Civic Education Campaign for Social Transformation
Organized by Nepal Foundation for Advanced
10 December 2014 (SAF
- Falcha, Babarmahal, Kathmandu)
Build social harmony for consolidation of democracy: Experts
Social scientists, educationists and policy makers expressed
their grave concern over dwindling confidence of Nepalese youths
in the recent years. They are losing their hopes about their
livelihoods and becoming frustrated, experts remarked.
In this context an ideal social transformation and consolidation
of democracy are not possible as long as people in the society
remain unaware about their responsibility towards others, but
that sense of responsibility sprout only when they regard social
values, said social scientists, educationists and experts from
different fields. Dwelling upon the issue of civic education,
they put forth their views that democracy (Loktantra) could
be strengthened with concerted efforts of people. It is the
civic education that generates social harmony among people.
Speaking at a national seminar on 'Civic Education and Democracy
Building in Nepal' they said lack of civility among people has
awfully dragged democracy towards dungeon. However, there is
a light at the end of tunnel, we can do something to enrich
our society by imparting knowledge with wisdom, they remarked.
Sharing his views educationist and former vice chancellor of
Kathmandu University Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma also underlined the
need for promoting value - based education so that learning
can contribute to the society. However, there are multiple factors
that largely affect mindset of people. Even though, material
progress seems to have left individual feelings far behind in
this age of cut-throat competition, civic education has become
more essential. In this context, civic education plays a vital
role in generating awareness among youths. 'Economic compulsion'
has largely dominated behavior of individuals, but civic education
helps develop resiliency against anomalies, said Dr. Sharma
adding that our education should be made value based and practical.
Our education system has some flaws that need to be corrected,
he said adding 'concerted efforts a must to battle ignorance.'
Chairman of the High Level Administrative Reform Commission
Kashi Raj Dahal said civic education plays a vital role in making
an obedient society. However, timely changes in curricula are
a must to yield better outcome, he added.
Sharing his experience of his recent visit to far-western region
in the country, Dahal said awareness should be generated among
people irrespective of their caste or group. Even animals follow
the rules of nature. Elucidating his experience that he saw
in the Shukla Phanta Wildlife conservation area, he said even
an elephant despite losing an eye does everything as per the
order of his master. If the animals follow the rule of the nature,
why cannot the human being do so? Hence, we have to learn from
animals and nature.
Prof. Ananda P Shrestha, Executive Chairman of the Nepal Foundation
for Advanced Studies (NEFAS) while highlighting the objective
of programme said that the seminar was organised with the view
of gathering ideas of stakeholders in the capital. He also informed
that the NEFAS has been organizing seminars on civic education
for the last 12-13 years in different parts of the country.
It is our continuous effort to generate awareness about civility
which ultimately contribute to strengthening democracy, he said
adding "awareness generation programme would at least do
something for the uplift of the society. The programme we take
outside the Kathmandu valley would have a domino impact on youths.
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Dev Raj Dahal said
that the civic education aims at achieving true consciousness
and therefore cannot be entirely value free. It helps to transform
people into active citizens with the ability to exercise equal
rights and duties. He further said that the art of civic education
must be utilized to communicate the common heritage with a larger
spectrum of people. Dahal touched upon wide-range of issues
relating to democracy, social values and civic education. It
is civic disposition that strengthens democracy and social harmony.
Hence, civility should not be taken as a different field of
study, rather it should be dealt in totality, he added.
Former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC)
Prof Gunanidhi Sharma while chairing the second session of the
programme said that economic issues should be taken into account
to strengthen democracy. Civic education in this regard plays
a vital role in generating awareness about the economic rights
of individuals. Drawing a wide spectrum of Nepalese economy,
he said participation of youths is a must to propel economic
growth. Youths who are well aware about their responsibility,
can firmly distinguish economic rights of individuals and states.
He sharply criticized the government policy of sending youths
abroad for employment. It is the responsibility of the state
to create economic opportunity, no nation can make headway by
sending their productive mass for employment. The state should
generate economic opportunity and provide security.
Another speaker Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal while presenting his
working paper said that the domino effect of civic education
develops democratic culture and ultimately makes a society more
affluent. It helps maintain social harmony and coherence among
people, hence people particularly youths should know well about
Presenting his working paper on 'Civic Education and Democracy
Building in Nepal' Prof. Ananda P Shrestha expressed hope that
civic education campaign would generate awareness and ultimately
contribute to consolidation of democracy with social justice,
equality and all round development. Anomalies have wrecked the
society in the recent years and it has become more intense after
1990 owing to proliferation of partisan interests, he said.
At the end of the both sessions, participants actively took
part in the floor discussion.
Over 90 people from different organizations took part in the
seminar. The one day national seminar was organised by the NEFAS
in cooperation with FES.
Chairman- Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma
Working Paper Presentator- Prof. Dr. Ram Kumar Dahal
Following the presentation, participants from various organizations
raised questions as well put forth their views on the issue.
Laxmi Keshari Manandhar, Padma Kanya College while commenting
Ram Kumar Dahal's paper said that it failed to address the gender
issues in civic education. In a society like ours, gender issues
play a vital role to make civic education more comprehensive
Ram Karki, a lecturer underlined the need to link the
civic education with production, distribution and utilization
of resources. There should be a bottom up approach to make civic
education more effective and result oriented.
Indra Ghimire- a lecturer of sociologist was of the
view that civic education should be linked with economic empowerment.
Assistant Professor of Economics Dr. Bishnu Sharma said
that there are mainly three factors such as economic well-being,
physical well-being and emotional well-being cannot be separated
from civic education.
Bharat Pokharel, professor of Economics at TU said that
teachers, parents and leading figures in other communities should
be role model for children. Each and every individual is responsible
to make budding generation more civic and disciplined.
Krishna Acharya underlined the need to establish economic
relations with civic education. Its absurd to expect civility
in deprivation. Civic awareness programme is not enough to maintain
Drona Lamichhane, a university student said that the
civic education itself is vague to understand for many people
in the society.
Nirdesh Shrestha was of the view that civic education
should be modified in the present context.
Kabita Shrestha spoke about the need for institutionalizing
Another participant Madhav Bhusal a TU student also
stresses on the massive campaign on civic education.
In response to the concern raised by the participants, working
paper presentator, Prof. Dahal said that healthy political atmosphere
is not possible without civility and vice versa. They are inter-related.
On top of that economic aspects should also be properly dealt.
There are problems in every aspect of life, which have to be
dealt with adequate sense and sensibility.
Dev Raj Dahal while responding to the queries underlined
the need for addressing knowledge gap. Civic education helps
prevent on being dogmatist. It helps understand the values and
beliefs in the society.
From the chair, Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma underlined the
need of social-security. When there is a social security, citizens
do not have run after livelihood problems. Hence, civic education
should go along with paving the avenues for economic opportunities.
He also expressed worry about the decay in the political culture.
Chairman - Prof. Dr. Gunanidhi Sharma
Working Paper Presentator- Prof. Ananda P Shrestha
Laxmi Keshari Manandhar - said that the goal of civic
education remains half achieved as long as the status of women
folks in the society remains unaddressed. Women understand the
problems of women, so the role of women in civic education should
be at the forefront. Moreover, women are ahead in display of
civic skills and civic disposition.
Giriraj Dhakal of Prithivi Narayan Campus Pokhara was
of the view that civic education makes youths creative and constructive.
Youths should be made aware about their responsibility and they
should be well aware about the rights of others.
Lalan Chaudhary, an expert of civic education underlines
the need for purification. Civic education should be able to
purify citizens so that they behave like human being.
Ramesh Prasah Joshi said that people from all ages should
be well-aware about civility, hence civic education address
all types of people irrespective of their age, gender and caste.
The root cause of criminalization of politics is dearth of civility,
hence our main focus should be on building a society which is
free of undue greed and corruption.
Bindu Adhikary, a social activist also spoke about giving
due emphasis to value education. We should take civic education
in broader sense along with social development.
Working paper presentator Shrestha said that value degeneration
has been a problem in the Nepalese society; hence we are focusing
on generating awareness from the school level education.
He said that NEFAS with unflinching efforts would continue
its civic education programme in different parts of the country.
The experience, ideas we have gathered so far would be valuable
in policy formulation.