Blog post

Framing a Mithila art-focused local curriculum in Nepal

4th July 2024


This article provides a brief overview of the steps towards creating a Mithila art focused local curriculum in one of the rural municipalities in Nepal. The article reflects on the shaping and framing of local information and resources, and how these were crafted into a local curriculum. JWAS applied an inclusive process for collecting information to inform the local curriculum, which engaged diverse individuals, scholars, communities, institutions, and stakeholders.

Based on the identified themes, a series of interviews, meetings, interactions, and workshops were conducted for collecting local knowledge from across the rural municipality. Information collection formats were distributed to individuals and institutions requesting relevant information to include in the local curriculum. Participants from diverse sectors contributed to this process including teachers (individually), schools (as institutions), religious leaders, entrepreneurs, small business holders, students, local scholars, agricultural experts, farmers, rural municipality officers, executive members of the rural municipality, ward offices, former teachers and principals, youth clubs, journalists, Mithila artists/painters, activists and so on. The curriculum writing team of JWAS worked closely with the coordinator of the municipal education committee during this whole process.

Image 1: Local curriculum writing team reviewing the Mithila painting for a Mithila art lesson (Credit: Binay Kumar Jha)

The information was collected as written Nepali script. After collecting the information, the curriculum writing team applied a fifteen-step process to prepare the draft document. The steps are detailed below:

  1. The writing team developed a table using Microsoft word for information compilation. All the collected information, exactly as received, were compiled thematically under pre-identified themes.
  2. The writing team reviewed the compiled information several times and removed any repetitive content.
  3. Some of the duplicate content with the existing basic education national curriculum was removed. However, where the curriculum writing team felt that the students of this municipality need further knowledge (additional to that provided in the national curriculum) on some lessons, such information remained.
  4. The writing team identified any gaps in the thematically compiled content, as well as any confusing, vague, or unclear information.
  5. In the fifth step, the team again met and discussed with individuals to gain further clarifications on any ambiguous information. After this, the compiled information was updated with the additional information.
  6. Once again, the writing team thematically organized the compiled information, reflected, and reviewed. Based on the organized content, the themes with too little information were merged. Finally, seven themes were generated for the local curriculum (please see table 1).
  1. All the thematically organized content was divided and categorized into grade wise lessons.
  2. For each grade wise lesson, the potential learning achievements/outputs were brainstormed and discussed and determined.
  3. Steps 6, 7, and 8 were reviewed again and the grade wise categorization of content, lessons and learning achievements were finalized.
  4. In the tenth step, each grade wise lesson was further elaborated to include guidelines for the teacher, the potential classroom activities, and the required teaching materials.
  5. The team determined the number of sub-lessons (or subjects) for each grade-wise lesson; fixed the required classroom periods for the lessons; and determined the assessment weight e.g., marks for the lesson as well.
  6. Here, the evaluation procedure for the local curriculum was discussed and a simple evaluation framework was suggested. Both summative and formative types of evaluation for grades 4 and 5 were suggested, with only a formative evaluation system for the younger children of grades 1 to 3.
  7. To present this local curriculum simply and easily, various tables and layout patterns were designed and organized.
  8. For the first time in Nepal, Mithila art will be included in lessons from grades 1-5 in a local curriculum. As it is new material, further activity suggestions as well as possible questions for discussion, and additional guidance for teachers were added.  A team of Mithila artists was engaged in creating the full curriculum, including their art works. Mithila arts have been created specifically for the curriculum and included in the lesson plans.
  9. In the final step, the final version of the Mithila art curriculum to submit to the Laxminiya rural municipality was prepared.
Image 2: An illustrative Mithila painting of a cheerful young woman (Artist: Miss Anjita Mishra)

After submitting the draft document officially to the Laxminiya rural municipality in June, JWAS will continue to provide technical support for producing the final product. The final local curriculum will be in Nepali, and a summary English version will be available in the Resource library by the end of July 2024. A full English version will be made available in October 2024.