Upon the invitation of Hideki Kitayama, a teacher at Wako Senior High School, I (Joshi) had a pleasure to speak to High School seniors about Nepal, social concerns and the impacts of Great Earthquake 2015. It was an elective class named “The races and cultures in the world” in which students pick up several global issues, research about their background, discuss the problems and debate about the solutions.
For the second term of the course, Nepal was chosen as the country for case study. The students had researched about Nepal beforehand so as to acquaint themselves with the basic understanding. For my presentation, I picked up both positive and negative sides of Nepal with the use of a lot of pictures. The intention was to make students understand that Nepal is a country with some problems but with a lot of opportunity. The students carefully listened to the talk. I was very happy to respond to their questions on social issues like caste system, early marriage, and youth migration during the question and answer session.
What I was impressed the most about students was with their sentiments seeing the pictures of devastated Nepal in the wake of the recent disaster. I believe one of the important characteristics of a truly global citizen is regard other countries’ problems as their own. In reference to this notion, I found the students eager to explore more about global society. A few students came and talked to me personally after the class. They showed their willingness to visit Nepal one time in their lives.
Some even stated their strong desire to conduct research about Nepalese issues during their advanced studies. What could make you much happier than this? To this end, I thought I was able to serve my purpose. My hope is that these students continue their search allocating a certain portion of their heart for Nepal and Nepalese people even in the days to come.
If we look back to the history of educational development in Nepal, we can find that in the past education meant either “home-schooling” or “Gurukula.”
Home-school refers to educating children inside the home either by parents or by selected tutors. In other words, there is an absence of formal environment to learn in home-schooling. “Gurukula” is the education system where “Guru” (which means a teacher in Sanskrit) teaches his “Sikshyas” (students) collectively (Kula in Sanskrit means an extended family) under a particular setting regardless of one’s caste, creed, or social standing.
The first formal school was established in Nepal in the year 1853 but its access was limited to the elite group only. This means only a certain group of the society would get an opportunity to go to school and enjoy the facilities available there. However, with the introduction of democracy in the country in 1951, education system was opened to a more diverse population. At this time, there were 300 schools and about 10,000 students in the country with a literacy rate of 5%. While a very few people from different backgrounds could enjoy the benefits of education, women were not encouraged or allowed to go to school even then because of the traditional nature of society.
The bringing of Educational Plan in 1971 is believed to have contributed significantly for the development of educational setting in the country. While the process is still slow as compared to other countries, what should be noted is that about 49,000 schools have been built in the country by the year 2010. The literacy rate has grown up to 60.3% (Male: 73% and Female: 46.3 %.)
We should not forget that the exclusion of women and marginalized people is still taking roots in the Nepalese society. In order to overcome these constraints and promote a culture of equitable access to education, we need schools that have the required capacity (financial, technical, as well as intellectual) to address the needs of modern society. In addition to passing the message of “paying back to society” to the kids, YouMe School is established also to serve the purpose of combating the existing social evils.
For more information, please visit the following sites: