Computer courses reach rural areas of MuguThe villagers say they are happy with the availability of computer courses in community schools at an affordable price.
After passing her Secondary Education Examination last year, Rajyaswori Shahi of Jeragaun in Bajura had almost given up her dreams to pursue her higher education in computer studies. Schools in her village do not offer computer studies courses, which meant she would have to go to educational institutes in either Surkhet or Nepalgunj.
However, to her relief, she heard that Sarbodaya Secondary School in Khatyad of Mugu had recently started offering computer engineering courses. She rented a room in Khatyad, which is around a day’s walk from her village in Jeragaun, to attend the school.
“Living in Khatyad is cheaper than living in Surkhet or Nepalgunj. I wouldn’t have been able to study computer engineering if this school had not offered the course,” said Shahi.
Sarbodaya Secondary School started an 18-month-long computer engineering course in October 2019, making it possible for many aspiring students like Shahi to pursue higher education in computer studies.
“Before the school started the course, students in the area either had to give up on studying computer engineering or leave the village to go to Nepalgunj or Surkhet. But we don’t have to make that choice anymore,” said
Shahi’s classmate Sangita Rokaya. “Pursuing the subject of our choice has been made affordable for us.”
There are a total of 50 students enrolled for the course at present; eighteen enrolled this year while 32 took admission last year. The school management has purchased 30 computer sets and installed solar plants to run the classes.
“It is a very big step for all of us here. We are happy that aspiring computer studies students now don’t have to go to cities for a lack of options,” said Lokendra Karki, the school principal.
The introduction of computer studies courses in the school has especially benefited girl students since parents are reluctant to send girls away from home to the cities for higher education, says Karki. This had led many girls in rural areas to drop out of school.
Of the total 50 students enrolled for the computer studies course at the school, 30 are girls.
“Girls who wanted to pursue subjects such as computer studies were always discouraged for a lack of easy accessibility to that kind of courses at the local schools,” said Karki. “But that is changing now. Girls have enrolled in the computer course at our school in more numbers than boys.”
A student has to pay a total fee of Rs 60,000 to complete the 18-month-long computer course. The villagers say they are happy with the availability of computer courses in community schools at an affordable price.
“The fees are reasonable. Private institutes in the cities would charge around Rs 300,000 for the same course,” said Purna BK, a local resident of Sukadhik village.
“I am unable to send my children out of the district for higher education but my daughter is now learning about computers in the village itself. I hope she will gain some valuable knowledge from this course,” said Raj Bahadur Karki of Sukadhik, whose daughter has enrolled for a computer course at Prabhat Secondary School in Chhayanathrara Municipality, Mugu.
The school has also initiated computer classes for students of grades six, seven and eight.
“As many as 65 students have enrolled for computer studies class at the school,” said principal Prakash Baduwal. According to him, the community school procured 40 computers with the support of donors to conduct the class.
Girls outnumber boys in the computer studies class in Prabhat Secondary School as well.
According to Surya Khatri, chief at the Education Development and Coordination Unit in Mugu, around a dozen community schools in the district have started running computer and other technical classes.
“Technical education is gradually reaching rural areas. Students interested in technical education no longer have to go to other towns and cities to pursue the course,” said Khatri.