Jagannath Devkota who is the founder director of Jaya Devkota Memorial College, is really a path finder in bringing new innovation and research in education. He is in the concept that students can learn easily if they are taught practically by touching, feeling, seeing, observing and realizing the things they learn. As a result, in his initiation, Jaya Devkota Memorial Zoo and Museum -the mini zoo & museum has been set up for observing the things naturally and physically. He has shared his view with College Readers. Excerpts:
Jaya Devkota Memorial College is one of the top-notch colleges of Nepal for the quality education. How have you developed the concept of establishing such college?
I have visited many countries of the world and closely observed the education system practiced in these countries. In most of the developed countries, focus is given in conceptual education and practical orientation. But in our country, only theoretical and rehearsing system of education is in priority. Thus, our students only recited but not felt, heard but not visualized. Reciting learning remains in oblivion within short span of time. I realized the urgent need of conceptual education for the long lasting learning. Hence, Jaya Devkota Memorial College was established with the motive of imparting conceptual education where the students can learn by touching, feeling, seeing, observing and realizing the thing they learn. In this college, the students will learn as if they are in real field.
You may have developed such concept since long before, how long did it take time to materialize your dream?
In fact, pragmatic education is the roadways to societal development. The progress and prosperity of entire society depends upon the quality education. I was highly influenced by my sweet dream of building progressive and prosperous society through enhancing quality education. So, it did not take long time to materialize my concept since it was my unavoidable dream. When I felt the necessity of conceptual education, I drew my full attention to materialize the plan and tried my best to have suitable site. First of all, I prepared the proper plan and took a strong determination to manage it in all ways. I found this place as the best place since the pleasant environment surrounded by green forest here highly fascinated me .In fact, forest is the basis of all the human and animal for their survival. So, I selected this location as the best place for establishing college of my dream. I prepared adequate physical infrastructure and other requisites run the college to manifest my plan. In this college, the students learn practical skill required to lead a life and conceptual knowledge which is long lasting and realistic.
Could you share with us about how Jaya Devkota Memorial College was named?
Jaya is the name of my adored and only one daughter. The untimely demise of my daughter socked me very much. She was just studying medical doctor course. I cannot express her unanticipated bereavement in words. It was really excruciating for me. I felt that as if I have lost everything. I witnessed the earthly law and convinced by myself saying that life and death natural phenomena. Thinking thus, I tried my best to convert the severe pain in to power and promised to make my daughter immortal. My motive was to produce thousands of such daughters through imparting proactive and life sustaining education. So, the name Jaya Devkota Memorial College is given as the tribute of my deceased daughter. Currently, Zoo has also been in operation after her memory.
You have told us that Jaya Devkota Memorial College has set up Zoo as Animal kingdom and historical cultural museum. Could you share with us about the variety species of birds and animals? How many types of birds and birds are breathing and how many of them are artificial?
There are variety of birds and animals in this animal kingdom. I have been increasing the numbers of species which are allowed by the existing laws of the countries. We have pigeon, The Red-vented Bulbul , Feral chickens ( kalij ),Chickens, Turkey, Battai,Rabbits,naumuthe cow or it is also Achham cattle are a breed of zebu cattle found in the Achham region of Nepal. Achham cattle are a small breed less than 1 meter in height at the withers. It is also called Naumuthe cow as it measures only nine fists from its hoof to hump, bakulaa birds a long-legged and long-necked bird(herons), goats and swan , a large white bird with a long neck ( raj hansa) etc are breathing animals and birds. Furthermore, the animals which are not allowed to keep such as tiger, lion, elephant, Dinosaurs etc. are dummy or artificial. We demonstrate our students about how swan separates milk and water. So, the students not only heard but practically learn and see. Similarly, they will learn elephant, tiger, lion, etc. by touching, seeing and reading ie they practically learns and develops conceptual knowledge about these things which is long lasting learning.
Besides animals and birds, we have set up museum collecting ancient tools and technology which were invented and used by our ancestors. Dhiki, janto, Doko, Thunse, Daali, Theki, Madani, kuto, kodali, traditional dresses of varieties of castes group living in Nepal and so on. We also let students to make ghee (nauni) from curd, make chiura (beaten rice) by themselves. So, the students here can learn these all as if they are in real field. In fact, all the nature and natural phenomena are our teachers since we learn important lesson from them. Such as we learn great lesson to be brighter for removing the dark from the sun. Datratreya had accepted 24 gurus since they learnt 48 things from them. So, we inspire our students to learn lesson from all the things from small birds to dangerous animal such as lion, tiger, and elephants and so on.
How much was the estimated investment to set up the zoo and museum? Are these set up only for the students of your college or open to visit others?
I think, around 25 to 30 lakhs rupees were the cost investment till the date. It is still under construction. We are gradually adding the other things that are felt necessity. The mayor has promised to recommend adding other animals and birds as much as possible and as possible by laws.
It is for all the aspirants not only foe our students. We will soon formulate regulatory act and entry fees for the visitors .I have plan to arrange the gathering of social students teachers working in various schools around our locality and orient them about the significance of visiting, observing and gaining experience of our society and the its ways of life. Everyone is welcome to visit and take advantage from this museum and zoo.
What messages would you like to convey to the visitors who seek to visit?
I would like to convey the warm welcome to all the aspirants, principals, guardians, teachers and the students, particularly, the teachers and the students of social studies. In the latest days, social studies is supposed to be considered as the difficult subjects but, in fact, it is very easy if it is taught in demonstrated and practical method. So, I am planning to give orientation about the significance of visiting this site to the social studies teachers of this locality. The students and the teachers here can learn important lesson of our ancient society, contribution of our ancestors and the ways of their life practically. I assure that visiting this museum will be helpful to gain practical knowledge to all the concern. The museum and the zoo are inaugurated on the auspicious occasion of Saraswoti Pooja. So, I hope all will take my effort positively and grant me opportunity to serve the society.