Ramesh Khatiwada/Republica Under-construction building of the Jiri Technical School, Dolakha in this recent picture.
JIRI, Mar 7: The earthquake of April 2015 either partially or fully destroyed Jiri's infrastructures. Jiri Technical School, which was one of its major pride, also suffered massively. The school established in 1982 with the support of the Swiss government and was doing pretty well since its establishment had to halt classes. Owing to the massive destruction, it suffered this huge school spread in 14.5 hectors of land turned silent followed by talks of shifting it to elsewhere. Locals were unhappy as shifting it would affect the activities in Jiri in more than a way.
“It was not simply a school for Jiri. Due to its popularity and performance, it has been a part of our identity. So, shifting it from here was not something we would ever like to see,” said Mayor of Jiri Municipality, Tanka Jirel.
Owing to this deep attachment, Jiri residents vehemently opposed the idea of moving the school. They worked hard, prepared plans and approached various agencies to reconstruct the school to its former glory. Their toils paid off. Now the school is rising from the rubbles with the support of Swiss government.
“Some conspired to move the school away from Jiri stating that the school cannot be run here again. We did a lot of homework and tried our best to rebuild the school. With the assistance of the Swiss government the school is now coming back to life,” he said.
The school has resumed class. Construction of cottage-style buildings is going on in fast pace inside the school compound. Everything looks quite happening in the premises.
“This is the oldest technical school of the country and it is an asset of not only Jiri, but that of the whole nation. Students have residential facility and the school focuses of practical aspects of education. Because of this focus, it produces technicians,” said Jirel. There were 50 classrooms in the school before the earthquake.
“People who would come to visit Jiri would not only roam around the market but would prefer to visit this school as well. It was also a major tourist attraction,” Jirel noted.
According to Jirel, it took two years for the locals to draw the attention of the government and the international body towards the issue. While the locals were eager to see the school operating, it could not get the required attention from the authorities concerned, he said.
We are glad that the Swiss government, which originally constructed this school, is assisting in restoring its glory.
-Bishnuhari Adhikari, Principal of the school
“All the classrooms were destroyed by the earthquake. But authorities did not try to escalate process for rebuilding it,” said Jirel.
Principal of the school, Bishnuhari Adhikari, stated that the school was officially closed for just six months. But in reality, it started operating only recently.
“After six months, we reopened the school. Many supported it but due to shortage on infrastructures we were to resume all the classes only recently,” he said adding that since most of the residential buildings were destroyed by the earthquake, students had nowhere to live.
“Hostel rooms were destroyed by the earthquake and because of the students had to rent and pay for their livings. It was quite expensive for their families to bear all these costs,” said Adhikari.
Technical education is generally pursued by students who do not perform well academically or who have poor financial condition and want to learn technical skills to get a decent employment. Because of poor financial condition of most of its students, providing residential facilities is a very important aspect of the school, Adhikari stated.
“We are glad that the Swiss government, which originally constructed this school, is assisting in restoring its glory,” he stated.
Adhikari informed that eight cottage-style buildings are being constructed in the first phase with the cost of Rs 120 million. In total, 50 cottages will be built at an estimated cost of Rs one billion.
“The construction is progressing smoothly and we are pretty sure that the project will complete very soon,” he said.
“Students from several districts come here and take home not only technical skill but also precious memories. People cherish beautiful time in this special place,” he said elaborating on the fact that many tourists pass through the town on their way to Mount Everest.
The school currently has 432 students from across the nation. Several CTEVT approved technical courses related to agriculture, health, cottage industries and construction are offered at the school.