Sushma Bastola of Mechinagar, Jhapa has been studying for a bachelor’s degree in tea technology and management for the last three years. She sees great career prospects by studying tea technology, and has been serving as an intern at a tea garden at Fikkal, Ilam.
Although Bastola sees potential in the sector, the subject has failed to attract many students at Mechi Multiple Campus in Bhadrapur, Jhapa. The campus started offering a tea technology course four years ago with the aim of producing human resources in the sector. A large part of the country’s tea industry is based in Eastern Nepal, particularly in Jhapa and Ilam districts. Presently, 20 students from the campus are serving their internship in tea factories in Jhapa and Ilam. “Six of them have been employed at the Tea and Coffee Development Board,” said Chitamani Dahal, former chief of Mechi Multiple Campus. “Despite the enormous potential, guardians are hesitant to allow their children to study this subject.”
Due to the low attraction of the subject, the college has been reducing the student quota. Initially, 24 students got admission into the course, but not a single student was enrolled last year. “The low popularity of the course has forced us to reduce the student quota,” said Geeta Shrestha, coordinator of the subject at the campus. According to her, a quota of 15 students has been determined for this year. “We have been disseminating information about it through newspapers and FM stations,” she said.
According to Dahal, the campus can increase the quota to a maximum of 32. There is a provision that those passing Plus Two in the science stream can study tea technology. As science students usually choose a career in medicine and engineering, the college is finding it hard to get candidates to study tea technology. “Those failing to study medicine and engineering have transferred to tea technology.” College chief Uma Nath Oli said that as long as students and parents don’t see any potential in tea technology, they are unlikely to enrol in this course. “As it is a new subject, parents are concerned about the future of their children,” he said.
The college started teaching a four-year diploma course in the subject by obtaining affiliation from Tribhuvan University. The course is completed in four semesters. There is also a scarcity of qualified professors in the subject, forcing the college to hire teachers from Darjeeling, Siliguri and Kolkata, according to Dahal.
Source: The Kathmandu Post