Resilient Nation Building through Civic Education
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES),
24-25 March 2016, Jumla & 26-27 March
By Drishti Bhattarai
Civic awareness among the youths is of utmost importance. FES
is, among the few organizations, which is continuously striving
towards enhancing the education level of public by making them
more actively engage in the knowledge-gaining process. Civic education
is, a major priority, in developing nations, like ours.
The two-day program, which was held in the hills of Jumla and
Kalikot district of Nepal, was focused on raising the level
of awareness through civic education. It was basically focused
on the provisions made in the Nepal's constitution 2072, Status
of women's rights along with opportunities and challenges, and
political and economic conditions of the nation. Ms. Samira
Paudel, the Program Assistant of FES, was actively engaged in
establishing relationship with local coordinator of Jumla and
Kalikot district, which facilitated for the smooth operation
and execution of the program. Local coordinator's active engagement
sufficed to the ultimate success of the program. The program
highlights and information was also communicated through local
media houses and newspaper, both in Jumla as well as Kaliktot.
This shows that public is highly interested in political stability
and establishing a level of understanding in civic education.
Nepal's Constitution 2072 B.S.
Mr. Ganesh Dutta Bhatta, Associate Professor of Constitutional
Law at Faculty of Law, Tribhuvan University
Nepal's Constitution is the utmost law. Its significance and
importance can be witnessed through the wide coverage into every
sector. Nepal's Constitution 2072 was promulgated on 20th of
September, 2015 which was signed by 89% i.e. 537 constituent
members out of 598 members. This is the seventh constitution
of the nation, specifically of Nepalese people, after 2007 B.S.,
2015 B.S., 2019 B.S., 2023 B.S., 2046 B.S. and 2063 B.S. political
instability. This constitution has 308 articles along with nine
annexes and preamble.
In 2004 B.S., Nepal's Government First Legal Act was developed.
After the end of Rana Regime, first Interim constitution was
drafted in 2007 B.S., but it was brought to an end in 2015 B.S.
with promulgation of New Constitution. In 2017 B.S., King Mahendra
took over the government and in 2019 B.S., Panchayat System
was introduced along with the promulgation of New Constitution.
The long-term sustainability of Panchayat System was questionable
due to its nature, which led to introduction of Multi Party
Parliament System in 2046 B.S. Amendment was done in Nepal's
Constitution 2019 in 2023 B.S., 2032 B.S. and 2037 B.S. Moreover,
with the end of Maoist Insurgency in 2062/63 B.S., new turn
in political scenario of Nepal was felt and Interim Constitution
of Nepal 2062/63 B.S. was introduced. After eight long years
of political tussle and second election of constituent bodies,
New Constitution 2072 B.S. of Nepal was finally drafted. This
constitution has incorporated the voice of people of all diverse
societies and regions. It is the representation of the identity,
culture, values, regions, ethnic groups, gender, equity and
equality of the citizens of the nation.
The major features of the Nepal's Constitution 2072 B.S. are
secularity, independent judiciary, unicameral legislative, fundamental
rights, civic freedom, provision of inclusion, inclusive electoral
system, multi- party democratic system, federal state, bi-cameral
federal parliament, executive rights vested on council of members,
citizenship provisions, provision on registration and operation
of political parties etc. Nepal's Constitution 2072 B.S. was
formulated with the consent of large number of constituent members
which makes it very praiseworthy. It has incorporated all diverse
sectors of the society. This constitution shows high determination,
which is good as well as troublesome. Few challenges can held
it back. All the previous constitution became a failure as they
couldn't implement and execute it properly. Being too good,
many constitution experts have raised their concern regarding
its proper execution.
From the floor
Satya Bahadur Shahi raised the concern that did you educate
people of Kathmandu Valley especially 601 parliamentarians?
Instead of teaching us about civic education, why don't you
orient the valley? Dharma Raj Shahi said that this civic education
is very useful as we got to know about many things. Is it possible
to promote a nation in international platform if we have these
reseources? Nanda Raj Dhaman requested to focus on overall development
of Karnali region. How were the Constitutiona l experts involved
during the constitution writing process? Khem Bahadur Singh
asked on which political roots are we standing, present or future?
Constitution development process is a drama. How will you address
the problem of citizenship collection, passport collection,
etc? Your presentation emphasized more on judiciary, why so?
Prem Raj Shimkhada elaborated that this workshop regarding civic
education is very useful and helpful as we got to know lots
of things. It is useful to educate cadres of party rather than
us as they have wide reach. Tara Keshar Dahal suggested that
if all development sectors are self-educated, country will develop
automatically. Criminals realized their mistakes and became
politicians whereas politicians are going towards being criminals,
why? Daya Chandra Adhikari suggested that we need to know what
type of youth to produce. Is there agricultural school to educate
youths about agriculture process? Ajay Giri said that Karnali
is very under-developed region, why hasn't anything been done
for it's development? Previously, we used to export heavily
now we have to import heavily. Why haven't any policies develop?
Maiya Malla asked why hasn't any organization dedicated to women
Teknath Shahi gave an important analysis that foreign labor
migration is high which has kept many lands barren. Loan is
given to people who built houses rather than to those who does
agriculture. Where is the policy? Political involvement is high,
landscape is another problem - major technical difficulties.
Daman Shahi has given an important suggestion we, Nepalese,
have high patience, resilience power. We are hopeful that you
will bring these issues in the limelight of nation.
Ganesh Bhatta elaborated that even the central is worried about
Karnali region. Until and unless work culture is developed,
even if 100 constitutions are brought nothing will happen. It
is important to teach root level people than people at the top
State building through political and economic development
Mr. Prakash Giri, News Chief of Sagarmatha Television
and Media Expert
Is the model of development brought by Western philosopher
a failed approach in the context of developing countries? After
being free from the Rana regime in 2007 B.S, the concept of
development was brought into democratic Nepal. But even after
65 years, the nation hasn't made a significant and radical improvement
in the path of development. A country's overall development
is determined by the political and economic stability. There
are three reasons behind the political instability in Nepal:
Clash of Political Ideologies, Ethnicity-based and Regional
challenges and Foreign intervention.
Without a leader, a country won't have long-term vision to
be self-sufficient and prosperous. Why don't we have a proper
leader? External forces and foreign bodies mostly influence
our leaders. John Seaman Garns, "Real leaders are ordinary
people with extraordinary determination". The political
journey in Nepal has taken many turns from the dictatorship
rule of Rana regime for 100 years, then the birth of democracy
to seizure of power during Panchayat System and with the introduction
of multiparty system. These political turnovers have affected
the overall development process of the nation. In t he dusk
of democracy, highly motivated leaders were born. But the political
politics couldn't sustain the high- achiever leaders.
In 2071/72 B.S., 1 billion agro-products were imported. In
1960/61 AD, around 40 million worth food- items and animals
were imported while in this year only 150 million worth was
imported. Previously, Nepal used to export large quantities
to India, Singapore, Britain, France, Japan and South Africa.
In 2051 B.S., rice used to be exported to Bhutan, Bangladesh,
India, South Korea and Singapore. However, at present we have
been import-oriented nation. In Nepal 78%, people are dependent
upon agriculture. Nevertheless, huge amount of agricultural
products are imported from other nations. Our economy has been
remittance-based where 13% of the total budget depends on remittance.
In 2071/72 B.S., 0.5 million people went to foreign labor. Out
of this 0.2 million went to Malaysia only. Earthquake and Blockade
has disrupted the overall economy of the nation. For the reconstruction
of the nation, youths are of high priority. But, how to develop
in the shortage of youths? 23.8% people are below poverty line
in Nepal. This data has increased after the earthquake and blockade.
Citizens are the power of any nation. There are four things
that nation must priorities: proper utilization of power, collection
of taxes, accountability to the government and gaining support
of foreign power. In the absence of leader, failure is seen
in series of initiatives that must have been taken by the government.
Thus, the importance of civic education prevails. When citizens
are educated and aware, they can raise their voice to the government.
Women's rights in Nepal's Constitution: Challenges and Opportunities
Ms. Pabitra Raut, Advocate and Law teacher of Nepal
Is securing position of women in various sectors of government
organizations justified as they are treated equal? Nepal's Constitution
2072 has given privilege to women involvement in different areas.
However, is that enough or justified?
Women are still discriminated on the basis of their gender.
No wonder why we don't have women participation in the higher
level policies-making process. Nepal's new Constitution has
brought new hopes and aspirations for the people, especially
for women. In state building, three things should be considered
regarding women's involvement: their reach in public forum,
their participation during policies formulation process and
women's involvement from local level. Women involvement must
be addressed, but prior to that these areas must be considered:
citizenship issuance, women's rights, participation of women
in executive, judiciary and legislative and women involvement
in local level.
Issuance of citizenship through mother is one of the highly
debatable issues. Our constitution doesn't clearly specify this
provision due to various complexities. Although our constitution
talks about gender equality, reality doesn't state so. Hundreds
of cases have been filed, where youths are restricted from obtaining
citizenship through their mother. This has left the young population
empty-handed. When Nepali men marry a foreigner, the child born
from her receives Nepali Citizenship whereas when a Nepali woman
marries a foreigner, the child born from her receives Naturalized
Citizenship. Clause 38 of the constitution talks about various
rights that are utilized by women. Some of them are: Safe and
secure maternity, equal treatment to women on any grounds, no
discrimination on gender-basis, equal rights to both gender
in family matters, opportunities to women in every sector, etc.
These are few among the vast array of rights given to women,
but it is yet to see how much effective will it be?
Legislative, Executive and Judiciary are the three important
bodies of the government. Nepal's Constitution 2072 talks about
various provisions and opportunities given to women in these
three bodies of the government. However, when we talk about
local level participation of women, they are mostly ignored.
Does giving opportunity and including various provisions related
to women in higher-level justifies equality, when their voice
is ignored at the local level?
Place: Jumla, Nepal
From the floor
Bishnu Maya Buda raised the concern that supposes the woman
is pregnant with baby but the woman dies after giving birth,
and the father runs away. Isn't that baby the responsibility
of that man? Women is killed, but where is justice given to
her? 'Chaupada Pratha' is still prevalent in our society, where
is justice? Harsa Bahadur Thapa questioned why we worship west
in Nepal? Constitution is only written in paper, why? Women
in Jumla aren't constitutionally privileged, how can we override
this? There must be a women lawyer in Jumla.
Pabitra Raut said that more women lawyer or representatives
are needed in Jumla. People needs to understand the importance
of education to be aware in order the concern of 'Chaupada Pratha',
regarding justice providing mechanisms.
Place: Kalikot, Nepal
From the floor
Nawaraj Sharma asked why death penalty isn't in the provision
of the constitution, despite large voice heard from the women
in the case of rape? Lekhnath Kharel compared the education
system of Sri Lanka and Nepal based on merit. Our education
system doesn't focus on making people smart, skill-oriented,
etc. If we could focus on those aspects, it would have been
better. He also informed that women and men are treated equally
in SriLanka. Krishna Shahi suggested that moral education should
be included in the curriculum. What provision are there in the
constitution? What shall be done with women who are pregnant
with other's child? How can you help women, who are lawyer,
in Kalikot? Naresh Dutta Raut said that women are more focused
on back-bitting. Aren't those factors pulling them back? Women
be it mother or grandmother, themselves give property to their
sons, why so? Why don't men and women walk together in the road
and hide themselves? Women aren't ambitious. Is that the reasons
for their drawback? Sabita Rana replied to question regarding
back-bitting saying that men should understand why women does
back-bitting. It is not the interest of women to talk bad about
others, but due to lack of opportunities given to women, we
are compelled to do so. Citizenship through mother might led
to problem du e to foreign father. If citizens are educated,
awareness level will obviously increase. Daman Raj Bhamhari
asked that why government administration also ignore to include
mother's name while issuing citizenship? Padma Karki suggested
that women are less involved in policies level due to more involvement
in household activities. That's also a reason for them to be
pulled backward. Even VDC doesn't include mother's name during
the issuance of citizenship. Bhan Mukti Samgal asked what are
the provisions for abortion? Is there any law until when we
are allowed to have baby or to be pregnant?
From the chair
Death penalty is not in the constitution. Diverse views exist
regarding death penalty. Regarding abortion, it is illegal to
do at any time. Several provisions exist under which one can
go for abortion. When we talk about citizenship issuance from
mother, many things needs to be considered as per the government
rule. Few things that are included in the citizenship are useless.
When we take citizenship from mother, status of father needs
to be elaborated, which is completely privacy issues and insensitive.
This gives long-term torture to women. Open border doesn't mean
citizenship problem is created. Education system are more focused
on central region, it needs to come to regional level. Involvement
of women in various sectors is a positive sign. Regarding child
birth, both men and women should talk with one another. There
is certain age for marriage and a recommendable age to have
babies. Later than that it creates complexities on the life
of both mother and child.
Politics and Economy
Mr. Chandra Dev Bhatta, Programme Officer at FES Nepal
Civic Education plays an important role in enhancing the level
of awareness among people. Education has two parts: one it is
for life another for knowledge. From 2046 to until present,
the level of education has been continuously rising but democracy
and civic education is weakening. Why hasn't the level of education
changed the overall structure of the nation? Abraham Lincoln
quote, "Democracy is for the people, by the people and
of the people" but this notion has changed in context to
Nepal where democracy being far from the people, buy the people
and off the people. With weakening democracy, civic education
among people has decreased.
Nepal's history dates back to thousands years. We are self-sufficient
(rich) in resources, culture, nature, geography, language, ethnicity,
etc. but why haven't we been able to utilize it properly? After
2007 B.S. when Rana regime ended and democracy was brought,
people had high aspiration regarding the development of the
nation. However, constant political tussle between various parties
created an unfavorable situation for development. Thus, the
nation building process was hurdled constantly.
Generally, four types of leaders are found in the society:
post-turtle, shooting star, buzzing bees and mud- lotus. Post-turtle
are those types of leaders who when reaches the position becomes
a leader. Shooting star means these leaders shine like stars,
but they don't have any relation with citizens or nation. Buzzing
bees are those types of leaders who move around with citizens,
but don't try to understand. Finally, Mud lotus are those types
of leaders who are well-versed in their leadership skills, who
works for the citizens and their betterment. What type of leaders
do we have? In Nepal, 78% of people rely on agriculture for
their livelihood whereas 30% of GDP is covered by remittance,
which shows we are being remittance-based economy along with
import-oriented nations. The culture of copying is slowly developing
and can be felt through this example, when a lady gets pregnant
in village, the family brings 'chau chau (noodles)' for her
instead of those items that are available locally like milk,
curd, ghee, etc. Does having noodles signifies we are developing?
We need to think differently and dream differently, and only
the nation will develop. All sectors of the society needs to
be included in the policy making process. This will clarify
the existing situation of the diverse groups in the society.
This is what civic education is all about, mking people more
aware and responsible to deal with the ongoing changes in the
From the floor
Devi Prasad Sija raised the concern over why democracy in Nepal
became weak? Hari Sharan Acharya asked what type of education
are we providing to the youths? We are more focusing on English
language and less on our own native language. Is this the need
of time or western grip over the nation? Ramananda Acharya raised
a general concern regarding the secularism. Despite 92% asking
the nation to be declared as Hindu Kingdom, why government want
it to be a secular nation? Dhaulasri Upadhayay enquired that
only providing civic education in the headquarter is not enough,
one needs to go to villages to address this concern. People
in headquarter are bit learned than those in villages. Laxmi
Buda asked why we say
'Loktantra' and 'Ganatantra', despite 'Prajatantra'? Is FES,
Religion oriented? Durga Prasad Pandey had very interesting
inputs. He talked about the 'Cries of Jumleli.' Civic education
is very important in our daily life to make us aware of the
surroundings. Why don't you provide this education to 601 parliamentarians
rather than us?
From the chair
Chandra Bhatta said that democracy will only sustain when a
nation goes into state-building process. Regarding the quality
of education (being more English-oriented), he said that with
the increasing globalization it has been the need of time. Our
education is very bookish, less practical. We only teach the
students how to pass the examinations but not implement whatever
he or she has learned into reality. We have misunderstood the
meaning of secularism. With the introduction of multi-party
parliament system, the pressure for creating secular nation
slowly established. 'Ganatantra' is totally different like what
is experienced in India but 'Loktantra' and 'Prajatantra' are
similar. No, FES is not religion oriented. Yes, there are problems
in Jumla, that's why civic education will help them to uplift
from their situation. Water is always provided to the roots
of the trees rather than the leaves. Until and unless you don't
change yourself, no politicians or political party will work.