Bhaktapur schools teach about Khwapa past, present

Published On: July 23, 2019 07:11 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

BHAKTAPUR, July 23: The Constitution of Nepal 2015 empowers local bodies to design and implement their own curriculum for schools. Bhaktapur Municipality has done just that.

The municipality wants students to learn practical ways and skills that will preserve and take forward local culture and values. The municipality introduced self-designed courses for grades 1 and 6 in 2018 and 2 and 7 in 2019. 
In 2018, the municipality introduced the curriculum in 92 schools within its jurisdiction.

It covers foods, arts, culture, architecture and various games. The teachers take the liberty to go beyond the textbooks and share their experience and skills during field trips and experiential learning. 

“The curriculum was initially planned for students of grades 1-8. Although it is currently being implemented in grades 1, 2, 6 and 7, our long-term plan is to make it accessible to all elementary-level students,” said Sunil Prajapati, mayor of Bhaktapur.

The students have started enjoying the curriculum and their performance in exams has improved, say the teachers. The course instills in them life-long skills that textbooks do not provide. “The course is reviving an extinct culture in students’ minds through the medium of food, language, games, architecture,” said Saruna Awal, a subject teacher at Bal Vikash Secondary School.

With the school running lessons in Nepalbhasa and the Ranjana and Prachalit scripts, seventh grader Ayushka Timalsina can now speak the language with her classmates. As a non-Newar, she is keen on the language as it helps her build harmony with peers. 

Similarly, Suravi Lakhaju of Grade 6 expressed curiosity at seeing the ancient peacock carvings during field visits. “We try to explore different places every time and broaden our horizon with knowledge of diverse subjects,” she said.

The curriculum is categorized in 11 units and educates students on the values that Khwapa (Bhaktapur) has preserved since ages. “The course wants to establish ‘Khwapa ko pahichan’ by educating students on Bhaktapur’s history, geography, language, local tourism, cultural heritage, games and costumes,” said Roshan Raj Tuitui, principal of Sharada Higher Secondary School.

Parents express their satisfaction with the new curriculum. Sagar Kusatha, who has been making and selling Juju Dhau (Bhaktapur curd) for more than two decades, is elated that his son is learning to make this distinctive delicacy. 

“Teaching students these skills is the secret to preserving our culture and passing it on to the next generation,” said Kusatha. 

“We have designed the curriculum to teach the young how to fish rather than just giving them the fish,” added Prajapati.

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