Occasionally one reads advertisements in the papers about someone who is not quite in his normal senses and has been lost. Where this person, unable to fend for himself or herself is andspending the night on anempty stomach, are questions his or her family members ask themselves? Similarly small notices with small passport size photos of young boys and girls who have gone missing are sometimes seen. Where have these youngsters gone? Have they been trafficked to labour camps in India or sold to the kothis run by Nepali ‘madams’ in the red light areas of Kolkata, Mumbai or other Indian cities?Another group of the missing are the cases of abduction. Some of this group, usually unlucky to be saved, end up in the fields, their bodies decayed beyond recognition, irrespective of whether their ransom was paid or not. Such are the realities of Kathmandu life.
Recently, in the first week of Augusta leading English daily of Kathmanduproclaimed, “No trace of 30 TU affiliate colleges in the Valley”. This headline speaks volumes about the state of education of our land. If Tribhuvan University, est. 1959could trace only 212 out of its 242 colleges in the valley, one wonders as to what the reckoning about its collegesin the rest of the country? We Nepalis have been conditioned to thinking and pronouncing that it is places south of our border that are naakali and deal with fake certificates! Things and matters have changed over the years and comments such as this are perhaps such comments are more pertinent here now.
Other tit-bits from the same report has news of a campus required to be based at Kalimati but was at Putali Sadak instead. Campuses listed as being at Lalitpur were found functioning at Kathmandu. Is this as per our saying, ‘Kam kuro eka teera, kumlo boki Thimi teere’? Some few of the campuses were found to be functioning under different names. Was this due to dread of the donation drive of the CPM (Maoist) cadres who decreed that no foreign names should be used for denoting institutions in Nepal?The more like likely reason is due to the ‘moolah’ involvedand a precaution in case the taxman cometh to look at the records.
Another item in vernacular daily of the same date stated that a naakaliexaminee, sitting an examination instead for his bhauju or sister-in-law, had been caught at the Bakharibhat Examination Centre in Mahotari. This same reports some other instances at attempts to cheat.My inquisitiveness here is whether the boy was in ladies attire when he went for the examination, for otherwise there has to beconnivance of the examination authorities too.
The question arises as to the quality of our SLC graduates who have not had the education that has been touted over the years. ‘Education for all’ has not really succeeded. Basically we read in newspapers about schools which are non-existent. Then there are the other reports of schools elsewhere that have the full quota of teachers but very few students. In some primary schools, so the reports say, three grades of students have classes in one room which perhaps leaks during the rainy season!
But all is not bleak. There are plenty of generous people from countries of the Far East to the lands of North and South Americas whose citizens, having come to this land of ours are enamoured by its beauty but saddened by the poverty and illiteracy all around.This has prompted many to help or set up schools in Nepal to salvage a generation of children from being lost too.
Doubts are being raised about the quality of 10+2 colleges which the Higher Secondary Education Board is supposed to sanction and monitor. The quality of these is being questioned especially as regards the education provided in this Public & Private mix of educational experimentation in our land.
So whose responsibility is it to control the chaos around us? The Education Ministry? The University? The Colleges or the Professors who run it? Finally is it the students who through the ‘Student Unions’ decide when and how the examinations should be held, what questions should be set and who all should be passed? One cantake ones pick for a reason.
The question now is the credibility of our educational institutions. Are the examinations held properly and fairly to elicit the standards of the students sitting for it? Or is it time to think about newer methods of assessments so that students are allowed to carry a limited number of books into the examination hall and use them to answer the question paper. Where the papers going to be sent for marking has to be kept top secret if undue pressure on examiners is to be prevented. Some institutions in the world have already adopted this allow books method of assessment to counter the threats from the examinees.