• Saturday 28th March 2020

Politics in education

  • Published on: February 5, 2020



  • BY MANOJ KUMAR KARNA

    Since I am involved in teaching in Tribhuvan University (TU) from 2062 B.S., I have still not understood that which system of education works in TU and all over Nepal. It is because I have learned from an article of the professor Dev Raj Adhikari in which he refers to Ansell (2006) that there are Anglo-Saxon, Continental and Scandinavian education systems only but which the system Nepal follows does not match exactly to any one of these sharply. For example, Ansell describes about the Anglo-Saxon educations system that it leads to a mass, partially private and publicly inexpensive system. The higher educational structure of the developing countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Brazil and other like Russia, Egypt, Greece follows a system of a major paper at the graduate level and semester system at the Master’s level. He further writes that the continental education system leads to an elite, fully public and inexpensive system. A few rich countries like Japan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, and Korea have preferred this system which follows high degree of technical skills rather than theoretical knowledge in science and technology. Likewise, the Scandinavian education system leads to a mass, fully public, but highly expensive system which the developed countries like the USA, the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, and France follow in which multi-major (special), multi-disciplinary with semester system is seen.
    Now, let us match the minimal qualities of any education system mentioned above in the case of the TU or any other universities of Nepal: Nepal’s system matches with no any one! That is why we must call our education system as a ‘hybrid’ or ‘cross’ one type because what happens at the bachelor and master’s levels in our universities, how many major (special) papers are offered to the students and what is international practice, what is the rate of education in our universities with today’s demand of the student (very low rate but the nation or the teachers try to satisfy the students as per the global demand in the ocean of the scarcities, that is, totally by investing own money to learn new things even in the job period!), where is semester teaching and its duties?
    Let us see an example of Jawaharlal Neharu University (JNU) of Delhi in India. There are around 700 universities in India and the current budget of India in education is Indian rupees 94 thousand crore. The JNU has such university campus whereby 40 percent financially poor students take the study. Its scholarship that a student gets is Indian rupees 340,000 per year, the student resides in the room facilitated with air cooling system and dines in the hostel which serves as star hotel. The land property of the university campus of the JNU in Delhi is only 1 lakh crore rupees which is more that Indian government’s annual financial educational budget. The Indian Economic, a national level competition (IEC) has published the result of total 32 candidates on the last 13 January out of which the JNU student has achieved 18 seats alone!
    Now, compare the situation of any university’s campus of Nepal, Nepali government’s investment budget in the percentage and the result of any popular forum where our Nepali students compete. Our case is very sad in Nepal. Instead of thinking like this, the Chancellor (the Prime Minister) and the Pro-chancellor (the Education Minister) of TU or Kathmandu University (KU) chides and threats the university teachers in the senate seeing boycott by stakeholders! The Chancellor of CPN party claims in KU that he will not see the politician as teachers in the university and it becomes the language of the CPN’s students’ wing, the ANFSU so who is doing foul politics in the premise of the university: the rights demanding teacher and staffers or the politically coloured Chancellor and his students?!
    Points to be noted
    The Nepal government must specify, though it is challenging in front of citizen with low investment in education from the government side, any particular global education system for the Nepalese universities with exact fees, course of study, skilled human resources and quality education. The authorities of the universities, planners, politicians, educationists all must do of fix ‘politics’ here to educate the Nepalese citizen with quality education at nominal fees. The foul politics of the stakeholders must not be just for who will be the universities’ authorities on the principle of partisation by the political parties wise. This is tragedy of the Nepalese universities due to which the capable candidate who is purely academician or has the affiliation with politically fringe never gets chance to utilize her/his knowledge to serve the nation. Of course, there should be politics in the multi-party system of rule in Nepal but there mustn’t be partisation which has left cursed our country in every field. So, as any authority gets appointment in any post of the university, his/her target must not be to be faithful to the appointing person/party. He/she must not be full of ‘financial earning or providing job to the family members or likeminded’ idea rather one must consider the pattern of education system, the socio-economic condition of the society, the nature of inclusive and democratic course of study and its effective implementation. Surely, these things are challenging at same time in the result whereby the political pressure of the parties remains high for their self interest. Here should be ‘politics’ to be done by the authority to achieve goal in the limited resources where one has to work under the pressure of political parties. But our most of the university authorities are hypocrite, that is, they are pseudo academician because how one will achieve the post and how much is his/her degree and brain, now, he/she will be ‘busy’ to impress the appointing boss so that the future door of another political appointment will remain open!
    It is prime duty of the government to provide the quality education to the citizen at nominal fees for which the government must invest a lot in education sector. The government must provide fairly the equal chance of scholarship for faculty development as well as the students’ interaction from one university to another. The government must direct the universities to follow the worldwide accepted democratic and scientific course of studies but never force to follow such course which is undemocratic and supportive to sustain any particular ideology of the politics that the government is fooling. Tragically, the current government is ‘dragging’ the country towards ideologically the communist pattern where the opposition parties are lost in the ‘sweet solution of sugar and water’ of partisation/package deal of the posts of/with the government. The government propeller, the university teacher and students must differentiate politics/partisation, competition/mal-competition, and zeal of learning/jealousness.
    (The writer is the lecturer at the Patan Mutiple Campus, Patandhoka)

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