The six municipalities of Myagdi district have introduced technical education in community schools with the aim of equipping local youth with income-generating skills. However, the outcome so far has been dismal, educators say.
The schools have set up technical courses in coordination with the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) following the directive of the Ministry of Education.
One of the reasons why technical education has failed to take off in schools is the qualification requirement for admission into the new curriculum. In order to study electricity, civil engineering, cultural sciences and other subjects, students must obtain high marks in English, mathematics and science, but most students have not been able to to get the desired percentage.
For example, at Takam Secondary School in Dhawalagiri Rural Municipality, in a class of 40 students, only eight to 10 students pass compulsory subjects to qualify for technical courses, according to Dal Bahadur Thapa, Head of School. Education Development and Coordination Unit.
A more pressing reason, however, is the shortage of qualified teachers to teach technical subjects, says Jung Bahadur Garbuja, principal of Kishani Upper Secondary School in Malika-7 Rural Municipality.
According to the Education Development and Coordination Unit, the Department of Education has provided significant financial assistance to local units, including a teaching post in each school, to attract students to technical studies, but the lack of qualified teachers hampered its efforts.
Most schools are currently looking for qualified teachers for technical subjects because they have not been able to retain the few teachers they had hired before.
“Even when a teacher joins the school, it barely lasts six months,” Thapa said. “Lack of infrastructure in remote areas, low salaries and low student numbers deter them from making long-term commitments.”
Students in grades 8 through 12 in community schools can take the technical course.
“I came here to study electrical engineering, but classes are irregular. And we have not been able to focus on our curriculum for the past two years due to the pandemic,” said Pravas Baruwal, a 12th grade student at Prabha Secondary School. “Face-to-face classes have finally resumed but we have not been able to study the subjects of the technical classes because we do not have a teacher. The school administration says they will bring in a qualified teacher soon, but I don’t think that will happen any time soon.
At present, Takam Secondary School in Dhawalagiri Rural Municipality and Prabha Secondary School in Annapurna Rural Municipality teach electrical engineering from eighth to twelfth grade.
According to Prabha Senior Secondary School Management Committee Chairman Tej Bahadur Gurung, the school provides electrical engineering courses for grade 12.
Puskar Bhandari, a resident of Dhawalagiri-7 Rural Municipality, whose daughter attends secondary school in Takam, says technical education is good to ensure a secure future for his child, but lack of qualified teachers in schools made him skeptical of the course.
“My daughter wants to become an electrical engineer but there are no qualified teachers at school,” Bhandari said. “I support his decision but I have my doubts.”
The schools run courses for crop science, animal science, junior technical assistant, agriculture degree, and electrical engineering, among others.
According to Thapa, the head of the education development and coordination unit, the local unit has started supporting technical studies such as crop science in community schools to replace traditional farming methods in rural areas. through the modernization, commercialization and mechanization of agriculture.
According to Hari Subedi, the technical coordinator of Galeshwor Higher Secondary School, the school has started teaching civil engineering to grade 12 students as part of the vocational and technical education program to meet the demand for manpower. work in the technical labor sectors.
The Ministry of Education granted Rs 2.5 million to each school to pay the salaries of a teacher and an assistant teacher at the secondary level. Students of the technical course receive an on-the-job training grant of Rs 15,000 per year.
But the fate of technical classes taught in Myagdi community schools hangs in the balance as very few students are qualified for these classes and qualified teachers are hard to find.