Students of Annapurna Secondary School of Jwalamukhi Rural Municipality in Dhading taking classes of technical education in this recent photo. Sarita Shrestha/Republica
DHADING, Aug 22: Sangeeta Thapa of Khira village in Dhading carries a bundle of grass along with her books while going to school every morning. People used to laugh at her for doing so. Even her parents did not feel comfortable about it. But she carried on with her way of life.
Now, everyone is aware that Thapa is not just learning at school but also making good money through her extra skills.
"They used to make fun of me. I used to feel quite odd in the beginning but I continued with it. These days, they feel good that I am making money," said Thapa, a ninth grader at Annapurna Secondary School of Jwalamukhi Rural Municipality.
The school established in 1988 introduced technical education for students two years ago in collaboration with CTEVT.
It offers agricultural training and even helps the students find resources to start their own business.
The students have been involved in animal husbandry. Most of them own poultry farm while others rear goats and pigs.
"It feels quite good to earn while learning. We all feel so proud of ourselves. People come to have a look at our farms now," said Thapa.
"My goal now is to become a successful entrepreneur in the village. I am not going to go anywhere else in the future," she added.
Her classmate Subash Bhujel also aspires to become an entrepreneur.
“It is far better to work hard in one's own land instead of searching for job in foreign land and toiling hard all day for a meager salary,” he remarked.
"My parents discuss about my future sometimes. They want me to go to Kathmandu for further studies and then maybe they want me to go abroad. But I feel that it would be a wrong decision," he said. "It is much better to develop skills that allow you work and earn in your own country," he added.
Bhujel is into poultry farming since the last few months and he earns pretty good money. "This has left even the elders at my home in dilemma. I am certain that they will someday tell me to expand my business here rather than going abroad," he stated.
Altogether 10 male and 30 female students are learning technical education at the school. The school itself has provided space for farming. Some of the plots have been taken on lease.
According to Anil Kumar Chaudhari, coordinator of the school, the students are involved in professional farming.
Chaudhari said that the school is well equipped with labs, machines and other basic tools needed for farming.
The agriculture courses for students are 18 months long. Within the period, they work in the field as well as learn from books.
"Both the theory and practical classes are given equal importance. Our students are now doing better than seasoned farmers here," said the school's principle. He added that the school's access to market has also ensured good return of the products.
Although this is the first batch of technical course, the students have already made Rs 150,000 net profit from poultry farming alone.
There are 564 community schools in the district and three of them offer technical education.