Blog post

Creating a Mithila Art Focused Local Curriculum in Nepal: Process Notes

22nd April 2024



This article briefly outlines the process that JWAS is applying in the creation of a Mithila art focused local curriculum in Nepal. Scholars believe that Mithila art originated in Janakpur (Nepal), the capital city of the ancient Mithila kingdom. Even now, Janakpur is the hub of Mithila arts in Nepal, as well as a famous religious and historical place. JWAS is creating a local curriculum specifically for the Laxminiya rural municipality (which will be referred to as ‘municipality’ hereafter). This is a part of the Janakpur region in Nepal. 

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between JWAS and the municipality. Before the MoU, JWAS senior team met with the senior executives (including the President, Chief Administrative Officer and the Coordinator of the Municipal Education Committee), and discussed the plans to create a local curriculum. The summary of the agreed plans were then outlined in the MoU. 

The JWAS team finalising the cover page image for local curriculum. Photo Credit: Rajan Nepal 


JWAS mobilised a gender balanced team of seven people including education experts, young Mithila artists, senior Mithila artists and an information manager. Similarly, in line with the recommendations of Municipal Education Committee of the municipality, two local young people were engaged. JWAS also requested the municipal education committee to recommend two local teachers to help finalize the local curriculum. The team received a one day orientation about the project and their individual roles and responsibilities. 

Themes, tools and information collection 

JWAS worked with the coordinator of the Municipal Education Committee and identified nine possible themes for the local curriculum (see annex 1). In addition, a mapping of individuals, stakeholders and communities was conducted. Considering the nine themes, JWAS prepared different forms and formats for collecting information from the field. Altogether, 15 meetings/workshops and 19 interviews were completed by the end of February 2024. At least five other meetings are planned for finalising the curriculum in May 2024. 

Workshop with the agricultural experts and farmers. Photo-Credit: one of the participant

The field 

Most of the people in the field were not aware about the provisions of a local curriculum. They asked “what is a local curriculum?” and “Why is it needed?” So it was a privilege for JWAS to create awareness on the importance of an arts based local curriculum. See the following testimony: 

On 17 February 2023, a group of young and senior female Mithila artists/painters attended a workshop organised for generating a grade wise Mithila art lesson plans. In the beginning, they were confused with the word ‘art based curriculum’. Then the following conversation between the project team and one of the senior painters, who has more than 40 years of experience in Mithila painting, helped discuss the significance of a Mithila art focused local curriculum in schools. 

Young Mithila artist preparing notes in the workshop. Photo Credit: Nub Raj Bhandari 

  • Project team: Do you think that children of this municipality should know Mithila art? 
  • Female painter: Yes, they must know. 
  • Project team: Yes of course. But how would they know?  
  • Female painter: Do not worry. Call me one day. I will train them. (The painter was confident that teaching Mithila art to children is an easy job).  
  • Project team: So you want to travel to all the seven wards and 18 schools of this municipality and train the students of all grades, do you?  
  • Female painter: Look at my age son (she laughed). How can I travel to different communities? I can only train the students of this school (she pointed to the school). 
  • Project team: If so, how do you think all the students of this municipality can be trained? 

This question brought other attendees into the discussion, which helped them to understand the importance of a Mithila art focused curriculum. 

In conclusion, the process that JWAS is applying has engaged a diverse range of local people, communities and stakeholders in the local curriculum process. 

* The next blog will explore a summary of grade wise Mithila art lesson plans. 

Annex 1- identified themes 

Our Municipality, our (Maithili) custom and culture, Mithila arts, Mithila literature, Mithila festivals and events, religious and historical sites, health and hygiene, natural resources, and social diversities and people’s lifestyles. 

(2023). Gender norms in local government: how they shape engagement for women leaders in Nepal. JWAS: Nepal. Available at