Most residents of Upper Mustang practice Tibetan Buddhism. However, unavailability of quality education and difficult economic conditions have, over time, deprived newer generations of a comprehensive knowledge of the Buddha dharma. It was with the objective of generating opportunities for young boys from the largely impoverished Himalayan region of Nepal, to study the Buddha dharma accompanied by an opportunity to receive formal education within the Nepal government-approved modern education system, that the idea of starting a school was born. Similarly, the nunnery school was the result of an endeavor to extend the same opportunities to young girls.
After the Pal Ewam Namgyal Monastic School was started, the administration realized that they had another obstacle in the form of the Mustang winter. Situated at an altitude of 3900 meters above sea level, the harsh winters Mustang experiences made holding classes during winter barely possible for a period of about 5 months, starting in November. It was for this reason that the decision was taken to move the students to Pokhara, Nepal during the winter months. Later, when the nunnery school was started, the same structure was followed. Though economically straining, it is the only way to avoid any elemental interruptions in the continuity of the academic year.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
- To preserve and further the teachings of the Buddha
- To preserve the conventional systems of conducting Buddhist rituals
- To offer Buddhist studies, free formal education and complete care for the children of the most destitute families from the Himalayan region of Nepal
- To encourage the community to preserve the cultural identity and ethical values of Mustang in this changing world
- To establish a model educational institute in the community, thus raising awareness about the importance of formal education
- To incorporate a sense of structure and discipline in the lives of these young students in the hope of producing responsible adults
Students at both the Pal Ewam monastic and nunnery schools study the Buddha Dharma, Buddhist ritual practices, Buddhist scripture-making, reading and writing Tibetan as well as English, Nepalese, Math, Science and Social Science.
In the instruction of the Buddhist courses, the school follows a traditional Tibetan Buddhist monastic curriculum. The students are required to sit for two half-yearly examinations for each Buddhist course. However, being registered under the Ministry of Education of the Nepal Government, the Pal Ewam schools follow the Nepal government’s programs of study for the other subjects. For each of these papers, the students sit for terminal examinations at the end of each of the three terms, every academic year. Progress reports of each student containing his/her academic details are then sent to the District Education Office, Jomsom, Mustang.
Every Friday, the school organizes co-curricular activities for the students. Different contests such as spelling bee, quizzes, elocutions, debates and so on, among the three houses (Kunga House, Tsewang House and Wangon House), are organized every alternate Friday. The winning student or house gets a prize.