Civic Education through Multipliers of Knowledge
Organised by Nepal Foundation for Advanced
22 November (Dapcha, Kavre)
Civic Education must for consolidation of democracy
At a time when the country's politicians are 'seemingly busy'
in garnering consensus on thorny issues of the new constitution,
some sociologists, economists and local people today extensively
discussed the significance of good governance so that everybody
can be a part of local development.
Good governance is possible only when emerging youths actively
take part in politics which is based on values and democratic
principles. Youths should be role-model, which is possible through
awareness generation about civility. Having realized the essence
of civic education, Asian countries including India and China
have laid emphasis on civic education in their school and college
Now it's high time to make our budding youths to make them
aware about civic sense, said participants at an interaction
programme. School teachers, representatives of different political
parties, and social activists here expressed their concern over
dwindling state of civic sense among the youths and underlined
a dire need of awareness generation across the nation. Today's
youths do not see their future in their own soil and presume
politics as 'dirty game'. In such a situation how can one expect
development? They asked.
Presenting a working paper on "Civic Education to Youths"
sociologist Shiv Raj Dahal explained why civic education
was important from the point of view of sustainable development.
He further explained civic education is the education that teaches
us what is right or what is wrong based on the interest of greater
number of people. It is based on the philosophy of veda - great
Hindu epic based on moral values and essence of life.
It teaches us how co-existence can be maintained in the society,
he said adding that failure to maintain balance ultimately leads
to catastrophes and unexpected disaster. Had the society gone
as per the civic values and people would have realized co-existence
and we would not have encountered any untoward events in the
history. Developed nations have now realized how today's youths
should be nurtured and thus massively focused on civic education,
At an interaction programme on "Civic Education to Youths",
organised by the Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies (NEFAS)
in association with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung(FES), he urged
the local people to voice their concern so as to bolster democratic
exercise at local level. However, youths' role is vital in generating
awareness. The domino effect of such program helps uplift the
entire society, country at large.
Unless youths become aware of their responsibilities, the society
cannot make progress. Hence, civic education for today's youths
is a must to make them a part of society and democratization
process in the country, he said.
Speaking at the programme former vice chairman of the National
Planning Commission Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma pointed out
the need for economic empowerment for which the state should
have the confidence of addressing the problem of general people
irrespective of any ideology or groups. It is civic education
that teaches people about their rights and responsibilities
Youths in this regard should be well aware about their economic
rights. All democratic movements become successful only when
youths take the lead. In this connection, youths should play
an active role in economic empowerment, said Prof. Sharma. If
youths become deviated from politics, they would be less aware
about their economic rights and anomalies could strangle the
entire socio-economic paraphernalia, said Prof Sharma.
Prof. Sharma also raised the question on the recently concluded
power development agreement with India. Passing a sarcastic
note on Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat's recent statement
he said the government was hiding the facts of economic indicators.
Expressing concern over the country's 'tardy democratization
process', Dev Raj Dahal, chief of the FES said that civic
education largely helps people to realize their responsibilities.
Especially youths who are the future of the society should play
an active role in development of the society. It is impossible
for a society to make progress without active and disciplined
youths. He further said "civic education aims at familiarizing
people, both male and female, about the rule of governance their
rights, duties, practices and basic principles of democracy.
Civic education is a praxis- use of critical knowledge to shape
reasonable attitude and change the world for better freedom,
equality, dignity and peace, he said adding this programme would
help generate awareness about civic education.
Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal pointed out the need for generating
awareness about civic education and the rights of youths in
the society. Unless, our youths remain unaware of their responsibilities,
a society cannot move towards right direction, he said.
Executive Director of the NEFAS Prof. Ananda Prasad Shrestha
spoke about the objectives of the interaction programme. This
is our endeavor to gather your views at local level from different
parts of the country. Your opinion would help play an important
role in policy formulation, said Shrestha.
The programme was chaired by Govind Bahadur Bhujel, chief of
the Dapcha Krishna College. Bhujel said such programme would
largely help generate awareness among the local people. He urged
the organizers to hold such programme in regular basis. Over
70 people from different walks of life were participating in
the interaction programme.
NEFAS has been organizing civic education programme for the
last 12-13 years in different parts of the country. Its publications
have been widely used in school and college curriculum.
Following the interaction programme, participants raised questions
on different issues on the working paper-
Mahesh Adhikary - teacher at Secondary School - said
that the views expressed in the working paper were not clear
about the People's Movement that took place in 1996. It seems
that the paper is bit lopsided from the point of view of those
who are deprived and discriminated. You should be able to include
the voice of all.
Nava Raj Adhikary - a social worker and vegetable farmer-
expressed grudges over the policy of the government. Government
has turned a deaf ear to the problems of farmers and local entrepreneurs.
There is no such policy to protect local products.
Hari Dahal- teacher at local school- asked Prof. Gunanidhi
Sharma to clarify how and Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with India is harmful to Nepal.
Now Nepal should initiate process of attracting more foreign
Hari Prasad Timilsina - Social worker - urged the organizer
to press government to formulate youth friendly policy. Unless
the youths are deprived of economic opportunity, it's not wise
to talk about civic education.
Atmaram Adhikary- political/social activist - The state
should formulate special policy to woo youths to politics. Programmes
for youths should be devised. Civic education programme is a
must, but the programme alone does not help overcome problems.
Gita Adhikary- a college student - Programme should
be organized in regular basis and asked when civic education
would be envisaged in the curriculum.
Responding to queries, Shiv Raj Dahal underlined the
need for promoting values in the society. There has been a growing
concern about civic education in India, China and other Asian
countries, so we should lay our priority to educate our people-
specially youths as what their role should be in the society.
Consolidation of democracy is not possible without informed
youths; hence it is our efforts to draw the attention of youth
from different parts of the country.
He informed that the programme would be held in different parts
of the country and the views of the local people would be collected
and prepared for policy formulation and school/college curriculum.
Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma while responding to queries relating
to BIPPA and other national issues said BIPPA with India is
more detrimental from the point of view of 1950s treaty. BIPPA
should be done with other countries as well. In the regard role
of informed youths is vital to guard the vital interest of the
nation, he said.
FES head Dev Raj Dahal said civic education is important
because it generates awareness about the values of coexistence
and mutual understanding in the society. Democracy cannot function
steadily without youths having plethora of moral values. Hence,
concerned efforts must to boost morale among youths. Dearth
if confidence and morale degenerate democracy, he said.