Himalaya Watch

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Monday, July 13, 2009


"Now I know why the youths my age are spoilt so easily" utters a frustrated young man. He has just joined the masters in Management in the Shankardev campus. " In the last batch, there were 2800 of them and this time around I was 1100 and something long back and i do not know how many have been admitted since. Rarely I get the chance to sit in the chairs and you take it as usual even if you get to sit in the window after reaching the class half an hour before the lecture starts." The young man takes a long breath before proceeding with the story: " few years back when i joined the Bachelors in management, the things were different. Those with a BBS degree used to get a job with relative ease."

Why the drastic change? He elaborates: "Until few years back, only around 30% of the examinees used to pass the SLC exams. Even the +2s were not so numerous. And now: the +2s are mushrooming in every corner of the country that do whatever to get their students through the exams. Their business is in turn sustained by a massive 65+ pass rate in the SLC. How would the colleges sustain this pressure of unruly students in the Bachelors? They get rid of the mob by simply letting them pass. And here studying the Masters has been the mockery of education itself."

He further explores the darker chapter of the story. "Where will all of these get the job now? How humiliating is it to have a Masters degree yet with no job and thus erratic life ridden with uncertainties in every other step? Should we also seek the manual jobs in the Gulf competing with the illiterate folks from the village? How can we survive the strangling inflation of Kathmandu where opportunities are supposed to be there but are not?"

It is little surprising to discover that the frustration is brewing this way among the educated youth. Who is to take responsibility if he simply yields to the peer pressure to start drinking liquor or smoking hasish in order to alleviate the frustration? That is not at all an unlikely option. In the crowd of Kathmandu away from the parents, the conscience of the young man is the only thing that can check the tendency to indulge in such activities. "But everything has got its limits," the young man sighs after having learnt that someone else was appointed for a job for which he had applied but was never called for interview.

This may be the representative story of what kind of education we are providing to the building blocks of our country. Apparently everything is in place. The government is paying for the professors and every other expense in the college, the parents are anyhow managing the expenses of the student to stay in Kathmandu , and most importantly, the student is studying sincerely to pass the exams. But what after that? Nobody is compelled to provide him with a job, but he is compelled to earn a reasonable amount to sustain the life. Gradually the parents would be ageing, he will get married and he will have to bear the compound responsibility. Thinking about all this invites a bout of severe frustration and it is really difficult to bear.

Whenever the government changes, assurances come in multitude for every other citizen. When it comes to implementing the programs, everything is better said than done. The old system of gross ineptitude and extreme negligence persists amidst the rhetoric to change everything. Everyone in position is responsible for himself and his family only. A proper vision to change and when required, to reverse the direction never develops. That would obviously exclude the chance of any policies required for the betterment of the people being formulated and implemented.

Tremendous as the problem is, however, that is not the only grievance of the poor student. The colleges have been the laboratory of the political parties for producing goons able to execute most unscrupulous tasks. With increasingly worsening law-and-order situation in the country, impunity to the organized mob has been a norm rather than exception. Every other hooligan is thus free to disrupt the classes if he simply does not feel like studying. If the professors hesitate to grant him good marks for his obviously pathetic performance, he is free to mobilize a mass that vandalizes the college property, threatens the professors and disrupts the classes for weeks. Ironically, he would be the one to suffer least from the chaos as the patronage of the political party will ultimately help him get a job if not the cash embezzled from the national treasury. The one to suffer the most will be a sincere student studying hard and dreaming to make a livelihood by getting a decent job after getting the degree in the elusive job market that prioritizes 'links' before everything.

One who can would thus curse this ailing state and seek asylum in US or Europe . That is, however, affordable to very small proportion of the educated unemployed mass. Especially those without excellent academic performance are literally trapped in a system that leaks so badly that it has nothing to give to them who genuinely deserve. Anger towards the state and the political leadership, frustration, depression and a morbid anxiety then form a dangerous cocktail that they are forced to live with.

Could any political leader in Nepal have thought seriously and constructively about the issue? Pretty unlikely. In the first part, the minds of the politicians are preoccupied with the issue of gaining and retaining power. With so prominent political instability that has now lasted for over two decades in Nepal with a decade of crippling insurgency, a little could be realistically expected. Things now appear to have taken a worse turn from the bad one with unknown period of time ahead with political confrontation and stalemate.

Pessimism would obviously lead us to nowhere. It remains to be seen if optimism leads to anywhere better. Let us just see.

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जीवन, खुशी अहंकार

जीवनमा अफ्ठ्यारा घुम्तीहरुमा हिंडिरहँदा मैले कुनै क्षणमा पलायनलाई एउटा विकल्पको रुपमा कल्पना गरेको थिएँ, त्यसलाई यथार्थमा बदल्ने आँट गरिनँ, त्यो बेग्लै कुरा हो त्यसबेला लाग्थ्योः मेरा समग्र दुखहरुको कारण मेरो वरपरको वातावरण हो, यसबाट साहसपूर्वक बाहिरिएँ भने नयाँ दुख आउलान् तर तत्क्षणका दुरुह दुखहरु गायब भएर जानेछन् कति गलत थिएँ !

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