Civic Education for the Young Generation
Organized by Nepal Foundation of
Advanced Studies (NEFAS)
22 November 2009
Khimti a river valley carved out by the
Tamakoshi River in Ramechhap District was the next venue for the
seminar on civic education that followed the function in Jiri,
Dolakha. The seminar is one in a series being organized by Nepal
Foundation for Advanced Studies in different parts of the country
with the objective of raising awareness among teachers and schools
to adopt them as part of their school curriculum. Hence, the choice
of the venue for the seminar is decided by the number of higher
secondary schools which have adopted the subject for teaching
or in the process of doing so. Here, it happened to be the scenic
spot on the bank of the cool, blue and ferocious Tamakoshi. The
NEFAS project has been receiving support from Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung of Germany.
The seminar consisted of a presentation session
followed by comments from participants. Pawan Raj Poudel, headmaster
of Tamakoshi Higher Secondary School, chaired the function while
Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal and Shivaraj Dahal made their respective
presentations on democracy and civic education. Prof. Dahal
gave a lecture that consisted of excerpt from the 'Handbook
on Democracy' supplied by FES while Shivaraj Dahal's paper was
on 'Civic Education for the Young Generation'. The elder Dahal
described ways to strengthen a democracy and the pitfalls that
political leaders and other public figures and institutions
must avoid, especially while writing a constitution during a
transition period such as the present one. Some of the points
he explained had to do with human rights, rule of law, politics
and public life of politicians and even pertinent governance
issues like transparency and accountability and even local governance.
The younger Dahal, meanwhile, talks in his paper about youths
going astray thanks to the politicians who are either leading
them for their own narrow interests were forming policies that
push them out of the country in search of jobs abroad. His paper
calls on the younger generation to act more responsibly with
regard to taking over the reins of control over their own destiny.
The actual presentation of Shivaraj Dahal's paper was, however,
done by Jit Bahadur Chauhan as the former had developed a sore
throat in the course of his travels.
Earlier, NEFAS Executive Director Prof. Ananda
Srestha welcomed the participants calling on them to actively
contribute by commenting on the paper written by Shivaraj Dahal
so that it can be included in the next edition of the book called
'Samakalin Samaj' that contains Dahal's paper.
Commentators from the floor in Khimti appeared
to be more concerned about the need for the government to be
more involved in social welfare, particularly health and education.
It was clear that the deteriorating education and health environment
in public and government facilities was taking its toll in the
Nepalese hinterlands. The issue of social welfare, although
occasionally comes up in NEFAS seminars on civic education,
a significant number of participants raised the issue during
the Khimti event. They also talked of the deteriorating economic
situation brought on by closure of indigenous cottage industries
and businesses because of globalization. Poverty was also an
issue of the participants from this lush river valley.
During his concluding remarks Headmaster Poudel
said that NEFAS had been doing a commendable job by raising
awareness about civic education teaching. He said that economic
activities must be boosted so that hunger, the main enemy of
people, will be no more.