Thoughts and opinions on Social Science

Hitherto, education in Nepal has primarily offered science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine known as STEM Sciences. One single general reason could be attributed to investment and support from government, universities and colleges to STEM sciences. While the importance of the STEM has its own space and place in Nepali education sector, the vitality of social science cannot be ignored. As individual in this society, we are part and partial of our social system. It is towards the understanding of this social system, that, social science emerges as extremely important and necessary discipline. This issue of Colleges Nepal shed light on social sciences and argues that educational imbalance between STEM science and Social Science (SS) in Nepal be addressed and more support be provided
by government, non-government and particularly educational institutions towards nurture, garner, and cultivation of social science.

For majority students in Nepal, the word ‘Social Science’ conjure up imagination and picture of third tier education stream against pure science and management being first and second tire respectively. This is
a gross grave misunderstanding among the students and parents alike. The gravity of social science and the wide range of roles it offers within this stream are not just of paramount importance but are directly connected to our daily lived experiences in our society.

Generally, social science is about us the people and our relationship among each other. Its focus is on study of society and the inter-linkages among the individuals within the society. The spectrum of subjects covered within this discipline includes economics, political science, sociology, history, archaeology, anthropology, law, media, and development studies to name a few. This wide and amazing flavor offered by social science challenges STEM in many fronts. There is no reason to doubt that social science offers insights into impact of working of STEM and innovations at work- on the social system. Certainly, it is not even wrong to tell social science by virtue of its inter-disciplinary nature is science of science.

For students interested in social sciences, it’s all about grooming to be future social scientist. Social science helps students be equipped with the analytical, communication and soft-skills that finds importance in research, industries and organizations. As a student of social science, one involves in solving many different worldly issues that are challenges and direct threat to mankind in general. An issue such as crime to green energy, or even cyber security has immense effect on our daily life experiences. Beyond micro perspectives, social science is also about delving into larger issues such as inquiry into why do states fail? Or how can we rebuild our nation? Or, engaging in examination of market failure, human resource, and involving in rising funds and instilling social leadership. As social scientist of future, students get trained to see the world from the eyes and perspectives of others, this is done by mining data that other discipline (STEM) virtually miss.

There exists no iota of doubt on the immense importance of social science to societies around the world. For Nepal, still more work is to be done to increase the level of understanding and support that this steam needs to receive. This is not to reject the contribution of existing facilities in universities be it Tribhuvan, Kathmandu, Prubanchal or Pokhara. But, nevertheless better campaign, activities to inform educational policy, and engagement in advocacy for support of social science is the need of this dynamic time. Students’ choice between STEM and SS is really a false construct; our society needs people trained in both. Our society is endlessly demanding effective solutions for existing problems (social, economic, cultural and political). To pave the path towards problem solving, a mix of both STEM and SS is required. In recent years, one single most important thing happening in SS is the increasing engagement in collaborative- multi-disciplinary work. These include diverse field such as engineering, medicine, computing, biology and mathematics. At this end, it is convincing that no subject area can stand by itself as stand alone. But still the query remains “why social science does not impress us Nepali”.

The social sciences offer equal promise for improving human welfare; our lives can be greatly improved through a deeper understanding of individual and collective behavior. But to realize this promise, the social sciences, like the natural sciences, need to match their institutional structures to today's intellectual challenges. College Nepal interviewed various scholars of academic filed. Enjoy reading the Perspective of Hon. Prime minister and Education Minister Gopal Man Shrestha, Dean of Kathmandu School of Arts Dr. Sagar Raj Sharma, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science Prof. Shiva Lal Bhusal, Ph.D and former ambassador of Nepal to USA and economist, Dr. Shanakar Prasad Sharma.

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