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Khotang students dropping out to fish in Dudhkoshi

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Khotang, September 5, 2016: Gyan Bahadur Rai is spotted fishing along the banks of the Dudhkoshi river and selling it in marketplaces in the evening these days.

The 15-year-old high school dropout from Jaleshwori VDC-4 located at the northern rim of the district did not even complete Grade 7. He is now seen with friends and fishing nets and other fishing gear in the river.

He dropped out of Simle Secondary School recently, perhaps disillusioned by the school’s education system.

As normal day progresses in Simle School, Gyan Bahadur along with 18-year-old Sujan Rai and 17-year-old Tara Rai, equipped with nets and other fishing gear, concentrate on catching fish. As night falls, they head to the marketplaces to earn from what they have caught in the day.

Most of the children enrolled in the schools of Batase area have also taken to fishing to generate the expenses needed to buy notebooks, stationeries and uniform.

Tara says she decided to drop out because she didn’t see any real guarantee of getting job after completing her education. “There is no guarantee that we will find employment after studying,” she says. “So we abandoned our study.”

Indeed, many students in the area are forced to leave their schools due to their families’ poor economic background. Sujan and Tara dropped out of Grade 9. Local villagers say that 10 to 12 students are seen heading towards the river on a daily basis carrying lunch, mattresses and other materials.

Simle Secondary School’s Principal, Nir Kumar Kattel, admits that it was a matter of concern that the number of students leaving schools is increasing every year. “The students just don’t want to return although their parents have been consulted,” Kattel adds.

A student earns Rs 20,000 to 22,000 monthly by selling fish. Sujan said they use the money to buy daily commodities for running their household chores and buying food. On the other hand, consumers acknowledge that the fishes found in Dhukoshi are particularly tasty.

Image Source: pinterest.com/paddlenepal

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