Keshav Gharti Magar
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself: John Dewey
Before the unification of our country Nepal, our education was based on the Gurukul system. The motto of the Gurukul system is to develop knowledge on several subjects i.e. spiritual awakening, awareness about nature and society, self-control and discipline in life and so forth.
The relationship between Guru and Shishya was sacrosanct and Gurus were regarded as Gods. After the unification of Nepal, the motto of education was also to impart and develop knowledge and teachers used to be considered spiritual fathers.
With the establishment of Durbar High school in 1854 A.D., formal education started in Nepal even though the school was built to teach Rana's offspring. However, it was opened to the public in 1901 A.D. It is known as the oldest modern school because it introduced the English education system.
After 17 years, in 1918 A.D. higher education was also started through the Tri-Chandra campus. However, access to education was limited to the public until the Rana rule.
Now the structure of our education system is from Primary Level to University level i.e. nursery to doctorate. Similarly, there are almost 40000 elementary and secondary schools and 12 universities with about 1500 colleges and campuses across the country. The motto of education is almost the same as before, but the reality is different except for exceptions.
The value of teachers was highly venerable and respectable in the past. But nowadays almost all of them are called helmet teachers or saucy teachers. Sometimes, I also feel the same as others do. To be frank, most of the teachers teaching in government schools, campuses and universities do not give full time and pay attention to the institution as scheduled.
They come on a motorcycle, enter the classroom, read the lesson or chapter or some pages or copies extracted from Google, gossip on unrelated issues and go back to the offices or their residence or go somewhere else to complete their private works. Those teachers teaching in urban/city areas cover many campuses in a day or week. Their principal purpose is to earn money rather than to give proper knowledge to the students.
As known, it is almost all because of polluted politics. The polluted politics play a vital role, from the appointment of teachers to headmasters to lectures to vice-chancellors. Even despite being unqualified and incapable enough to teach the students, they get appointed. Now let's imagine how will be the level of knowledge of the students to the concerned subjects taught by such incompetent and useless teachers.
This is a very serious issue because a fault of doctor may die only one patient, but a fault of teachers can damage the brain of thousands of thousands of students which leads the students to the dark alley. In truth, a teacher is an educator, a role model, a coach, a good mentor and a leader, not a goon nor a bouncer.
They are believed of imparting or sharing knowledge related to the topic of the course and of creating an inspiring environment in the classroom because they are supposed to be a good teacher with clarity in basic concepts, intelligence, a good researcher, highly disciplined, command over language, etc. so that students can motivate and do their best work. He/she should be accessible and caring but the reality is just opposite to this.
They even cause mental torture by giving fewer marks (Theory/practical) if students do not agree with their words. This kind of heinous activity creates tension and stress especially to those students who are disciplined, self-respecting, hardworking, curious and intelligent. For those students, their secured marks matter the most.
So, there should be fair evaluation because every student deserves an equal opportunity according to their level of knowledge presented in the class and written in the exam's answer sheets. But the reality is different and bitter. Our teachers do negligence in terms of marks whether it be theoretically or practically. Teachers giving marks as per their desire is unjustified and unfair that can be called nepotism and favouritism as well. Similarly, some students are also out of their duty and discipline.
They don't pay attention to teachers' teaching in the classroom, bunk classes, go out and think taking the class is waste of time and meet their friends and become happy. Such kinds of irresponsibility and immorality used by both parties i.e. teachers and students are destroying our education system.
Let's move on to the next point- employment for students. Today, thousands of students are moving towards foreign countries by doing IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, GRE, GMAT, etc. I think this system won't be paused for a long time unless the local government to central government shows serious interest to solve the matter objectively.
I hear many students saying, "I'll go to a foreign country after completing 10+2, for there is no opportunity for the intelligent, skilled, not affiliated with any political parties, self-respecting, hardworking and not having any source force in this country. " My mouth usually becomes silent at that time. I think to myself they spoke the truth from their sides. In every sector, there exists politics.
No sector is independent, impartial or neutral. Every sector is covered by polluted politics where corruption, nepotism and favouritism are reigning. Only linked people can easily get the appointment and position in the job. Then why do educated, intelligent and self-respecting people prefer to live in the nation? For them, a foreign country is an option where their talent, intelligence, hardworking, self-respecting and so forth get recognised and respected.
Due to COVID-19, SEE was not conducted physically. The results were published haphazardly & unsystematically. There were not fair evaluations of examinees. Most of the schools throughout the country gave higher marks to their students to show the good results of their schools.
By getting good marks, it can bring happiness for a moment to the students, but it affects them for the long term. Getting a good GPA is not enough for the students, they must work hard to get success in life. Similarly, the examinations of classes 11 & 12 were held in different modalities but the schools/colleges showed their excellent results eventually.
This kind of irresponsible behaviour of teachers and school/college affects the career of the students for example; the entrance result of MBBS was recently published but the students were unable to crack all the quotas. Thus, marks should be given according to the level of knowledge of the students. There won't be so many problems for the nation if incompetent students fail once but if incapable students become pass then lots of problems get created.
Similarly, if an incompetent or incapable person reaches the high position through a link or due to nepotism, favouritism etc., he/she may be powerful but in case he/she can't do any productive task or cannot show his or her talent and performance in the concerned field, s/he will be ridiculed and cursed by his or her colleagues and public that is a disgrace to the concerned institutions and the nation ultimately. This applies particularly to teachers, lecturers and professors teaching at the schools, campuses and universities.
A video recently went viral on social media of a woman teacher and a YouTuber. In the video, she is asked the spelling of science, but she cannot say the correct spelling of science though she is a science teacher. Like her, there are many more incompetent and useless teachers throughout the country.
The English teachers don't even know how to pronounce English well whereas they teach us, check copies, evaluate and give the numbers in the exams. What a pitiable condition of our education system particularly in government schools, campuses and universities! To prove it, recently 92% of students failed in teaching licence exams.
Additionally, not a single examinee has passed in examinations of some subjects including math subject in the position of lecturer held by T.U and only 8 seats were fulfilled out of 46 seats in the position of lecturer in management subject.
Also, most of us students have a habit of reading by rote. We shouldn't do that. This kind of reading may help us to pass and secure good marks in the exams, but it doesn't make us creative, curious and a good questioner. We can get high marks by rote but there is a high chance of failure in life.
We can find many unemployed students around us even though they have obtained good marks which are the effect of rote reading. Some students have the habit of reading only the books designed for the curriculum/syllabus. They don't want to spend their time on contemporary burning issues. This is also wrong in my opinion. We must try to get much information and knowledge from outside the book. It means students should be creative and analytical. My grandmother is an illiterate woman.
To her, black letters are like buffalos but I'm weaker than her in the calculation. She does the calculation of thousands of thousands of rupees by mouth but for me, I have to use the calculator. So, this is all of the practice. Here, I just want to say course books are not everything, we should have to be practical knowledge in life too.
In the name of improving the education system, many commissions were made, reports of high-level commissions were presented. Many programs and activities were conducted but the condition of the education system has remained the same as always. For a change in education, only plans, programmes and activities are not enough. there should be a change in mentality.
Today, students of Karnali can't compete with the students of Bagmati, why? Why is the teaching method of Kathmandu University regarded as superior to that of T.U.?
This is all because of the recklessness and gross negligence of the government in the education system. To solve it, firstly political interference/appointment from nursery teacher to university's professor must be stopped and they should be fired at once if they do politics while on duty.
The education system and its policies should be in line with the country's structure, system and environment. The design of curriculum, syllabus and mode of teaching should be of a quality, competitive, creative and practical type and education-related programmes and activities should be fully implemented. Education should be linked with knowledge & skill and skill and knowledge with labour and creative mind and design.
(The writer is a law student)
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