Relevance of Dashain Vacation Assignments for Students

Kathmandu -  This week issues around festivals and home assignments were the topics of discussion in opinion articles. There were more opinion articles then news this week. The news about government’s appeal to private medical colleges to return the extra fees taken from students made it in the papers again. The appeal to end political appointments of higher education institutions officials continued to be subject of some opinion article.

Abbreviations: MOEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, TUSC- TU Service Commission, KD-Kantipur Daily, THT-  The Himalayan Times

-    Need to build standards of a quality Education was raised in an opinion article this week. The article reported about unpractical, unscientific curriculum discussed in a conference organized on quality education by Rato Bangla Foundation. The illusion of English medium as the criteria for quality education was discussed in the article. The failure of the government to form a standard for quality education has caused lack of uniformity among educators, resulting in degradation of quality of education in the nation, stated the writer. The writer expressed concern over the publicity focused approach of the government with education. Instead of focusing on addressing on discourse on medium of instruction, it has started 1000 model school program it noted.

-    Curriculum Development Center has made Social Studies compulsory for class 11 students and Life-skill based education compulsory for class 12. After the approval of the new national curriculum, 6 subjects each will be taught in class 11, and 12 of which 3 will be compulsory and 3 optional. Class 11 will have Nepali, English and Social Studies as compulsory while class 12 will have Nepali, English and Life-based education as compulsory. With this, there will be no distinct faculties in class 11 and 12, as students will be able to mix in subjects between different fields as per interest. Curriculum for 70 subjects has been prepared by CDC. The center had cancelled the experimental trial of the curriculum for class 11 and 12 in some schools after issues on examination of those students was identified.

Some academicians stated that all subjects should be based on practicality to real life, and that one subject dedicated to life-skill will not be enough. In lack of sufficient preparation prior to the implementation of new curriculum, life-skill-based subjects could end up being a subject to score higher marks some academicians warned in the article. Collective curriculum is in trial from class 1 to 3 in 103 school in this school year. New curriculum will be fully implemented from first month of 2077. Students can study subjects on natural medicine, Yoga and Ayurveda from class 9.

-    Dr. Gobinda KC a medical education reform activist wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister through an opinion article in Katnipur Daily. He informed the PM through the letter that the party personal of Communist party consider medical field more as a business opportunity then the right of all for public welfare, and that they are actively involved in dismantling public medical institution, such as Karnali Medical Science Institute for the sake of business opportunities in private medical institutions they have invested in. He openly criticized the PM for the government's biased decision of rejecting the authority to run medical courses to Karnali's institute with sufficient infrastructure and other requirements required by law, while granting the same permit to an Institute in Pokhara with insufficient infrastructures and other requirements, under the influence and interest of a politician in his party.

-    This week multiple opinion articles discussion about the relevance of homework assignments to students in long vacations like Dashain, Tihar festival. These articles discussed that assignments for long vacations could be more innovative and relevant to the context to make the best of this rare opportunity of the children to be with their parents and family. Flexible assignments like book reviews could help build the reading culture in them recommended one of the author. An opinion article titled ‘The load of Dashain assignments’ stated that students are burdened more with these assignments limiting their opportunity to socialize and learn the roots and essence of the fabrics of the culture and family bonds. The author suggests that rather more creative ways to engage them during the holidays should be sought and just adding quantity of work to keep them engaged.

-    A news reported that Tika ritual was organized at school for lessons in Rautahat. The school discussed with students about Dashain, Tihar and chat festivals in presence of senior personals of the community in the last day of schools before vacation. Deputy Mayor, journalist and security personals, army officials shared their take on the perspectives and experiences on these festivals with students.

-    Minister of MOEST has again urged the private medical college operators to return extra fees arbitrarily taken from medical students reported a news story. Speaking at a program organized by All Nepal National Free Students Union here today, Minister Pokharel appealed to them to charge fees on medical students in accordance with the fee structure decided by the government. He pledged that the anomalies prevailing in the medical education sector and health sector will be addressed. Minister Pokhrel reaffirmed the government’s commitment towards making Nepal an education hub. A Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader was reported stating that the operators should hand over the college to the state if they could not operate their colleges as per law.

An opinion article this week as well appealed the end of political appointment of officials at higher education institution, Universities to bring the national higher education institution like TU back on track as a place for academic excellence. An opinion article also discussed about the role of academic institution to support government agencies in research and development works.

'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print media published in Kathmandu. The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news. This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP) , has produced this analysis based on the news printed in Kantipur (Nepali) and The Himalayan Times (English), Dailies and Himal Weekly(Nepali) between Oct 2-8, 2019 (Asoj 15-21, 2076) - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali : गृहकार्य र विदाको सान्दर्भिकता

Read last week’s analysis : Call for rule of law, Government unclear about its position

All analysis read by this link : Education This week