Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back home, ex-Qatar Academy teacher plans to devote life to charity

KATHMANDU, May 15:  His recent arrest in Qatar over alleged insult to Islam has brought a turning point in the life of a former Qatar Academy chemistry teacher Dorje Gurung.

The 42-year old high school teacher with 16 years of teaching experiences in various nine countries abroad, including the US and the UK, has now decided to devote the rest of his life contributing to the education sector in Nepal.

“I don´t want to remember the past. I will now work toward making a difference in the lives of Nepali children,” said Gurung, who arrived home Monday evening after the authorities in Doha set him free.

Gurung says he plans to set up science labs and libraries in public schools across the country. Apart from financing the studies of poor children, he also plans to contribute to the society through social work. “I have decided not to go abroad for employment. I will now work for the cause of educating the poor children,” said Gurung.


The Qatar Academy had relieved Gurung of his duty last week over a derogatory comment on Islam-- something Gurung denies. He says all this could have occurred due to misinterpretation of what he actually said during an argument with a group of his students on April 16. “I never made remarks against Islam. I do not know what exactly the 7th grade students accused me of saying. But I was told by the police that I insulted Islam,” he said.

The school management had called a meeting with him on April 17 and he was asked to submit a written clarification over the issue. “As the school management decided to relieve me of my duty on April 21, I had made all necessary plans to return home on May 3,” said Gurung. “But I was stunned when police arrested me on May 1.”

Gurung´s friends and former students from both within Nepal and abroad had launched a facebook campaign to secure his release. “I still can not find words to thank you -- words that would sufficiently express my gratitude to you all. The gift of freedom! (Ask any of my friends and colleagues at Qatar Academy who received me upon my release yesterday afternoon- I was just a wreck. All I could do was cry and bawl),” he said in a facebook comment after landing in Kathmandu late Monday evening.

Born in Chusang VDC of Mustang 42 years ago, Gurung studied up to grade III at a local school in Pokhara and then was admitted to St Xavier School in Godavari, Kathmandu. After passing School Leaving Certificate (SLC) level in 1987, he went to Italy to pursue a two-year IB Diploma. A Chemistry graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, USA, Gurung started his teaching career in Italy (1994-1995) and then moved to Hong Kong, where he had another one year of teaching experience.

He came back to Kathmandu after spending a year in Norway (1996-1997) as a teacher. Gurung then worked as teacher in various local schools in Kathmandu till February 1999 before he flew to Australia to pursue a one-year Diploma in Education degree.

Gurung again started teaching career abroad since 2001 with first two years in the USA and following three years in the African country of Malawi. Gurung then taught at an international school in Azerbaijan (2007 to 2010) and Vietnam (2010 to 2011) before joining the Qatar Academy in August 2011. “As a teacher working in different parts of the world, I always had a desire to work in an Islamic country. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Qatar,” he said while cautiously avoiding the bitter experience he had for the remarks he says he did not make.

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