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Civic Education: The Role of the Youth in the Making of a Modern State

Seminar Organized by Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS)

16 October 2009
Itahari, Sunsari


Introduction

Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) in co-operation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized a one day seminar on "Civic Education: The Role of the Youth in the Making of a Modern State" at Itahari, Sunsari district. Ninety-two participants belonging to different fields of life participated in the seminar. Young social scientist Shiva Raj Dahal presented a paper titled 'Civic Education for the Youth' and professor of political science Mr. Ram Kumar Dahal shed further light on various aspects of civic education and on the fundamental principles of democracy. Mr. Bed Raj Acharya spoke about youth and the current situation. The discussion that followed was intense and gave an inkling of the evolving public opinion at the grass-roots level. The participants were also provided with the booklet 'Handouts on Democracy'.


Paper Presentation and Discussion

Mr. Bed Raj Acharya-I would like to take your permission to start the one day program. I would like to request Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel to assume the chairmanship of this session.

Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel-I would like to thank NEFAS for choosing Itahari to hold this seminar on current issues. We had invited friends from the UML, Congress, Maoists, fraternal organization of parties and NGOs to attend this seminar and make it interesting. We are looking forward to the active participation from all those present.

Mr. Bed Raj Acharya- I would now like to request the Director of NEFAS Mr. Ananda Shrestha, professor at the Political Science department Mr. Ram Kumar Dahal and social scientist Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal to take their seats. Mr. Ananda Shrestha will now deliver the welcome address.

Mr. Ananda Shrestha-We are happy to welcome you to this one day seminar. Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) was established in 1990. Since its inception it has been its endeavor to hold seminars on social, economic and political issues of national interest. It does not intend to limit itself to Kathmandu and for this reason many seminars have been held outside Kathmandu. Today's seminar being held here is part of this process. This paper has already been discussed in eight/ ten places in different parts of the country. Please feel free to point out the weaknesses of this paper and to seek any clarifications. This paper is not complete, the suggestions you provide and new ideas that will emerge as a result of the discussions will help further refine this paper in order to make it even better. The proceeding of the seminars will ultimately be published in a book form. We have already published thirty-five to thirty-six books which are part of the reading lists for courses set for ten plus two level to the post-graduate level.

We are concerned about how to strengthen the participation of the youth in the decision-making process. This is our main aim. The youth of the country are migrating in large numbers for the purpose of employment or for other reasons. It is estimated that twenty-five to thirty lakhs youths are working outside the country. We have to think about how to retain them inside the country by providing employment. For this the government policy might have to be changed. Our discussions can be of some help to policy-making in this field. There is a belief that the youth should concentrate on their studies and avoid politics. Our view is different. Since 1990 Nepal has been beset with political instability. The participation of the youth in the constitution drafting process is not satisfactory. The youth do not have access to the policy-making process. It is necessary to involve the youth. We do not say that the youths have to carry the flags of political parties, but they must be politically conscious. This will help to pressurize the leaders to stick to the right path. If this does not happen the same situation will continue. We expect suggestion from you all and it will later be published in a book form. Please provide us with the contact addresses so that we can contact you when the publication work is complete. Thank you.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel -While introducing yourself please mention your professions and the party and the institutions that you belong to. I am the central vice-president of the Intellectuals Association. We had invited those belonging to the Congress, Maoists, Police force and industrialists to this program. But some of them have not turned up.

Mr. Bed Raj Acharya- I would now like to request Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal to present his paper.

Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal-NEFAS was founded in 1990 by a group of teachers teaching in Tribhuvan University. It organizes discussions on issues of national interest and publishes the proceedings. It has published thirty-five books since its establishment. These books are prescribed for different subjects taught at the Masters level in Tribhuvan University. The books are also included in the course 'Contemporary Nepalese Society' taught at the ten plus two level in the Education and the Arts stream. In order to institutionalize democracy it is necessary to hold discussions, communicate and interact. Amartya Sen has said that in a democracy people will not starve to death because information about the famine will be freely disseminated. We need to debate issues such as the encroachment of boundaries and the problem generated by Tibetan and Bhutanese refugees.

Paper presented by Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal

Shiva Raj Dahal: 'Civic Education: The Role of the Youth in the Building of a Modern State.' (An outline of the paper presented).

  1. Meaning of civic education-Civic education is teachings concerned with self-governance. In addition to promoting constitutionalism and good governance it helps create a public consensus concerning the drafting of the new constitution.
  2. The importance of civic education in the present context-As per the directive of the people's movement of 2062/063 a constituent assembly to draft the new constitution has been formed. This period is a transitional one. It is necessary to ensure the widest possible participation of the citizens and to move forward by collecting suggestions and soliciting advice from them. But due to the unhealthy competition among the parties for power the spirit of co-operation necessary to implement the comprehensive peace agreement is being disturbed. As a consequence, the suspicion that nationalism might be endangered due to dependency created by foreign meddling is being aroused.
  3. The state, nationalism and civic education-Only when the citizens are ready to contribute through whatever means for the sake of the motherland, will the state be able to take a leap forward in the structural development. We are the sovereign citizens of an independent and sovereign country. That is why in order to promote the feelings of patriotism among us it is necessary to have civic knowledge, civic skills and civic virtue. This will help safeguard the pluralistic society and promote nationalism.
  4. Loktantra and civic education- Loktantra and civic education have a solid relationship. Loktantra is a system that relies on consensus and co-operation for its functioning and its permanence depends on the behavior, rationality, co-operation and culture of individuals. Since loktantra is a system based on facts it has acquired legitimacy at the international level.
    What is the meaning of loktantra? According to Abraham Lincoln democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people. Democracy acquires two forms-direct and representative. In the representative form of democracy the ordinary people and the state do not directly participate in governance and in formulation of policies and laws but entrust the entire responsibility for this to the people's representative elected in a free and fair election.
    Why democracy? (a) Democracy besides being a political system has become a way of life of the citizens. (b) Democracy establishes equality. (c) Democracy protects plurality. (d) Democracy is an established system in which political decisions reached on the basis of the participation of the people. (e) Democracy ensures the legitimacy of governance process. (f) The democratic system ensures the right of the citizen to enjoy the fundamental rights and adheres to the directive principles provided by the country's constitution.
  5. The qualities citizens must possess in a democratic system-
    (a) Civic Knowledge- Since the governing power is vested in the sovereign people of Nepal, it is essential that the Nepalese people have knowledge about civic education. After the peoples movement of 2046 and 2063 many changes have already taken place in the Nepalese society. The present education system of Nepal is unsystematic, faulty and profit oriented. This has lead to the weakening and destabilization of the present social landscape and the whole democratic system itself.
    (b) Civic Virtue- In a democratic system the state grants its citizens economic, social, political and cultural rights. The individual has to assume certain duties and responsibilities towards the family, society and country as a free citizen. The following are the virtues that a good citizen should possess in a democratic system- reasoned commitment, honesty, civic mindedness, civility, open mindedness, courage, patriotism, and the ability to think critically.
    (c) Civic Skill-A citizen needs intellectual and participatory skills in order to correctly distinguish one's rights and duties and to be aware and vigilant about one's rights, duties and responsibilities.
  6. Democracy and democratic culture- It is not only the constitution but constitutional behavior that helps develop democratic way of life and culture. There is a difference between a person who is a democrat and a one who has internalized democratic culture.
  7. Democracy and political parties- Political parties are the collective property, basis and life of democracy. In democracy the opposition is esteemed because they serve as the ears and eyes of the government. The following are the tasks of the political parties in democracy-1) to make the people politically conscious and to provide the kind of leadership that reflects the peoples aspirations, 2) to take part in elections and to govern, 3) to manage social and cultural activities and to hand over the political values, mores and system to the next generation, 4) to act as a bridge between the people and the government, and 5) to help in the creation of a egalitarian society.
  8. The youth and the present situation-The term youth does not only denote a person of a certain age but is also implies the possession of enthusiasm and certain type of thinking. At present the middle class youth, who should play an important role in our society, are becoming alienated with nationalism and politics and are migrating and becoming citizens of other countries. On the other hand considerable numbers of youths from the lower and lower middle-class families, after spending a long time underground, are living in temporary cantonments. The implications of these developments must be assessed. Otherwise the whole political and economic system of the country might become crisis ridden and invite appalling consequences.
    (a) The youth and politics-We tend to pay more attention to the negative aspects of politics rather than the positive. The political field represents the power of the people. That is why national and constructive politics should be the common concern of all conscious citizens.
  9. Leadership and civic education-Honest and competent politicians are the treasure of the nation. But on examining the record of selection of leaders until the present, it is clear that the criteria for selection are the ability to carry the party's baggage, time spent in jails and the ability rebel. Such people are given tickets in election and are given representation in the policy making level.
  10. Social justice and civic education-Social justice is the main essence of a democratic system. But in our society the state discriminates in the provision of medical treatment education facilities.
  11. Civil society and civic education-Civil society engages in communicating, interacting, mediating and jointly acting on issues of common interest. But civil society is not an alternative to the state and it must not concern itself with personal profit. Usually civil society is based on three values. These values are independence, equality and co-operative spirit.
  12. Civic education and other subjects-An intense debate is taking place in the country on whether technical education is the key necessity of the country. This supposition is true but not the whole truth. The knowledge of civic education along with that of other subjects makes the democratic lifestyle productive and effective.
  13. Conclusion-Nepal is passing through the transitional stage. On the one hand since Nepal is a land-locked country, she has to bear with foreign economic, political and religious influence and on the other hand because of globalization and the conditionality imposed by the WTO the principles of democracy and social justice are being restricted. A constitution drafted to reflect the aspirations of the people will ensure the participation and identity of all and will generate a sense of ownership. The task of restructuring a country is a multi-dimensional, sensitive and difficult subject. To accomplish this task it is necessary to rise above party, ethnic or narrow communal thinking and bring about a transformation in culture, tradition and mentality. The competition, alliances and political polarization taking place among the political parties for the sake of power only is deepening differences among them. The responsibility not to let the national concerns be eclipsed and to sensitively carry forward the task of civic empowerment has now fallen on the shoulders of the youth

Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal- Mr. Bed Raj Acharya will now shed light on youth and the current society.

Mr. Bed Raj Acharya- I would like to extend my greetings to the local intellectuals on behalf of NEFAS. We are happy to share our views with you. Young social scientist Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal has covered many issues in his paper. I will shed light on the current situation. There are a lot of issues to discuss. The current political situation is disappointing. The youth played a big role in the political changes. From the period of referendum in 2036 to the movement in 2063 twenty thousand people lost their lives. Despite such sacrifices the country's political direction is still not clear. We are mired in irresponsible debates such as whether the country's national bird should be a chicken or whether a pig should be the national animal. Is this what we fought for?

Itahari is secure. Itahari has benefited from the fallout of the Madhesh movement of 2064 Magh and 2065 Falgun and Biratnagar has been overshadowed by it. After the long political journey what did we get? One cannot go alone on a motorcycle to Dewagunj. Ten, twelve villages in the south have become no-go areas. Is this the day we waited for? No. An employee of Nepal Telecom was kidnapped from Inarwa and only freed after paying a ransom. Only if the country is secure we will be secure. Only some towns being secure is not enough, the country has to be secure. You can contradict me. I can say whatever I want but the crucial test is whether the current reality validates my assessment or not.

Another issue has to do with the national prestige. The press is very powerful. Party leaders speak irresponsibly to impress their cadres and their speech is carried all around the world by the media. This gives a negative image of the country. I do not want to mention the name of the leaders. Later the leaders deny they said such a thing. This is not a good thing. We have to be sensitive to what we say and how others understand it. Once one says something and it is covered by the media it will not be possible to clarify things to each individual. The people's understanding of the message will become the authoritative version. How can we control such expressions so as to save us from the ridicule of others? The choice of aligning with a particular party is a personal thing but blindly supporting a party on every issue is a different matter. The country is going downhill. The people of other countries are proud of their countries. We, as citizens of the twenty-first century, must also get the opportunity to be proud of our country. The state has to provide governance.

Individuals, whether rich or poor, should be assured of the rule of law. The rule of law is under threat and the rule of goons is on the ascendant.
I had gone to Hyderabad on Fulpati. I took a train from Calcutta to Hyderabad. In the bogey I had the chance to interact with politicians, administrators, corporate people etc. When they would come to know that I was from Nepal they would be curious to know about Nepal. They wanted to know about the statements of particular leaders and the stand of different political parties. They were more well-informed than us. I had to give unconvincing answers. I had to give the same answer while going as well as returning from Hyderabad. Frivolous comments affect the prestige of the country. The foreigners are dissatisfied with us. In this age of globalization our children have gone to UK, USA, Australia and Japan. People in those countries form their impression about Nepal by interacting with these Nepalese. When I meet colleagues from countries such as Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka I have answer their queries concerning Nepal. They have deep interest and they ask politically sensitive questions about the statements of the party leaders. Can anyone say categorically that we will have political stability and that the nation will enter a golden period? If we go to Delhi and Vellore we will have a hard time hiding our weaknesses. I would like our leaders to create such an environment in which we will have an easy time answering the question of foreigners.

One cannot go to Kapatangunj for security reasons even though one might have one's investment and fields there. Because of threatening leaflets people had to abandon such places. We have a sadist mentality because we are happy with others meet with misfortune. What does empowerment mean? I believe it means increased access to education, opportunity to become competitive, employment opportunities and economic opportunities. The object of Madesh movement should not be the humiliation of Pahades girls. This is not empowerment.

Mr. Shesh Ghale, a NRN from Australia, has expressed an interest to invest five billion rupees in Nepal. There are many others like him. But Mr. Upendra Mahato has recently said that situation has still not become investment friendly. With the onset of winter groups go to factories and ask the management to fund their picnic programs. This sort of behavior will scare off the investors. If factories are established with foreign investment thousands will get employment. Every sector will benefit. The establishment of schools and the opening of shops will not increase employment opportunities substantially. Four hundred thousand individuals enter the labor market each year. In Bihar, India Mr. Nitesh Kumar has changed the situation for the better. One has to show commitment. If people are irresponsible things will not improve. Notorious areas in Bihar have seen an improvement. We have to be more scared in areas within Nepal. The youth have to think about how to improve the situation. What is true will always be true.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel - I would like to request Professor Ram Kumar Dahal to say something on issues of current interest.

Mr. Ram Kumar Dahal- The chairman is an old friend of mine. As political science is my area of specialization I will say something about issues related to this field. The present task before the nation is to institutionalize loktantra (democracy) and to the draft the constitution. What should be the youth's role during the constitution drafting process? How can loktantra be institutionalized? I will try to highlight the main points regarding these issues. The road ahead is difficult and a visionary approach is necessary.

a) Rule of Law- If the concept of rule of law is not applied in practice it will be difficult to stabilize democracy. I would like to recall one incident to highlight this point. The Prime Minister of New Zealand had once parked his car in a no-parking zone. The parking attendant fined him seventy dollars. The Prime Minister was furious and asked the attendant if he did not know the car owner's identity. The attendant politely replied that since free parking space was not allocated for the Prime Minister's car he would have to respect the rules. The Prime Minister obeyed the rules and paid up. The law is not concerned with the status of a person but only if a crime/infringement has been has been committed or not. The rule of law has to be supreme. This is one of the fundamental values of the democratic system.

b) Separation of Power- This is an old theory propounded by Montesquieu. According to this theory the three branches of the state should have the autonomy to work in their own fields and should not infringe on the independence of others. At present in Nepal there is ongoing debate about which is the appropriate body to swear in the judges. There is fear that the judiciary's independence might be encroached. The question of who will appoint the Chief Justice and before whom the person appointed will take the oath of office has not been settled. According to the concepts derived from the West, the judiciary should be independent. The other branches cannot interfere with its autonomy. If the Chief Justice has to take his oath before the legislature this will imply that the judiciary is under the legislature. The Nepal Bar Association has opposed such proposals. If such issues are not settled before the promulgation of the new constitution more problems might arise in the future.

c) Political Parties- The multi-party system is a competitive political system. Many movements have taken place to establish it. The belief that 'only I know what is best' is not compatible with this system. To make this system a success a consensus must be developed among the parties. The notion that only the important parties are correct will be hard to sustain. We are now entering into a new mode of governing. It is unlikely that only one party will be able to form the government. We need to develop the culture of coalition politics.

d) Civil Society-The civil society in Nepal is aligned to some party or the other. They are not independent. In America the political parties have to take very seriously the issues raised by the civil society because of their standing in the society. If we are to institutionalize loktantra in Nepal the emergence of a vibrant civil society that is capable of judging issues solely on their merit is a must. During the Vietnam War the civil society had protested against it in front of the White House. They were not concerned with whether the government agreed with their views or not but wanted to be true to their conscience. The civil society thus needs to rise above personal interests.

e) Political Culture- Democracy must not remain an ideal only; it must be reflected in practice. If it is not reflected in the behavior of the leaders and people democracy will not be strong.

f) Good Governance-The World Bank, UNDP, various other donors and the tenth five year plan all advocate good governance. If aid is not utilized properly due to bad governance more aid will not be forthcoming. Aid is not being provided to Burma because it is ruled by the military. If there is absence of good governance, transparency and accountability donors will be hesitant to provide aid. As we rely on foreign aid to run the country we have to pursue the policy of good governance. Denmark had stopped providing aid when the King had assumed control.

g) National Reconciliation and Peace- If the aftermath of conflicts cannot be properly managed it can take new forms. The nation can then become a failed state. Issues such as regionalism, federalism and identity politics are coming into the fore. The neighboring countries and the world at large are watching to see if loktantra will be institutionalized or not.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel - Thank you. Please provide your introduction before speaking. Please make your suggestions and comments short.

Mr. Ganesh Khatri-Many things have been included in the paper. The key issue is how to make the youth aware. We are passing through a transitional stage. I want to raise issues that were not included in the paper. First I would like to extend my greetings for the Tihar festival. Himal, Pahad and Terai are all one. The main issue is how to defend human rights in the face of torture, incidents of kidnapping, murder, criminal cases and mental torture. The southern parts of the district have become anarchic. All the youth should be conversant with the 1948 declaration on human rights. The youth should know what the declaration incorporates and its stand against discrimination. The youths are frustrated. The youths are instigated by the political organizations and ethnic groups for their purpose and this leads to misuse of the dynamism of the youth. They are empowered in name only. This is pushing the nation towards conflict and the question is how to stop this trend. The current trend is to equip youth with arms. This is not a big deal anymore. The ethnic fronts of parties are also engaged in this. Weapons, whether big or small, are harmful.

We need education and an extensive movement must be lunched with this purpose in mind. The youths are depressed as there are no jobs. The youth are not interested in education anymore; their main objective is to go abroad. The attraction of trainings that increase the prospects of getting a job abroad is increasing. Students are not interested in science. Their only goal is to get to the foreign soil. Escapist mentality is taking hold. The guardians also feel that as the country is mired in conflict it would be preferable if their wards get jobs abroad. When the people see the well-off Non-Resident-Nepalese the lure of foreign land increases. Ministers, members of parliament and government secretaries have opted to remain in foreign countries. A movement must be launched.

The arts, culture and literature of the country must be promoted. But unfortunately the statues of Devkota and Bhanubhakta have been damaged. Those who indulged in vandalism did not understand the Poet. How can we make such ignorant people enlightened? The Nepali language and culture is not a small thing. The neighbors before were living as one social unit. But if Limbuwan is created the rest will feel threatened. Similar is the case with Khumbuwan, the concept of Madesh as one region and Tharuhut. What will be our future? One year back twenty to twenty-five Pahadis families were displaced from Sirpur and Haripur. They are living in the river beds and eking out a living by breaking stones. The Tigers beat them. This has become a serious problem. Dacoits are getting bolder and hooliganism has become common. The custom offices are only for show. The smugglers freely move through the open border. How are we to manage the transitional stage? How can the rule of law be enforced? How is the constitution going to be drafted on time? How are we to move forward?

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel -Please limit your comments to what is in the paper. Please do not take more than one minute while making your comment.

Mr. Ram Chandra Adihikari- The paper is complete. Only scholars will be able to add more to it. I have one question. The Supreme Court had passed a verdict on Bhadra 12, 2052. The verdict was totally wrong. It created an anarchical situation. It was against the constitution. When the President intervened (Katwal incident) the leaders cheered. The President's office has created another distortion. This is totally wrong. This is a political decision which has to be changed. This decision is against the interim constitution. The President said he acted on the request of eighteen parties. Because of such cases the judiciary is under a cloud. The parliament has to assert itself against the judiciary. Only the seven parties are having a good time. The same people and the same parties (UML, Congress) are in the driving seat. Feudalism has not ended, feudal mentality is still alive.

Mr. Nawa Raj Nepal- I am happy at being provided the opportunity to give my comments in front of people from diverse fields. I would like to thank Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal for presenting his paper. He has been successful to some extent in giving an overview of civic education. New Nepal is not possible without the participation of the youth. It cannot be conceptualized without a youth movement. The energy of the youth has to be utilized for New Nepal. But in reality the youth are divided on issues of nationality, ethnicity and regionalism. Youths are falling prey to distorted thinking. Different groups are using the youth for their own purposes. This is unfortunate.

The question of human rights must be debated. Civic education should be accessible to the youth. Even the educated youth are deprived of civic education. Only a limited number of youth understand what should be their role in the state and what their responsibilities should be. Sixty percent of the youth do not understand what civic education is. If the citizens are not educated the nation can become weak. I am also aligned with a political party but I will not support the wrong deeds dome in its name. If responsible people could differentiate right from wrong without bias many criminal activities would not take place. Teachers and the youth should be utilized to teach about civic education and human rights. The issues concerning youth has been overshadowed. More light should be shed on why escapist tendencies are taking hold among the youth. How can we stop the brain drain? The why's and how's of this issue should have been included point by point.

Mr. Tej Kumar Ale-From a cursory reading of this paper it appears that in totality the paper has highlighted the negative aspects more. According to Chinese philosopher Lao Tse the deeper we go the higher we will move up. The unparalleled changes have not been stressed enough. I am confused about the definition of nationality. The definition of nation and nationality given here is different. It is defined in Panchayati terms. It should be defined in terms of multi-nations. Gurungs, Magars, Chetris etc. constitute different nations. People say that if it is defined in these terms the nation will break up. The notion of Nepalese nationalism should incorporate all these different nations; otherwise the nation will break up. The paper is too pessimistic.

Dr. Acharya made some irresponsible comments. He said that irrespective of the speaker's intentions what matters is the version of his statements as understood by the people at large. What we comprehend from his comments is that we must copy everything from the past. The debate about whether a particular bird should be the national animal is a useless debate. What difference does it make if we do or do not have a national bird?

It is not only in Nepal that things are going wrong. India broke up in 1947. Things are no better in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Why only stress on problems in Nepal. This is a negative mentality. People say there will be ethnic problems in Nepal. From what I understand, it is the groups that have been given double helpings that have grown fat. Every-body must be given an equal portion. The state must not discriminate; all must be given the opportunity to participate on an equal basis. If this is not done ethnic tensions will increase. Competition will not ensure empowerment. The persons who have been provided two helpings of food will be stronger. There are contradictions in Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal's paper. But I would like to offer my critical appreciation of the paper.

Ms. Meena Shrestha- I would like to thank Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal for his paper. I had expected it to concentrate on the youth. In page eight the heading of a paragraph is 'The Youth and the Current Situation'. But is not clear who are the youth. It is not clear people of which age group are to be included in the category youth? People aged fifty also claim to be youths. It should be clearly specified that people in the age group 16-40 constitute the youth.

It is not clear under the peace process what will happen to the combatants in the cantonments. They are also our sons and daughters. The paper is also not clear what steps have been taken to ensure youth empowerment. Employment has become a big problem. The paper should have offered ideas on how to solve this problem. Youths all over the country are facing this problem, It is frequently said that the youth are pillars of tomorrow but what we need is a share today's power-structure. This message should be conveyed to the policy-makers.

Ms. Radha Bhattari- I agree with Meera. The political parties are encouraging violence. They should, as an institution, make clear their stand. Otherwise the only alternative will be growth of distortions in the society. They should clearly state their stand without being afraid. The youths are only concerned with finding jobs outside the country. The females are also taking the wrong path. In many big hotels prostitutes are available. There is need for proper education. The paper addresses these issues only partially.

Ms. Mithila Pokharel- People's movements have taken place in 2007, 2036 and 2046. Many became martyrs. The movement of '62-'63 led to the abolishment of the monarchy. The youths and the females sacrificed themselves for the sake of the movement. We are now at the transitional stage and are engaged in making the constitution. It is in this context the seminar on civic education is being conducted. Intellectuals who know about the different forms of the state system at the national and international level can write papers concerning these issues. The paper should stress what sort of role should be given to the youth and females in the upcoming constitution. It should seek to energize the youth.

Mr. Rewati Prasad Ghimire- The paper presenter has worked hard. Many documents have been quoted and the paper incorporates a lot of things. We are discussing the issue of civic education for the youth. The youth should be provided civic education at the basic stage that is at the middle school level. How this can be done should be discussed. The type of education that could help produce model youths should have been clearly described. The government is handing over the responsibility for basic education to the citizens. The state is shedding its responsibilities. The government is helpless for if it does not stick to these policies the funds from donors such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank will dry up. The responsibility is being handed over to the incompetent citizens. What kind of education will they provide? The paper could have served as a guideline if some improvements had been made to it. There is discrimination on the basis of gender. When discussions are held about youth power this issue is considered only from the male perspective. This sort of outlook is discriminatory. Compared to the males the females are falling behind. If the paper had dwelled on this problem and had offered solutions it would have been better.

Mr. Dharma Raj- The paper is good and is related to education. But it is incomplete. Many plus two campuses have been opened. But the Dalits do not have access to the good campuses. To study at the ten plus two level a student has to spend rupees fifty-four thousand. Where will the Dalits get that amount of money from? In such a context how can model citizens be created? If the paper had stressed this point it would have been better. The paper presenter might have forgotten the point that the parents cannot afford to pay the fees because of economic difficulties. In such cases the parents encourage their children to go abroad to earn. No-one pays any attention to the plight of the Dalits. In this paper also I did not see this aspect covered. Overall the paper is good. If the missing points are added it would be better.

Mr. Keshav Basnet-Due to lack of political consciousness the youths believe whatever the ethnic and political organizations say. They cannot discriminate between right and wrong. There is debate at present about whether the then Prime Minister or the President was correct. The constitution is not clear about what a prime minister who has lost the majority can or cannot do. The constitution should be clear about the powers of the president. This lack of clarity has led to the conflict between parties.

Mr. Birendra Prasad Gautam- The participants have commented on the paper, but the shortcoming was that sixty percent of the comments were on issues other than youth and civic education. One person said that Itahari is safe. But the fact is we are most insecure. We might be beaten up at any moment. It is not wrong for people to go abroad. Here drug-taking and criminal activities are increasing. How can we show the people the right path? How can we teach them about civic education? Can we make such programs youth centered? There was talk of separation of power. It is said that if the judiciary is not independent the rule of law will not prevail. There is a saying that accounts, urine and judgments have to be clear. In Kathmandu if guests come at meal-time people are reluctant to offer them food. They tell their guests that since the guests must have already eaten they would like to proceed with their meal. In different contexts the amount of helpings a host provides to the guest differs. We must become conscious about civic education and work towards realizing its aims.

Ms. Tripta Thapa Magar-The paper has discussed many issues in depth. We are in the transitional stage. The country will progress only if all sectors are treated equally. The handicapped belong to the oppressed class. Cannot the handicapped work for the country? Can a country develop on the basis of raw physical strength only? We have to move forward in an inclusive way. The intellectuals and other groups must move ahead hand in hand. Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal has worked hard. We have to create an egalitarian society.

Ms. Kamala Dulal- Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal deserves thanks for presenting the paper. Only politics will not develop the country. The social, economic and cultural aspects also have an important role to play and these aspects must be included in the paper. Civic education must include topics relevant to the children, women and the aged. The action that must be taken to make the youth conscious about their duties has not been explained in the paper. Civic education imparted by the state will not be enough. The family, society and the education system also have a role to play. Only then can the youth be guided to the right path. The guardian has the most important role to play. Education has to begin from the home and the children have to be taught to differentiate between what is right from what is wrong. Whose fault is that the use of drugs is increasing? Are the state and the government to blame? It is not only the youth who are taking the wrong path, the aged and the middle-aged people are also no better. After this seminar is finished we will find many of the participants in the taverns in the evening. The children will follow in our footsteps. We have to set practical examples.

Mr. Suresh Wagle-This paper has included many aspects. It is said that if a person has a healthy body he/she will have a healthy mind. If the health sector had been included within the ambit of the paper it would have been better.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel - Mr Bijay Sapkota, who is handicapped, has a talent for writing poems. It will now be read out.

Poem recited.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel- Shiva Raj Dahal will now provide short answers to the queries that had been raised.

Mr. Shiva Raj Dahal-I would first like to thank the participants for making relevant comments and for providing suggestions. When the proceeding of this seminar is published in a book your names and the questions you raised will be included. This report will also be sent to other countries. Ale sir has made some suggestions. You probably came late. One cannot include all the things in the paper. Harka Gurung, in his book "Samabeshikaran Dekhe Baiskaran Samma", has defined what nationality is. Within a state there are many nations (different cultures). Nationality is the synthesis of all the different cultures.

Mr. Nava Raj Nepal has asked why brain drain occurs. During the first and the second world wars many Nepalese participated in the war. Many lives were lost which were of no value to the rulers. The number of Nepalese migrant workers has increased after 2046. Industries that were running at a profit were sold off cheaply as part of the privatization process. The number of unemployed people grew and contributed to the conflict. There was progress in the education sector and the number of students grew but number of job openings did not grow proportionately. The surge in outward migration is the outcome of search for opportunities.

In the process of modernization many traditional technologies were replaced by machines. In the hill areas many water-mills were closed. The local technology was displaced. Highly educated people with post graduate degrees are without jobs. Experienced people are teaching at the ten plus two level and depriving the new graduates of jobs. There is lack of social justice. Prior experience is required for jobs but how are the fresh graduates to gain experience when they have never been given the chance to acquire experience. The youth can apply intense pressure. In any change youths have played a big role. In Nepal no skill training is provided. For the same job a Nepalese labor is paid five to six hundred rial while his Sri Lankan counterpart is paid seven hundred rial. The state benefits from the remittances but avoids fulfilling its responsibilities.

This is a sensitive time in terms of nationality. The national flag is being burnt while the party flags are mushrooming. Language, religion and culture are being subject to controversy. History is under attack. If we are not careful today we might become another Sikkim. We have elected eighty illiterates as members of the constituent assembly in order to make it representative. We have to keep monitoring their work.

Japan does not have any natural resources but it ranks among the most prosperous countries of the world. Nepal is rich in natural resources but her citizens have to do with rotten foodstuff. We are proud that the site of Gautam Buddha's birthplace is in Nepal. But this is not due to our contribution. It is our historical legacy. We have tendency to let bulls into other people's sown fields. We can change this mentality through civic education. The politicians are engaged in games the objective of which is to become a minister.

Chairman Mr. Badri Bishal Pokharel -Today's program is an important one. We are coming to the end of it. It came as a pleasant surprise to me to find that one of the speakers of today's program was Mr. Ram Kumar Dahal, an old friend of mine. I am glad to be of help to NEFAS. Some invitees could not make it to the program. Maoists and Congress friends have not come. Lecturers who were invited have not showed up. We have invited them once but will not do so again. I am also one of the organizers.

This is an important paper. There are positive aspects as well as weaknesses. A banner should have been hung up in the hall. This is the age of communication. The photo of the banner could have been publicized. I did not receive the paper beforehand. There are errors in the usage of language. The paper writer has said that the parties provide barrack-type education to their cadres. This is not true of all parties. The parties which indulge in such practices should be clearly mentioned without any hesitation. The blameless parties should not be lumped with the guilty ones.

There are also positive aspects. We should not forget those students who participated in the struggle for establishing a republic. In the paper it is also mentioned that a militant outlook is developing in the parties. The paper should have clearly stated where this sort of thinking originated. Then only will the paper prove to be useful. The parties have been the main agent of political change in 2007, 2046 and 2062-63. There have been weaknesses but the party responsible for it should be clearly named.

There are problems related to ethnicity. Traditionally some people have a sense of inferiority. In the hill areas one has to walk for four hours to reach the school. In the Terai schools are situated right in front of one's house but some people have still not become conscious. It has to do with mental attitude. Not all traditions are bad. Concerning party schools, if the source of the water becomes polluted it is bound to affect the quality of water lower down the stream.

The Dalits will fall behind if they depend on the state for all things. People feel a sense of ownership when structures are built with local resources. Black-topped roads are well maintained in places were they are constructed with local contribution. There are well-off people in Dalit organizations also. They can save some money and help the less well-off students. We must not rely solely on the state. The ethnic based parties will not last long. Parties have to be ideologically based otherwise there will be ethnic conflict.

Civic education has to start from home. The children have to be told about the significance of festivals, national problems and of the need to love one's country. I celebrate Sahid Diwas and Loktantra Diwas at home. We also discuss the important issues that are carried by the newspapers in our house. The home is the foremost school. This needs to be realized all over Nepal. This seminar, to some extent, has helped in giving a distinct identity to Itahari.

 
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