Cooking with Class

by Matrika Baral
Pokhara, Nepal

Nestled among the towering Himalayas is the Gandaki Boarding School, abbreviated as GBS. This school was established in Pokhara in 1966 by the local community in partnership with a Christian missionary group called the United Mission to Nepal. The Nepal government became involved as a sponsor in 1985. Since its founding, English has been the language of instruction.

The school opened with 45 boarding students. Now there are about 1150 students in the school, with nearly 650 boarders. The school starts at grade 4, so students as young as 9 years old live away from their homes.

The student body is organized into hostels, each named after a mountain peak. Students are responsible for keeping their hostel clean. They have to sweep the floors, scrub the washrooms, and work in the gardens.

I’m a teacher at GBS who looks after the boy students in one of the hostels. Besides supervising daily maintenance, I run a cooking club. The main aim of the club is to give firsthand experience to the students about cooking.

I started this club because I have seen many boys who have completed university masters degrees without knowing how to cook food for themselves. So to help solve this situation, I have been running a cooking club in my hostel.

I have been getting very positive comments from the parents after eating the delicious food that their sons learned to prepare. This really encourages me in my pursuit. In my opinion, the school must give well-rounded experiences to students. If we focus only on impractical knowledge, the learning will not be complete.

Currently, my students who have already graduated are now working and living in different parts of the world. Still today they remember those days in the hostel where they gained knowledge of cooking.


The city of Pokhara at sunset


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Math Questions

  1. If GBS opened with 45 students in eight grade levels, what was the average number of students in each grade? What is the average number per grade currently?
  2. Cooking is full of math! Think of as many ways as you can to use numbers in preparing a meal.

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Extension Questions

Pokhara has housed thousands of Tibetan refugees since China annexed Tibet in 1950. If you were a refugee, would you want to stay in Nepal where you’re geographically closer to your homeland, or would you want to keep traveling on to India where a Tibet government-in-exile operates? Explain your reasoning.

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  1. World Lakes Database webpage information about Lake Phewa in Pokhara
  2. Blog about the sacred peak known as Fishtail Mountain
  3. Seven-minute video of tourist sights in Pokhara

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