There is a big debate about the performance of the education system in our country. The curriculum, pedagogy, faculties, research works, exams, etc. and its influence in the students have become the hot topics among educationist, guardians, stakeholders and the donors. Do the education that we are imparting to our students aiding to achieve their dream? Are the new ideas generating in our academic institutions? Who does our academic institutions level ‘good students’? These are some of the many questions that need to be addressed. In the world where universities and colleges are inspiring students to raise from the small periphery and work for societies and the people at large, the academic outputs of our universities are struggling to get the jobs for themselves. When these problems are taken with authorities concerned, there is a “transfer of blame”. Technocratic stakeholders blame politicians and vice versa and the series continues. In the world, every sector is related and influenced by each other. Only the important thing is the degree of proximity. The main difference between the developed and developing world is that if one sector fails than it is another sector that comes in rescue but here in the developing countries like Nepal, the case is just opposite. If one sector fails to deliver other sector also start failing. This is because there is so much interconnection. The notion is that the institutions should not be so much capitulated by powerful sectors like politics that it fails to deliver.
Let’s be more specific and practical. In my experience, I would like to classify formal education in four stages: pencil level, ink pen level, dot pen level and the typing level (students start typing their research work). Each level is very important as a student because in each level your perception “why to study” changes. The thing with which you were contemplating in one level may not be sufficient in another and so on. In the Nepalese context, there are two kinds of education, one private school and another government school education.
Although there might be many difference regarding administration, teaching methods, seriousness in result delivery, etc. between two, but the main difference is the medium of teaching i.e. English language. Some exceptional students who are very keen towards study might not face problems but the average and poor students will definitely face problems in their study later on due to the language. The scenario today is that most of the parents by paying huge fee are admitting their kids to private schools after all no guardians want to take risk with their child’s future. Nobody cares until the very next day of SLC (SEE these days), it becomes a hot cakes for some days in media and the issue dies slowly then after. Even in the discussion I hear expert talking about the teaching methods, administration, investment in education but most of them fail to address the language issue. If there is the disparity in the simple thing like language other things are sophisticated. Let’s move step by step. The main problem is the result of government schools are not much concerned in local level because most of the reputed and influential people send their children to boarding schools. If government can bring provisions to teach in English medium throughout the country then many poor parents can get relief from the costly education financing of their kids and can use the money saved for fulfilling other necessities and also it can encourage the low middle class parents to send their child to government schools.
Let’s jump to the university level. The most catch word at this level in the Nepalese scenario is the “research”. There are various ways of gaining knowledge and research is one of the finest forms of it. In the foreign universities, the research is very essential part and every university student should have certain level of ideas related to research. But in our case, the research work is very sophisticated things done by some handful of highly interested students rest has either no ideas or very little idea. The institutions that were established with the purpose of conducting research are lifeless at the moment.
It is not that in other universities the general students do extra labor of their own. The mindset or tentative habit of the students are similar everywhere. They like to roam, play, do party and all. However, the acclaimed universities have designed and updated their curriculums, teaching methodologies, etc. in such a way that the students learn so many things within the university period. I still remember one of my room neighbors telling me that, I have started studying MA after I started teaching MA. It is the general fate of the Nepalese students because students study just for degree. The irony is that, this degree does not ensure job. Students are either busy preparing for competitive exam or working somewhere else for gaining some experience. Students tend to study only when they feel that their degree fetches them good jobs and good money in the immediate future. Otherwise university degree becomes the mere certificate to fulfill criteria for job seeking exams or going abroad. Once one of my friends told his experience while working with the foreign faculty, the Madam with whom he was working was quite surprised to find his continuous pursuit of academic degrees. Her suggestion to him was “gain some experience” so that you can correlate academic degrees with real life experience. But unfortunately, there are no sufficient jobs for all. The problem here in Nepal is circular in nature. It is very difficult to find the beginning. Academic degrees fail to provide you jobs. Jobs you get do not match your level. Who is to blame? When does this situation come into track? The problem has become like egg –chicken story.
Lastly, this article by no means wants to discourage students. There is so much to cherish about. A combined effort can bring a drastic change. But, the word of caution is always a good thing. Don’t expect much until you try to do of your own. You can compensate your expectation with a hard work. When system works, you can move with it but when system fails to deliver, it is your willingness and passion that is required. Technology has given huge platform to all. Social Medias, google,YouTube has become like a good teacher. After all, our education system is our responsibility.