Education Being Narrow and Sterile


Kathmandu - Papers did not get published for 4 days of this week, due to Dashain festival. Obviously, the numbers of matters were very low compared to past weeks. There were few though very sad news reported in the online media under our analysis relating education in the western parts of South Asia.  

The media was poured with the news of a powerful bomb blast ripped through an Islamic seminary on the outskirts of the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday morning, killing at least seven school children and wounding 112 others and IS suicide bombing at an education centre in Afghanistan's capital Kabul killing 24 people including teenaged students and wounding dozens.

However, this international news around education is more report of violence than education just for involving school students in the incident. Essentially, reporting about educational issues in the Nepali media is minimal.  This is a symptom of both the cause and effect for Nepali education being narrow and sterile. Large issues such as the launch of India’s New Education Policy next door hardly took attention of the Nepali media.

Former VC of the TU and diplomat Kedar Bhakta Mathema said to the analyst ‘If you see a neighbor has painted their house, you can think that Dashain is round the corner and they too should be thinking about it (unless they have just done it)!’  

As people across the country start celebrating festivals, the teachers and staff at Naraha Rural Municipality in Siraha are yet to receive their salary for the last four months reported news. Chairman of the rural municipality said the salary could not be released as the Municipal Assembly of 2020-21 could not be held due to internal dispute. 

The NEB was reported publishing the routine for examinations of Grade 12 from November 24 through December 1. The NEB has made it mandatory to set up a health desk and maintain at least two meters distance between two students and seat a maximum of 20 students in a room in Exam Centers.

The MoEST has directed to introduce new integrated system in Grade 11 from the current academic session. The Ministry has issued a notice urging Municipalities to monitor the situation after some private schools started enrolling students under old faculty system of curriculum. 

The government has alerted the private schools as students and parents are confused after some private schools started under old curricular system. It was already notified that the assessment (examination) of the students will be done on the new syllabus. At HISSAN's call, some private schools have started old curriculum and teaching through alternative means, the news reported. HISSAN had been lobbying to stop the implementation of the new curriculum for avoiding the additional burden of students.

The delay in fixing examinations dates and not being able to monitor and control the private schools and colleges to implement new curriculum has created further doubts and mistrust among the people toward the Government. Nepal Education system seems fading out as the Government is not being able to resolve the internal problems and unable to go with the global trends of education and its importance.

An opinion stated language not only a medium but also an issue how we want to build our country. Furthermore, knowing English does not measure our intellect, it stated. An editorial expressed concern that many languages of Nepal are in verge of extinction, as school system fails to contribute to its conservation.  It stated that since Nepali and English are the languages of instruction in the schools, people speaking different language are increasingly communicating in Nepali even in the family. It stated that students speaking different mother tongues in the same class has been one of the main challenges to ensure primary education in mother tongues. 

The country is going through a big misconception that many languages are the barriers to education.  It has both political as well as pedagogical dimension. Politically, it’s a medium of hegemony. For example, as long as English is considered superior, non-native speakers never are as superiors. They keep on running behind for generations. This is the same with Nepali. Nepali was made the language of instruction and students from other language backgrounds have kept on failing. Students with Nepali mother tongue also fail in English. Of course, historically dominant languages contain more information but the knowledge and perspectives contained in other languages is immensely valuable and disappears with the language. It is related to identity, pride and confidence of the people. Pedagogically outcomes are higher and deeper. Because of the hegemonic attitude of Nepali speakers and the misconception about the role of language in teaching and learning of the planners, even possible options for instructing primary education in the mother tongue are not taken. It is likely that we will learn this when many mother tongue speakers migrate to dominant language only to realize that we have made a mistake in education and also many have lost their access to their ancestral language. 

Lumbini Buddhist University will operate its first affiliated campus in Butwal, the news stated. In the initial phase, ‘humanities’ will be introduced in the campus, according to the University Registrar. The university assembly has also decided to offer doctorate degree (PhD) in humanities besides Buddhist Philosophy. Earlier, doctorate only in Buddhist Philosophy, was offered, the media stated.

Of course, this not so much new: it is also another episode of the universities giving affiliation to run courses as a source of income to the University rather than establishing a course based on the demand for human resources and the importance of the subject being offered. Universities are becoming as sales agents of popular degrees that can attract money. 

Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Jumla, (KAHS) made its academic calendar public for the upcoming year stating that it the government approved master’s level program for five seats. Stating that KAHS has been accredited as a university it’s Rector was quoted saying that preparations were under way to run the MBBS program in the next academic season. It also reported that programs of MD in general practice and emergency medicine (three seats), MD in anesthesia and critical care (one seat), MD in orthopedic and trauma surgery (one seat) and Bachelors of Nursing, of Pharmacy and in Clinical Nutrition programs will also run.
Nepali students has won two 'Honorable Mention Awards' in the 'Global E-competition on Astronomy and Astrophysics' conducted this year, the media reported 

The news also reported that a college lecturer was arrested for trying to sell rhino horn in Kathmandu. Journalists were barred in the handing over and inauguration ceremony of Durbar High School which was reconstructed under Chinese aid.

Australian Ambassador for Nepal, Peter Bud stated 'Australia wants to make international students successful. However, students need to have economic backup.'  

Abbreviations: 
IS- Islamic State, NEB- National Examination Board, MoEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, HISSAN- Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools' Association Nepal, KAHS- Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, MBBS- Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, MD- Doctor of Medicine, TU- Tribhuvan University,

'Education this Week' is a joint effort to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print and online media published in Kathmandu. This week, reports included online portals SetoPati, NayaPatrika and My Republica between 21-27 October, 2020 (5-11 Kartik, 2077) . 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 - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali :शिक्षा अनुत्पादक र क्षेत्र साँघुरिदै गएको तर्फ इङ्गित