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Learning to unlearn: How our education system has failed us (and how do we bounce back)

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Being a seemingly unemployed graduate, this Dashain showered me with a range of strange blessings from my family and relatives. ‘May you be granted Visa’, ‘May you earn a lot in the days to come’, ‘May you get a name and fame’ were the ones that topped the list. My cousins, some of who are still school-goers, received blessings of being doctors and engineers and standing first in their classes. No one cared about what we’d love to do with our lives. We were offered lengthy hymns of blessings, but what we wanted to become later in life was never cared for.

This is my personal experience, but I bet thousands of others can relate to this.

This led me into a brief contemplation and I couldn’t resist myself searching for a connection between our social and cultural upbringing and our education system. A question evolved in my head, ‘isn’t this why our (education) system has failed us?’

Inside the pages of our bulky books that we carried reluctantly to schools, there’s a fine-tuned version of our best selves in making, fabricated in utopian silk. It’s something to ponder upon. During the six long hours in schools, our kids are taught, sometimes with batons and ‘sit-ups’, to be disciplined, to behave in a civilized way. These kids yawn their jaws out for the rest of the day, and on their way back home they buy noodles, savor the MSG adulterated snack and throw the plastic wrappers away on the roadside. They rush home; they’ve got an assignment to do: the teacher had told them to write an essay on ‘Earth and Environment.’

Chapters in the schoolbooks tell our kids not to litter, but these lessons are lost in translation.  The way we tend to make people understand things involves a lot of mugging and dictating and memorizing at the expense of understanding and applying. Instead of being a productive and inspirational guardian angel for our students to sharpen their creative processes, our curricula rather narrow the choices of our pursuits. It was meant to plant seeds of progression, humanity and beautiful changes, but on its way it guided us to be even hungrier for power and money.

Far from their genuine purpose of delivering wisdom, classrooms are dull and boring bubbles where indifferent teachers come for money and uninterested students listen to them out of fear. Schools, instead of helping students to unleash their productive capacity, tend to normalize each and every child to a standardized line of measurement. Amidst chalks and talks, a child who recruited in pre-school swiftly turns into a high school graduate, but he himself doesn’t realize what he’s going to do with his life. This is how strangely our education has failed us, repeatedly. It’s not hard to comprehend the development of this social paradigm if we care enough to think a bit about the political inclination, degree of unionization and politicization of our school systems, teachers and institution operators.

Children are trained, not taught. They are trained to memorize formulae and count words and score high on tests. Their curiosity is clawed by the fear of under-performance, their uniqueness is paralyzed by the compulsion of conformity that our system dictates. Their differences in opinion are barely celebrated, their creative endeavors seldom admired. A kid is expected to believe that a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, but how? He’s barely shown. Showing them takes pragmatism, and our schooling system is tragically poor in it.

We have been so inured to a corrupt system that we have constructed a social concept of ‘you’re doing great as long as you’re making money’. Ethics and morality, dignity and righteousness have been left behind far away in our journey to this point in the history. We tell our children to study hard so that they can earn money later in life, but we never tell them that wealth is not the answer to everything. Every time, generations by generations, a large mass of tender youths are brainwashed by our education system to fit into places, to compete, to outrun their fellow mates.. We have sadly been convinced that money can buy respect. We then fight with each other, we pull strings to get better off than the ones around us. Mutualism and co-operative spirit die a brutal death. In this competition of achieving more and earning a good fortune, the real joy of living is often compromised. The end result: a person, who as a kid, sang songs brilliantly ends up working as a salesperson, a kid who dreamt of pursuing career in robotics gives up his passion and settles for a 9-5 job that he has been persuaded to believe is lucrative. The pursuit of creativity fades away in an irreversible way and the whole nation bleeds in agony. We talk of brain drain, but we never seek out solutions.

In this ever changing world where technological triumphs have been advancing each day, we’re still stuck in a conundrum of setting up a reliable system. Though we’re lagging, it is never too late to make amends. The conservative methodology of our education system needs to be overhauled with new measures. We need motivated teachers who understand child psychology; mentors who love value-based teaching that can incite imagination and curiosity inside classrooms. We need newer techniques of making kids understand the primary phenomena of the world, earth and human relationships. More than notes and chalks and dusters, our kids need to be habituated for learning with multimedia and similar interactive approaches. We may give lengthy residential trainings to teachers, we may change the grading system for a hundred times, but our kids won’t grow up to be wise citizens unless we celebrate their creativity and encourage rather than suppress their differences in opinion.

We, the ‘grown-ups’, the parents, the teachers, administrators and policy makers are yet to unlearn the beliefs that are engraved deep into our psyche. Before we can make our children learn, there’s a lot in reserve for us to unlearn. We were fed stereotypes, and we were subjected to confirmation. First, we need to wretch that out. We need to mold ourselves into more pragmatic, more reasonable and logical beings before we set up any standards for our kids to live by. We must question everything. Our kids will learn by our examples, not by our dictation. Only when we show them by throwing garbage on the dust-bins can we make them rational enough not to litter. There is no other way.

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Humility is the key for the deadlock of our tourism!

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We are a nation of pure natural bliss; our landscapes and biodiversity are amazing, we all know that. We have potentially the most beautiful places in the south asia, and our cultural eccentricity makes us even more attractive to travellers and adventurers from around the globe.
When people visit Nepal, they not only get to see our mountains and rivers, but they also indulge in our environment and lifestyle. It could be a simple festival or ‘jatra’ at Kathmandu, it could be a dance at a ‘rodighar’ at Ghandruk or it can be a meditation by the side of Bagmati, the visitors tend to blend into the ways of our native lives as they enjoy, learn and grow. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget that anyone who comes here from abroad expects to receive at least a minimum set of standards in terms of hospitality, accommodation and travel comfort. The major urban cities that ghatare also tourist destinations are anticipated to have efficient transportation on top of clean and healthy surroundings. This, however, has been a crucial tipping point in our context, which we’ve constantly failed to maintain ever since we realised the potential of tourism industry.
 This holds true to our rural tourist destinations too. If you’re a budget traveler, you’re sure to experience a rather strange approach towards you, especially on travel destinations in remote areas. The overlooking authorities like Nepal Tourism Board have failed to maintain a scientific and rational pricing for food and accommodation. It’ll not be surprising if we find a traveller complaining of not receiving the service value given the cost. Everyone wants to be treated humbly, and expects a minimum level of cleanliness when it comes to lodging and fooding.
 “They don’t even respond to you! The hotel owners don’t even find it necessary to clean your rooms or change your bedsheets. I’m not asking for a five star luxury, but for the cost I pay, (which is already too expensive) I want to be smiled at, served a well-cooked clean food; and I want to spend my night free of bed-bugs!” An avid traveler (name not revealed) shared her experience from her journey to a national park at western Terai of Nepal. “I don’t blame the people though,” she adds, “But shouldn’t the authorities be awaring and educating people about hospitality and sanitation? They disburse so much budget, but where does that go?” She’s infuriated.

This type of lack of attentive functioning has  let loose the monopolistic arrangement of lodges, hotels and restaurants across these geographically remote places. This might look like a rather trivial subject, but it holds a grave concern if we are to boost our internal and external tourism. People who run these businesses seem to be considering only money and nothing else.They need to be realised with the subtle aspects of rational behavior, of hospitality, of advantages of building a sense of satisfaction to their customers. I don’t mean to belittle or be too critical, I’m just pointing out to the holes of our tourism industry that need to be filled if we aim to be a tourist attraction of the 21st century.
These are just representative examples. There are a lot of improvements to be made for making our tourism and travelling more reliable, scientific and wide-ranging. From aviation upgrading, trekking safety to travel information systems, we can always find a way to be world-class. All that needs is a little bit of collective effort. Government can’t continue to be apathetic when it comes to monitoring the business ventures so as to maintain a comparatively equal rate. The eateries and restaurants by the highways are the first places this improvement can be carried on at. Additionally, promotion of agro-tourism, sanitation and cleanliness campaigns are some other points of intervention that can empower local stakeholders.
Every traveller takes back home memories of our places and people. Let’s be humble enough to respect their spirit, and in return learn and benefit from them.

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Do you Badmouth about KP Oli and Vidhya Bhandari? READ THIS

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First thing first.  I would like to congratulate Ms. Vidhya Bhandari for becoming the second president of Nepal, first female President of Nepal, and first President of New Nepal.

However, I see Nepalese people in general holding mixed feelings towards her political achievement.  Would she have reached there without Mr. KP Oli, the prime minister of Nepal?  I doubt like many others.  Why? Well, there are lots of bitching about them.  With all these bitchings, I felt I must say something to all the readers out there, because it’s very important for everyone out there to think like me and believe like my in this matter.  Let me start from myself.

I am not so old, just an 80s born, who were kid until world entered millennium era.  I vaguely remember Madan Bhandari’s death and talks around amongst my dad and his friends and neighbors and medias then.  I didn’t care much though.  I could hear here and there people linking KP Oli with Vidhya Bhandari.  Then, I grew up, got busy with my own youthfulness, rock music and western world and I cared less about Nepal politics and politicians.  Then came “Ganatantra,” then came rise of politicians and their power and influences and then came KP Oli as president of UML and Vidhya Bhandari as VP.  By this time, I was matured enough to understand laugh and taunt and bitch about these two, behind their backs.  Now, here we are — KP Oli as a prime minister of Nepal and Vidhya Bhandari as president.  I see netizens talking all kind of talks about them.  WOW! bitching that was started by our father’s generation is passed down to my generation and also some early 20s.  We all have been bitching.  Amazing people we are.  We are bitching about two elders without any proofs, without any base, purely based on assumptions circulated by elders and we all are taking those speculations for grant and carrying on bitching.

How cool is that? Oh, they are politicians, so bound to be a subject of slandering and taunting, right?  NO!

This is the most stupid thing and the most shameful thing and classless character I have been witnessing among netizens.  And here is something, I want everyone to keep in mind.

Mr. KP Oli and Ms. Vidhya Bhandari aren’t just a politician.  They are human.  They are not just a lone human.  They have a family and children.  Mr. KP Oli has a wife, she works somewhere in a bank or school I suppose.  Ms. Vidhya Bhandari is a widow, has got daughters somewhere.  Mr. KP Oli’s wife surely has got friends and colleagues at her workplace and that she goes out with.  Same with Ms. Bhandari’s daughter.  Now ask yourself,

  • how it feels to be a wife of a man who is linked with another woman.  
  • how it feels to be a daughter of a woman who is labelled as a bitch.  
  • Step into the shoes of Mr. KP Oli’s wife and ask yourself, how insecure she may feel or how embarrassed she may feel to call herself as a wife of Mr. KP Oli, a wife who is believed to be not loved, not prioritized . 
  •  How much daughters of Ms. Vidhya Bhandari must be hurt when they hear people defaming her mother by linking it to another married man.


How can people be so insensitive, especially, when there is no proof or base or logic behind the made up stories.  It’s not okay in first place to allege others without a strong proof.  NOT AT ALL OKAY to question their morality and ethics purely based on speculation, that too in society like Nepal.  IT IS JUST INSANE.  As said above, they are not just politician.  They are someone’s husband, someone’s father, someone’s mother, someone’s in-law.  Those wife, those children, those in-laws have friends beyond the political arena.  Shaming KP Oli and Vidhya Bhandari as “two human in extramarital affair” isn’t just defamation of these two humans but also defamation of Radhika Shakya, their children if any, and daughter of Vidhya Bhandari.  Imagine your mother is linked to other man.  Imagine your partner is linked with other woman. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW IGNORANT SOCIETY BEHAVES and you are fueling the ignorance.

Do you think you are doing right by bitching about these two people?

“Smoke does not come without fire.”  That must be your point of reference.  Let me give you simple perspective.

Suppose you are a guy.  You had a best friend (male), you both grew up in same profession.  You got married and your friend too married with his lover.  Now you two best friends were two best married couples.  You loved your wife, he loved his wife.  Two family used to go around, doing all kinds of fun.  Now, overtime, your bestfriend’s wife became your friend too and friend of your wife too.  Life was wonderful until one day, your best friend died in an accident.  You were emotionally shattered.  You looked at his wife, you looked at his daughter and you felt really really bad.  You knew how much he meant to her, you knew how much the daddy meant to her daughter.  Would you just abandon your best friend’s wife and daughter just because now he is dead??  I would not.  I would make sure I would take care of his wife and his daughter as much as mine.  I don’t need to be romantically involved with her and still take care of her because that’s what a best friend does.  I would promise her, “don’t worry, I will take care of you and your daughter.”  My wife too would stand by me and take care of her and her daughter.

What if that’s the story between KP Oli and Vidhya Bhandari? What if KP Oli and Madan Bhandari were just like that two good friends and after his demise, Mr. KP Oli stood by the widow and her daughter? That can be possible right?  During his godfather role and during his caretaker role, what if people were misinterpreting his generosity and sacrifice as affair? That’s what ignorant pea-sized brains do.  THEY BITCH coz for them anything between two opposite sex is only about SEX and ROMANCE.  They are not evolved enough to understand friendship without romance, they are not evolved enough to understand what a human can do to fellow human without sexual benefit.  Moreover, they are stupid jerks who always look down at widow and single mother and grown up woman.  What if Vidhya Bhandari is victim of such mindsets?

Human relationship is much beyond sex, much beyond financial gains,  Many of us are just too young to understand types of relationships, and many of us are too primitive and ignorant to not understand the gray area that lies between human bonding.  So, my request to you.  STOP BITCHING about these two humans, because these two humans have other humans related with them, who maybe finding life tough  and living hard because you have been bitching about these two humans, without any base, without any knowledge on their true selves, simply because elders passed down the bitching.

To me, KP Oli must have been a best friend or good friend of Madan Bhandari and has been taking care of his wife and daughter as a promise to his best friend because just like me, just like you, it’s a duty of a best friend to take care of his love and blood in his absence.  That’s the divine promise KP Oli must have made to his friend, Madan Bhandari and thus always takes her by his side — made her VP and made her President without caring what the ignorant society may bitch about as long Radhika Shakya understands his trueself.

That’s how I take it, that’s how everyone should take it, unless there is a proof to prove me wrong.

p.s. Calling someone a bad politician is one thing but calling the same person bad husband or wife without a proof is INSANE

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