Promoting Active Citizenship for Statebuilding
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
21-22 March 2015, Kabilash, Chitwan
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal office recently organised
a two day seminar at Kabilash of Chitwan district on 21-22 February,
2015. The theme of the seminar was Promoting Active Citizenship
for Statebuilding in Nepal from below. There were around 160
participants out of whom 66 were females. Among others, participants
of the seminar came from various walks of life such as teachers,
lecturers, political leaders, students, members of civil society,
security personnel, local civil servants, other stake holders
of the society. The seminar was held in the Hall of Kabilash
Village Development Committee which is located in the premises
of Shree Kabilash Higher Secondary School. Kabilash Higher Secondary
School serves as the Resource Centre for the 26 schools of two
VDCs of Chitwan and Tanhu District. The inaugural session of
was chaired by the Chief District Education Officer Shree Damodhar
Acharya. During his inaugural speech thanked FES for organising
seminars of this kind in schools. He said that civic education
needs to be included in our curriculum as compulsory subject
as of new it is just optional subject. He further said that
civic education helps people to achieve holistic knowledge and
it helps fosters then notion of civic nationalism. The knowledge,
skills, and prosperity are three domains which should be included
in our education system along with civic education. The tendency
to close public schools and replace them with private ones should
be discouraged said Mr Acharya. Mr Acharya also promised to
provide civic education trainings through Resource Persons of
the school The overarching of aim of this seminar was to revitalize
the sense of civic-ness in our society and also educate local
political leaders/civil society activists and teachers/students
on issues pertaining to state-building, political impasse and
constitutional process in Nepal.
Speaking in the inaugural session Dev Raj Dahal, Head of FES
Nepal, highlighted the importance of civic education and the
role it can play in building democratic political culture in
Quoting German Philosopher Immanuel Kant he said that civic
enlightenment requires the liberation of citizen and leader
from family, civic and pious tutelages with the ability to think
and reflect and exercise freedom in personal and public lives.
He said that we are in the new political juncture and there
are issues which needs broader discussion at the various levels
of society. Nepal's transition is still problematic even after
the election to the CA-2. He also underlined the need of people's
understanding of various political issues that have recently
stole political limelight in the country with direct link with
current state of Nepali politics. It is against this background
that FES has chosen to organise seminars in the peripheral areas
so that people living in such areas also get acquainted with
them. This area is largely populated by the tribal ethnic group
called 'Chepang' and is one of the backward region of Chitwan
district. Mr. Dahal also said that active participation of people
and inclusion of their voices, visions and views increase legitimacy
of politics with increased, people's ownership towards. Such
an approach provides constitutional stability in the country
and builds active citizenship rather than citizenship based-on
consumerism. In the past, Nepal never had constitutional stability.
In the seminars, three different papers were presented.
Among three papers Mr. Dahal also talked about the state-society
interface in Nepal. He said that Nepali society has expanded
beyond its physical boundary. He also said that material well-being
alone is not enough for development - spiritual development
is also necessary as the latter can instill the sense of morality
- the basis of civic education. He also highlighted the changing
notion of democracy. Kashi Raj Dahal, as usual, presented his
paper on constitutional dynamics in Nepal. He underlined the
importance of civic education and its role in building prosperous
society. In addition to this Kashi Raj Dahal also provided various
examples of civic education and requested all the participants
to be honest towards their duty.
Chandra D. Bhatta presenting spoke on building modern state
and necessary components of democracy which needs to be incorporated
in polity and upheld by all. He said that democracy in Nepal
has been misunderstood and it has not been defined or practiced
as per people's aspirations. Absence of all these factors has
led to the manifold crisis in our society.
Dev Bahadur Gurng asked how much hydroelectricity Nepali
state can generate in a year. He further said there differing
information regarding the same.
Buddhiman KC, Teacher, commented on the water policy
between India and Nepal. He said that Nepali land is getting
inundated as India diverts waters toward Nepal during the rainy
Navaraj Pokhrel asked the differences between nation
Rishiram Dhakal enquired about Nepal's total boundary
in the context of border dispute between Nepal and India.
Saraswati Mulmi asked questions about land registration,
that is, whether the land with proper map provided by the government
can be registered in the individuals name or not.
Dhanmaya Lama, Teacher, put a question to Kashiraj Dahal
as how best settle cases related with divorce.
Radhika Bhattarai, Teacher, asked why there has been
no arrest of security personnel who was found to have been in
the cases related to rape. She further said that the particular
individual has been protected by the security personnel themselves.
Kedaranath Poudyal asked why a state is not providing
jobs to the youths within the country alone. He further asked
your programme is focusing more on engaging youths in the employment
with the country but it looks otherwise in practice. He urged
state to come up with alternative employment policy for that
investment in agriculture would be best.
Takaram Poudyal was particularly concerned about the
increased rape cases in the country and appealed government
to come up with concrete policies.
Bishnu Maya Gurung was of the view that we need to have
a prosperous Nepal and education is most important for that.
She further argued that everybody should have equal access to
Padam Pani Poudyal said that we need to convert five
development regions into federal states rather than crafting
Ram Kumari Gurung said that we need to speed up the
process of decentralization and which has not been the case.
People are facing a lot of problems because they have to go
to Kathmandu even merely to get a permission to do some business
in most of the cases and one such example is if anybody would
like to put a shot near wild-life sanctuary - he or she has
to go to Kathmandu for to get the permission for the same.
Rishiram Dhakal stressed that we need to have quality
education for all.
Prem Baral - Teacher- said that teachers are performing
various roles in society but their job is not recognized by
Dhan Maya Gurung - Teacher - raised the problem associated
with temporary and contract teachers of the schools. This has
to be resolved.
Pradyumna Khadka , VDC Secy - pointed a very important
question related to budget allocation by the government. He
was of the view that there has been great deal of discrepancy
- but it has been allocated on the basis of 'population' not
on the basis of 'land-mass'. He argued that while the latter
requires more budget for the development compared to the former.
This dichotomy needs to be addressed.
Eknath Gurung asked the need to protect forest and appealed
that the Presidential decree that has been applied in the Chure
hills needs to be expanded to other parts of the country as
Ek Narayan Poudyal, Head Teacher, thanked FES for organising
the seminar in the schools and informed that there are teachers
participating in the seminar from 26 schools from two districts.
In concluding seminar Ms. Laxmi Gurung, Teacher, from Kabilash
Higher Secondary School gave an evaluation speech on behalf
of participants. She said that she liked the programme and is
most successful. Likewise, the VDC Secretary Mr Pradyumna Khadka
promised to disseminate 10 points resolution adopted by the
seminar in all the schools of the region. He further said that
he will put a calendar explaining resolutions through 42 groups
that exists in the region. He also asked to organize another
seminar on the other side of the district which is relatively
remote. Finally, Chairman of the seminar thanked FES for bringing
such a wonderful programme in their region. He has, in principle,
also expressed his commitment to be abided by the resolutions
that was adopted at the end of the seminar. By and large, when
it comes to the point of civic education and statebuilding process
- programmes like these appears to have been contributing and
making a great deal of impact enhance peace and stability in
society. This also helps to build civic political culture in
society. In recent times, many aspects of our civic life have
become dysfunctional and there is an urgent need to revive them.
This can also strengthen democracy and contribute harmonise
state-society relations. The discussion here reveals that there
is a great deal of frustration towards the current political
issues and federalism and inclusion have become the major bone
of contention. Sudden arrival of these issues for mere political
benefit has radicalised Nepali society. This needs to be fixed-up
for the better, prosperous and shared future.
Report prepared by CDB/FES