Having availed of all sort of modern technology such as internet, mobiles, television, access to state-of-the-art libraries, hospitals, schools, colleges is not enough to be civilized. We should also be able to fathom others in the society and trade respects.
By Ishor N Rijal
Come March, and local newspapers in capital city– and other parts of the country too – will be flooded with advertisements calling for new admission in private/Montessori/ KG schools. Just going by their enticing adverts which are full of promises, a complete novice to the situation can easily and immediately conclude that past are the days to look out for quality education elsewhere; we have no dearth of every kind of qualitative education provider within the country.
It is obviously a good (if not very) fleeting business for the newspapers and other media who are ready to crook down to any limit for getting more adverts. And, equally good is the fact that the unscrupulous money that the private schools make charging parents under various titles is going to be mobilized thus at least maintaining a sort of ‘economic equilibrium’. But the million dollar question is: are the private schools really doing what they are promising? Or simply the gullible parents are being hoodwinked to pay fees through their nose for a ‘hazy return’?
As I was also involved in the (private) education sector and thus have got chance to closely look the real happenings a few years back, I must admit to the fact that only a few educational institutions have been successful in giving education in true sense. While the point I am raising here is ‘education’ in a broader sense, I have found that many parents –and worse, many educators too—have no clear-cut distinction between what education really is and the bookish short-term memory knowledge.
What many of us now call education is a matter of gathering information and knowledge from books. It simply teaches one to learn some technique to get good grades in exams: not in life. The real problem is that we have no idea of what education truly means and what it should do to one. So much so, we have been equating education in the same manner as we do with the value of land or other assets. The education system is instilling in pupils how to be able to earn more; and not about how one should fulfil his or her social responsibility, maintain moral character, and most importantly, to be a human being in the society.
It is obvious to anticipate civilized manner and responsible deeds from an educated person. Life in the western countries, and in Europe, has been easier as people, despite their lack of paper degrees, know how to be civilized and understand their responsibility. It is, however, a sad reality of our country that most, if not all, of the ‘educated’ persons have managed to grab some sort of degrees but have been failure to act sensibly and fulfil their responsibility. For instance, the growing anarchy in the capital city where there is hardly any rule of law from the streets to government offices and so forth. And people are ready to blame and put fault on others.
I have heard of many of my friends those who return here in London after their brief visit to their relatives in Nepal saying that they had actually planned to stay there for a longer period but cut-short their stay as they ‘could not cope up with the crook society, people and the environment’. On their own words: We have to break the rule on the road to reach destination on time; Offer bribes to get official chores done; Jump the queue on any dishonest pretext in order to get advantage over the crowd; Make money dishonestly or illegally if one has to survive. And the list goes on and on.
Certainly, my finger is pointing at the education providers (not only private, by now) who have not been able to inculcate in their students the basic of the basics things such as waiting at red light, own turn in a queue, not making dirt in public places, obey simply everyday rules for own and others’ safety, etc. Only advocating that only a robust government mechanism would help deal such evils and attributing all such mischiefs to ‘fluid political situation’ and/or transition is only a big joke which has done nothing but smearing ourselves. It shows how poorly educated we are and how uncivilized we have become lately.
There are many big personalities -- from prime ministers to secretaries, chief judge to lawyers, editors to professors, and bankers to industrialists – residing in the capital city. But why is the moral and social responsibility of the people living in the capital city is degrading every other day? Why is not only its environment polluted, but also the people’s minds and hearts? Is there any way out of this academic paucity and mental poverty which our education providers can address in near future? Although they say not to be pessimist, I’m afraid, but there are nothing yet as the harbinger of some hope to this effect.
[The same article was also published in The Himalayan Times, national daily, in Kathmandu on December 25. You can follow this link to see the article: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=Education+in+real+sense+A+million+dollar+question&NewsID=313992 ]
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Nepali Samaj UK’s editorial policy.