Civic Education through Multipliers of Knowledge
Organised by Nepal Foundation for Advanced
28 November (Bhotechaur, Sindhupalchowk)
Democracy remains weak as long as disparity continues
Participants here literally expressed apprehension about the
growing tendency of undermining social values and ethics among
youths. Such tendency in the long-run could jeopardize the sovereignty
of the country, they said.
The anomalies that the society has been encountering after
the reinstatement of democracy in 1990 are mainly due to gradual
degeneration of social values and failure of political leadership
thereafter. On top of that inability of the state in addressing
the burgeoning aspirations of people can also be blamed for
disorder, discontent and derailment of politics.
Our education system has become more 'fragmented' as a result
of which it has failed to deliver social needs, said sociologists
while sharing their views with enthusiast local people in this
tiny, green village.
Divulging on the issues at an interaction programme on 'Civic
Education to Youths', they said that dearth of civic sense among
people ultimately drags a society towards destabilization.
Presenting a working paper, sociologist Shiv Raj Dahal
said that civic education largely contributes to uphold social
values. He said that anomalies and frustrations that have ravaged
our younger generation are mainly due to harrowing fall of our
social values. If this continues, we cannot imagine what our
future would be like, he said.
Now everybody seems to have realized the essence of civic education
to deliver value-based education to the new generation. Countries
such as India, China and other Asian countries have now made
civic education as part of their school/college curricula. Hence,
we should not delay in laying focus on the education system
that is based on social values. We should lay our priority to
educate our people- specially youths as what their role should
be in the society. The political instability that has arisen
today is mainly due to lack of mutual understanding, said Dahal
adding 'co-existence, or social harmony is essential for broad-based
development which is possible through civic education. 'Learning
civic education alone is not sufficient, everybody has to put
it into practice in day-to-day life, said Dahal.
Had people were conscious about ethics, crimes and social anomalies
would not have happened. People would be guided by ethics and
the society would move towards progress, he said. But today
the entire society is fragmented, divided and splintered due
to continuous erosion of civic sense, he said and civic sense
is the reflection of material and spiritual development.
Speaking at the inaugural session of a day-long programme,
Executive Director of Nepal Foundation for Advanced Studies
(NEFAS) Prof. Ananda Prasad Shrestha expressed his firm
belief that civic sense among people largely contribute to the
democratization process. Hence, our youths should have greater
sense of social values and ethics. The interaction programme,
Shrestha said adding that would at least help in gathering opinions
from the people living in different parts of the country. Moreover,
youths who are the torch-bearers, should be well-aware about
civic education. He further said that informed youths should
take the lead. If youths become uninformed, consolidation of
democracy is not possible, said Prof. Shrestha adding politics
handled by hooligans, uneducated and uninformed people does
not deliver social justice.
Head of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Dev Raj Dahal
explained how the FES came into being and works for peace, liberty,
social justice and freedom through its offices in 125 countries.
He further said that civic education makes people aware about
social values, sustainable development, co-existence and mutual
understanding. Today we are becoming educated, but our knowledge
has become more specialized or segmented. We are losing our
wisdom no matter what level of education we achieve. Our educated
people are often criticized for being unwise because of their
self-centric behavior. Learning should change the behavior,
if an individual fails to change behavior through learning,
that sort of education does not serve the interest of the society.
Hence, our emphasis should be on widening our knowledge based
on wisdom. Civic education in this context, largely helps in
building wisdom of an intellect, he said.
Referring to the Hindu philosophy, he said our society is based
on knowledge, hence Buddha has suggested to enlighten ourselves
(Apa Dipo Vaba). It's great lesson that we should learn to enlighten
ourselves. Awareness is not possible without developing inner
vision, said Dahal adding that civic education helps in metamorphosing
people into citizen.
Civic education is praxis - it constitutes a relation of politics
to people's life and supports and equality and brotherhood as
opposed o petty infantilism and arrogant juvenility. It teaches
that leaders are neither divine nor superior to citizens, he
Critical debates civil rights and duties can be expected to
contribute to strengthening the bedrock of citizens' attachment
with the state, polity and public institutions and build a social
and national consensus for policy coherence on the basis of
the changing popular mandate, he said.
Prof. Gunanidhi Sharma dwelling upon the economic issues
emphasized the need for economic empowerment. Today's youths
should be cautious as how the national resources have been sneaked
by a handful of people. If youths remain unaware about politics,
there will be a dominance of regressive forces, he said.
Prof. Sharma further said that civic education would at least
generate awareness about the rights and responsibilities of
Prof. Ram Kumar Dahal, outlining the essence of civic
education said that it would generate awareness among budding
youths that 'it is the politics that leads the society towards
a certain direction'. Hence, politics should not go into wrong
hands. It is the civic education that teaches us to take our
politics towards right direction.
From the chair, Padam Bahadur Karki, principal of the
Sri Saraswoti Higher Secondary School at Bhotechaur spoke about
the significance of civic education to boost morale of youths.
He also underlined the need of value based education system
and said that knowledge should be broad-based and linked to
Over 125 people including 45 female participants from different
walks of life actively took part in the discussion programme.
At the end of the interaction programme, participants raised
questions on different issues on the working paper.
Kumar Prasad Lamichhane, Principal of Sri Sinhdu Higher
Secondary School underlined the need for culture/ethos saying
that education alone does not contribute to wisdom. Learning
should change the behavior. If any learning fails to change
behavior of an individual, that cannot be deemed learning, he
said. He also asked resource persons to elucidate the modus
operandi of practicing civic education.
Laxmi Dahal, a social activist questioned how civic
education alone motivates youths for social cause. Definitely
civic education does a lot, but there are other factors to keep
our youths in right track. Civic education should be backed
Padma Nath Adhikary, a school teacher said most of youths
today are not aware what they are going to be after achieving
certain academic degree. Now days, they do not see the future
in their soil. In this context, how could civic education be
Hari Dahal, teacher at local school, Bhotechaur- said
civic education alone does not uplift youths, positive change
in behavioral aspects of youths should be given priority.
Kalpana Karki, Social worker, urged the organizer to
press government to formulate youth friendly policy. Besides,
youths should be involved in productive activities.
Responding to queries, 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,
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.
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.