Government Model Boys Higher Secondary School will soon have its own brand of pineapple jam and squash made by the students

“While we make the squash in two hours, it takes three hours to prepare the jam,” says one. “The cooking sessions have been more than fun,” say two others.

These wannabe cooks are not members of a neighbourhood cooking class but Plus Two students of Government Model Boys Higher Secondary School, pursuing Gandhian Studies in the Humanities stream. The group – Ajith N., Akhil K.S., Ananthan Unni R., Nixon Sunny and Sathwik Shankar are among the 50 students of the current batch who have learned to make jam and quash as part of their course. Beaming with pride they place trays laden with pineapple squash and jam bottles and went on to explain how they had made the jam and squash.

“The students have to learn a craft as part of the curriculum. Normally they learn soap-making, cloth/paper bag making, book binding and the like. They usually attend these classes just for the sake of scoring marks in the examination. This time we wanted to make it different so that it would help them in the long run. We focussed on entrepreneurship aspects and came up with this idea. It is all about learning by doing. This venture is mainly intended to help those students who belong to economically backward families,” says K.V. Pramod, a faculty member of Gandhian studies.

The students have been trained by Mitraniketan Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK). “We got financial support from our Parent Teacher Association and members of our 1969 batch. Principal M.P. Shaji and other staff members support the venture,” says Pramod. The students are trained in batches of five or six, at least twice a week, during the regular class hours by Shamsya A. H., subject matter specialist with KVK.

“Our classes started three months ago. The previous batch of products was sold among the teachers and students. Normally six of us work as a team, dividing the work amongst us,” says Sathwik. One of the classrooms is their ‘cooking lab’, where they have a gas stove, utensils and facilities to do cutting, chopping, and cooking. They are expected to wear aprons, gloves and face masks and also cover their heads with a cap while preparing the products.

Akhil and Nixon say: “We all have been inspired by the classes and most of us plan to make a career out of this.” In fact, the school has gone all out to encourage those students who want to take it up seriously. “Those interested can stay back after school hours, prepare these items and sell them outside. They can keep the profit,” says Pramod.

Now the school is all set for an official launch of the product. “We just have to finalise a brand name!” say the students, with a laugh. The students have also cultivated mushrooms on the campus as part of the course and had a good harvest as well.