Schools in remote villages of Nepal.
There are more and more schools that are being opened all over Nepal, as people are aware of the importance of education. The government builds most schools. Some children from neighboring villages walk for a few hours to and from a school in a “nearby” village. A lot of villages have taken the initiative to start schools on their resources or by asking trekkers to help establish a school in their village if they are on the trekking routes. If a village is fortunate enough to be on a trekking route, they ask for donations from passing trekkers to finance the needs of the school; such as paying the salary of the teachers. The government takes over schools like this after a few years; however, due to the limited number of teachers provided the village committees to give the salary of the extra teachers they have hired.
The Tapriza School.
On a recent visit to a very remote district of Dolpo, we came across some interestingly different trend in schools of that district. We visited The Tapriza School. The first thing that caught my eye was the uniform of the children – they were dressed in traditional Tibetan dresses. Most Government school uniform in Nepal consists of dark blue trousers and light blue shirts for boys while the girls wear dark blue skirts and light blue shirts. There were a few interesting differences practiced in this school compared to the rest of the nation. It was the only high school in the district, the other schools in this district had only primary level education, and all the students had various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) find sponsors for the students to continue their further studies in Kathmandu if they aren't sent to The Tapriza School. This school has a proud record of one hundred percent of their students finishing the School leaving certificate (SLC) with a First Division (60 percent or higher) marks since it was inaugurated in 1998.
History of The Tapriza School
In the late nineties, two Swiss students came to do research. The villagers approached them to ask for help to establish a school. It caught the Swiss students attention; they went back home to spread the word. Tapriza NGO was founded in 1997 to help raise funds for the school. They even brought a few villagers to Switzerland to speak to potential donors for the school. The visit proofed to be a success, and they made a trip to the United States for the same purpose of raising funds for the school’s construction.
The mural is explaining how the school was started.
The uniqueness of the school.
When we reached the school, the assembly was taking place. We noticed that there was some building construction taking place as some of the school buildings had collapsed during the April 2015 earthquake. The students were smartly uniformed in traditional dress as mentioned earlier. The school manager was kind enough to speak to us. They even had a Bon (an ancient religion that predates Tibetan Buddhism) Monastery within the school’s compound. We were informed that Bon monks along with Nepali, English languages teach Tibetan and religion. We visited the monastery, and I asked about the unfamiliar murals being painted on the walls. On the right side if the wall next to the entrance the paintings told the tale of the two Swiss students visiting the area, the villagers asking for donations in Switzerland and the United States. On the left side of the wall next to the door was a mural of how their ancestors dressed and lived; along with how the way the youths dress these days. The manager informed us this was to remind the students of their rich roots. I found this of great value to educate and tell the students about their heritage and how the school was founded like in most high Himalayan regions of Nepal. The schools opened from March to the end of October and are closed for the winter from November through to end of February.
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