The traditional aim of Eastern education is liberation through understanding oneself and separating self from others. Whether it be Hinduism or Buddhism, education is given utmost importance. They teach us that knowledge leads one from darkness to light. Furthermore, education helps know the truth. However, even though our education is solely based on these major principles, why is our education degrading day by day? From time to time we can hear news of how there have been inconsistency in examinations, even printing the question paper from question bank. The only solution our education system finds to these kinds of problems is conducting a re-exam. But the question here is: Is this really the solution? One special quality of human beings is that: we show response according to specific stimuli. To simplify this concept, I would like to give an example. Suppose I steal something from someone and then I get caught. I become the topic of discussion for everyone. There would be eyes and eyes ready to see and hear what would become of me. However, I am left loose because I am an important person and I am in power. Contrastingly, the message that common people get is that you can be free if you do wrong, you just have to be smart and find a way to get around.
Plagiarism Similarly, stealing, not only includes taking something of others which do not belong to you but also taking other's ideas which in academic terms, we call plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious ethical and moral crime. Your whole career can be destroyed if you are found to have plagiarised in other countries. However, in Nepal, the concept of plagiarism only remains in theories and textbooks in most of the cases. There is freedom for people of Nepal to produce anything they want and getting ideas from anywhere without permission or citation. Thus, there is production of millions of guide books from school level to masters' level which are written solely for the purpose of earning money. The writers have understood the students' mentality. They know our education system focuses on theoretical knowledge more than on practical side. Furthermore, they know that there is conjunctive type of learning where only one correct answer is expected. 'We should focus on students' creativity' hence remains again only in textbooks. Had our education system more emphasised on originality than on recitation of already known facts, there would have been more students reading authentic books who would have read books for the sake of knowledge, to understand texts critically to come up with own ideas. Alas! This is not the case in Nepal. Most students are afraid of reading authentic books. Most say it is too complicated, too difficult to understand. They prefer to read what I would like to call 'capsule'. They want a single medicine for all kinds of problems. By this I mean, they want to learn through guides published by students or underqualified teachers like them. They expect to get high marks, and some even do! What a shame! Teachers, on the other hands are too busy. They do not have time to evaluate the students' copies properly as they are paid on the basis of numbers of copies they check. Why would they waste time on checking copies and evaluating properly if they can get by with checking them thoroughly and what I would like to call is giving everybody 'wholesale' mark and earning money? After all, all that a student needs in future in job or anywhere is certificate, right? That is why the results of universities like Tribhuvan University are degrading every year. In other universities like Kathmandu University, there is tendency to pass the students with higher grades by compelling them to study and do assignments on a daily basis of every subject. Nepal has succeeded in producing large number of students (quantitatively) who are degree holders but fail to produce qualitative students in greater quantities. That is why many students become frustrated and want to leave Nepal and go abroad. Even if they leave Nepal, many students find difficult to learn and to adjust to the kind of study specially in the USA and Europe where problem solving method and critical thinking is given priority to rote learning and memorisation.
Real motive Since there is production of a large number of certified but unqualified students and since there is no provision whatsoever to employ them in respected fields by the state, the passed out students try to seek ways to earn money. They produce books, capsules, open tuition centres in order to 'help students'. The real motive of them belies underneath their motto of helping students in the best way possible. The same trend is followed; the same trend of rote learning, following past knowledge, getting marks by hook or by crook and evaluating on the basis of fixed answers. Because of these all things, we are not being liberated; we are not free, we have indeed been tied, tied to the old method, tied to the failing system, tied to theories of the past and tied to our system of careless which is failing us all.
(The author is a M.Ed. student of English at Tribhuvan University, Central Department, Kritipur.)