This Comment is based on the lack of 'Student's role in the reform of school system of a towards socialist democratic Nation.' in the recently shared High Level Commission for Education, under Education Ministry's report.
What aspiration for the character of the ‘post school student’ is the commission seeking for?
No focus discussion or consultation has been done or realized to consider the voice of the student body, or the angle from the students perspective on how the school mechanism can ensure and define the authority and share of the largest participant in the schools system , "The students".
Student unions seem unaware and have missed this opportunity to have their say to call for a more democratic school system and classrooms.
I request the commission to suggest for a school system that shares the responsibility and rights of the decision of the future with the people whose future are at stake in the schools. The commission should consider that the school is there for the creation of citizens who are prepared for the democratic system, the nation is governed through.
At present Students go through an undemocratic 12 to 15 initial years of their life in schools with most or all the circumstances decided upon them by others. Thus, a citizen unprepared to take the responsibility of the right to vote has been the post-school product for years. It is interesting to realize that further away from the school systems, out in the rural corners of Nepal, we will find very young responsible children who have taken lead their life at early age and have taken the decisive authority of life in their own hands, and thus a more preferred citizen for a democratic nation are found in them.
If the aspiration of the commission, includes a citizen prepared for a democratic society who is aware of the rights and responsibility of the voting power and ready to take the responsibility of its consciousness, the school mechanism must include and insure decisive authority of the students in what happens at different stages in the class rooms and school.
The students should have the right to elect their representative in the management mechanism be it as the elected student representative as part of the SMC. Students should have their say to choose their curriculum or the method of learning. They should be part of the self-evaluation and teacher evaluation process, to ensure students are taken as an authority by the adults (teacher or parents) engaged in the school system.
The adults could thus take the students as an independent being capable of better understanding their needs and requirements and thus gradually being able to making informed decisions for the self.
Consultation with the students in every decision making process could ensure that the students are well prepared to self-organize, recognize and demand for their rights and make responsible decisions, by the time they reach the age to be a responsible voter and active citizen of the nation.
I request the commission, to ensure that the system of governance inside a class room, represents the system of governance of the nation.
"Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education." -Kranlin D. Roosevelt.
I would like to clarify that my request in not of 'Democracy' as a title of some additional textbook chapters, but as a mechanism for the functioning of a school body, for democracy inside the classroom.
"Democratic education is an educational ideal in which democracy is both a goal and a method of instruction. It brings democratic values to education and can include self-determination within a community of equals, as well as such values as justice, respect and trust. Democratic education is often specifically emancipatory, with the students' voices being equal to the teacher's." - Yusef Waghid
"Democratic Education " must be introduced in the document of the High commission for Education commissioned by the Ministry of Education, to ensure, further exploration of the idea. It should open doors for interested schools and encourage different level of school governance, assessment and analysis to explore the scope of such an approach.
Shrestha is doing Master of Arts in distance Education, IGNOU. He is working as Media and Advocacy Coordinator, Center of Educational Policies and Practices.