 최종 수정 2024.06.07 08:08 의견 0

Anil Gandharba, Nepal

Students with the musical instruments

The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) in Nepal has introduced a distinctive initiative called "Textbook-free Friday," which is subtly transforming the educational landscape. The KMC has started its pilot program in the 56 community schools across the city. Unlike the conventional classroom setup, where students are bound by the limitations of textbooks, this pilot project seeks to engage young minds with a diverse range of hands-on experiences and practical skills. Under the program, the students up to grade 9 receives 90 hours of trainings in various areas like, agriculture, beauty, art, hairstyling, carpentry, culinary art, fashion design, writing, disaster preparedness, sculpture, music and dance.

Every Friday, students eagerly head to school, leaving their textbooks behind. Instead of studying printed materials, they dive into the world of creativity. The subjects such as art, music, dance, craftsmanship, and culinary skills are crucially included in the curriculum, forming a strong module for preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). One of the key objectives for including these subjects in "Textbook-Free Friday" is to preserve and promote of Nepal's intangible cultural heritage. The ICH includes practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This encompasses traditions like music, dance, craftsmanship, and culinary practices, all of which are integral part of Nepalese culture.

Music teacher, Anil Gandharba ( in the middle ) taking a photo with Students

By integrating traditional skills and arts into the education system, KMC is ensuring that these cultural elements are passed down to younger generations. For example, students learning traditional Nepali music and dance are not only developing artistic skills but also connecting with their cultural roots. Similarly, carpentry and sculpture classes can introduce students to traditional Nepali craftsmanship, fostering an appreciation and understanding of their heritage.

The initiative also aims to enhance overall educational outcomes by making learning more engaging and relevant to students' lives. Practical, hands-on experiences can significantly boost students' motivation and interest in learning. It provides a break from the routine of theoretical studies and allows students to explore their interests and talents in a supportive environment.

Students learning to play the Sarangi

Moreover, by offering a diverse range of subjects, "Textbook-Free Friday" helps students discover potential career paths and develop skills that can be directly applied in the workforce. This is particularly important in a developing country like Nepal, where vocational skills can open up numerous opportunities for young people.

As the pilot program progresses, KMC plans to evaluate its impact on students' learning outcomes and overall development. The positive reception and initial success suggest that "Textbook-Free Friday" could be expanded to more schools and even become a model for other regions in Nepal and beyond.

In conclusion, KMC's "Textbook-Free Friday" initiative is a pioneering effort to redefine education by integrating practical skills, cultural heritage, and life skills into the curriculum. It represents a holistic approach to learning that not only enhances educational outcomes but also preserves and promotes the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. By doing so, it prepares students to navigate the complexities of the modern world while staying rooted in their cultural identity.

Introducing the Nepali Folk Musical Instrument " Sarangi" to the Students

Anil Gandharba from Nepal is currently an International Reporter for Arirang Culture Connect. He is a musician and a trainer of Nepali folk musical instruments, especially the Sarangi. With 20 years of experience in the Gandharba culture and arts, he has been involved in playing various folk musical instruments, as well as teaching, promoting, and safeguarding Nepali intangible cultural heritage.

Those who are interested in applying for the Reporter position, please visit:

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