Khotang school dropouts resort to fishing for moneymaking

KHOTANG: Gyan Bahadur Rai (15) is spotted fishing in the Dhudkoshi River and selling the fish in marketplaces in the evening these days.

He has recently left the local Simle Secondary School.

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

As the school continues to run its regular classes, Rai along with 18-year-old Sujan Rai and 17-year-old Tara Rai have trained their concentration and determination on catching fishes.

As the night falls, they haul the net in and rejoice for the day's game. Then, of course, they head to the marketplaces to earn a fortune.

Most of the children enrolled in the schools of Batase area have also taken to fishing to generate money needed to buy exercise books, pens and uniforms.

"There is no guarantee that we will find employment after studying," Tara says, adding "So we abandoned our study."

Many students, likewise, are forced to leave their schools due to their poor economic background. Sujan and Tara dropped out of Grade 9. Locals 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 confides that it is a serious concern as the number of students leaving their schools is increasing every year. Although their parents have been consulted, the students just do not want to come back, Kattel added.

A student earns a monthly profit of Rs 20,000 to 22,000 by selling fish. Sujan says, adding they use the money to buy daily essential commodities for running their household chores. On the other hand, consumers have acknowledged the fact that the fishes found in Dhudhkoshi are particularly tasty.

On the other hand, consumers have acknowledged the fact that the fishes found in Dhudhkoshi are tastier.