Nation-building through civic education
Organised by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES),
8-9 December 2016, Okhaldhunga
& 10-11 December 2016, Solu
This report is a summary of two day seminars conducted in districts
of Okhaldhunga and Solukhumbu in Nepal. The title of the seminar
was Resilient Nation-building through civic education in Nepal.
The summary is developed in 4 tiers as the following.
- Summary of talking points of FES Program Officer
- Summary of talking points of Guest Speakers
- Summary of 3 Resource Experts
- Summary of questions raised by the participants
SUMMARY OF TALKING POINTS OF FES PROGRAM OFFICER
PRESENTER: MR. CHANDRA D. BHATTA, PROGRAM OFFICER
CONCEPT OF CIVIC EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY BUILDING
- Highlight on key areas of activities of FES and stressed
the need for democracy based on equanimity as the basis of
freedom. Sovereignty and economy are both based on resources
of the country. Freedom, equality, solidarity, peace and social
justice are key element of democracy.
- Introduced root meaning of democracy starting from the Greek
time referring to the word "villain" rooted on "Villa"
essentially similar to "Mukhia" in earlier Nepali
- Contextualised understanding of democracy theorized from
the grounded knowledge and experiential learning of society
for effective and appropriate implementation and effective
- Introduced concept of "Dan Dine" or "almsgiving"
symbolic gesture to impart opportunity by a stronger section
of the community to weaker section of society or an individual
or for supporting family. The loss of philanthropic role model
in our society--not only taking but giving as well.
- Explained importance of place based learning required for
increasing understanding and effective practice for equality
based on teachings of equanimity referring to teaching of
- Offered insights on how presence of discordance in real
need of the development and intervention is resulting into
- Re-emphasized sustainable growth for ancient country like
Nepal through its historical development of millennia in order
to support and strengthen democratic values and practice through
improved education based on cultural norm and historical understanding.
- Offered examples of 80 percent food related supplies are
depended externally in Nepal. This can affect sovereignty
because of increasing external dependency including market
as dangerous for democracy and freedom. This phenomenon is
described as "Kam Padhyo garna chodyo, dherai padhyo
thalo chodyo ". Need to curb on commercialization and
marketisation of education and health. There is inherent danger
of converting basic need into industry. Another aspect is
outmigration of younger generation affecting development we
desperately need. It also requires civic education that relates
to state building.
- Identity is most critical and crucial issue. There is a
need of to address issues of identity and two bring all aspect
of it to the mainstream of the society. Those who have been
demanding identity based rights have not been able to protect
their rights. For example even election outcome have been
inflicted by nepotism practiced by political parties. We need
to incorporate our national diversity as part of our identity.
That is something has been made dysfunctional in name of identity
rights. Hence the challenge is to how to maintain the cultural
and historical identity on name of modernization. We must
learn from the history. In order to rectify negative aspect
of social change, tolerance is a must and education not only
for earning money but for "Jiban ra samajko laagi"
meaning for life and our own communities.
SUMMARY OF TALKING POINTS OF GUEST SPEAKERS
PRESENTER: HON. MR. KASHI R. DAHAL, CONSTITUTION EXPERT
& CHAIRPERSON, ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, GOVERNMENT OFNEPAL
- Built relationship of civic education and state building
in context of promulgation of constitution and April 24 Gorkha
Earthquake. Civic education requires responsibilities associated
with the rights linked to land. The respect to public property
requires understanding of ownership and implementation of
constitution by people themselves. Foundationally, key to
success is to protect what forefathers left for us not destroy
PRESENTER: MR. RAM P. GYAWALI, ASSISTANT LOCAL DEVELOPMENT
- All aspects of development require public awareness. It
needs use of individual right with sense of responsibilities.
- Communities' silence, waiting for government security agencies
to intervene is some of prime example of neglect and lack
- The criticism of government relief operation for example
cash distribution at doorsteps of the communities affected
requires deeper understanding before unnecessary media responses.
PRESENTER: MR. YAGNYA B. KHATRI, ASSISTANT CHIEF DISTRICT
- In the time of globalization civic education is even more
important. While we talk of equality we need to understand
- Civic education and sovereignty requires responsibilities
upheld by each individuals of the society or community.
- In context of development, need to understand and evaluate
where individual role connected in the society.
- We need identify those and who we should make aware of all
of the above realties and to know who is responsible for articulating
- If we ask what my or our responsibility then we definitely
will be a healthier individually and collectively.
SPEAKER: CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE OF HIGH COURT, OKHALDHUNGA
- Lack of support during growth to a child and subsequent
education is a life like an animal. The education is therefore
to be effective citizen not only to be educated.
SPEAKER: JUDGE OF DISTRICT COURT
- Civic education offers an opportunity for better policy
formulation and can address issues of future generation and
continuous improvement by the government.
- Demand for "Adhikar" or rights at local level
require higher level of responsibilities because it immediately
affects them first and easily visible. For the exercises of
rights social understanding is important. Therefore key to
all of the above is "Bibek"
SUMMARY OF 3 RESOURCE EXPERTS
PRESENTER: MS. AARATI CHATAUT, GENDER ANALYST & SENIOR
PROGRAM PRODUCER, NEPAL TELEVISION
GENDER AND YOUTH FOR STATE-BUILDING
- Women of Nepal contribute highest in the world to social
economic growth. Economic and financial role is directly attributed
to men hence the role of women has been unnoticed for many
years. This needs to be incorporated in civic education.
- Men are also responsible for women underdevelopment and
empowerment of women for women is important aspect for women
development intervention. Feministic approach will not solve
this discrepancy on women and men role in society.
- The change need to start not only at the institutional level
but fundamentally from household level.
- Power relationship also dictates the central role and importance
of women in development both economically and socially. Powerful
always exert power to the powerless.
- Women spend most of their time on reproductive and household
work than professional and personal growth.
PRESENTER: MR. NARESH RIMAL
SOCIAL INCLUSIVENESS FOR STATE-BUILDING IN NEPAL
- State building is like taking care of ourselves and our
community in a much wider and deeper level. How to make state
resilient, prosperous and characteristically distinct requires
- The term "inclusiveness" need to be locally contextualised
in order create ambience for worthwhile debates that is less
contradictory. Nepal is rich socio-culturally and geographically,
representing differences requires deeper understanding of
our national identity for the future in the era globalisation.
- Popular "inclusiveness" related rhetoric requires
contextualization and social approvals before blindly embedding
it in Nepal socio-eco-political realm resulting into non-compliance
and ineffective policy outcomes and in a broader context losing
grip on stability and social relationship that bind Nepali
- Inclusive democracy or inclusive society key concept driving
these arguments is also important whether country become inclusive
based on market materialistic or dialectic materialistic model.
- There will clearly are losers and gainers while we address
grievances - example is the present derailments in implementation
of the constitution itself.
- Identity based inclusive be construct appeals to development
workers and academicians but not to the real people who are
the pedestal of our identity socially, culturally, environmentally
etc. -food security concern health and human well-being capabilities.
- Sexuality, fear, hunger, and sleep are universal in nature
that it happens everywhere. But not many things are universal
they are place bound. Universalization of values loose "pahichan
and pratinidhittwa" meaning identity and representation.
- What is our realization of our identity, who determines
it and how do we do it and do we integrate in our firm affirmation
for robust functioning society. Political correctness will
not answer our problem, it merely is looking good to others,
being inclusive is about being good. Political correctness
is externally driven; being inclusive is internally driven.
Being "politically correct" generates conflict.
- Inclusiveness based on grounded understanding is never conflict
oriented with the local values because being inclusive is
a value. It is about refining and developing values of empathy
and concern for the other for example through practice of
Samata, Prem and Apanatwa, Bhaichara (equanimity, love, togetherness
and brother and sisterhood).
- "Samajik sampati" meaning social capital is "samuhik
sampati" meaning collective property and vulnerable for
a free ride "je garepani huncha". Tolerance and
acceptance of otherness is only way for communication through
mutual trust and respect a key to civic education that offers
value addition to the identity and stronger country.
PRESENTER: MR. PRAKASH GIRI, POLITICAL JOURNALIST, SAGARMATHA
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR RE-BUILDING IN NEPAL
- Foundational problem of lack of development which is degrading
moral conscious which is very important for democracy and
development to stay.
- We expect others to do our work, this being dependent on
others, example of and case of this is political instability.
We imagined fictions constitutional rights.
- Our government changes because of financial issues on who
gets how much from the national coffers.
- Nepal's fledgling democracy is mainly due to ideologically
fragmented, entrenched identity discourse, international intervention
and political ambition not the national ambition.
- Forced developed is not sustainable. Leader requires commitment,
honesty, vision, and development dictated by moral consciousness
not mass movements.
- Our value is based on the eastern philosophy; contrarily
we accept anything foreign too soon. Knowledge is on our society
- In a heavily agricultural countries, a after the earthquake
loss of agricultural products including seed too showing season
and livestock loss were not internalised.
- Instead of mobilizing security forces in reconstruction
and rehabilitation project, we are investing large number
of security personnel in the security of political leaders.
PRESENTER: MR. KASHI RAJ DAHAL, CONSTITUTION EXPERT &
CHAIRPERSON, ADMINISTRATIVE COURT, NEPAL
PRESENTATION AND DEBATE ON CONSTITUTION OF NEPAL 2015
- Some of the key issues at present in Nepali context are
right embedded in the constitution and whether country can
actually implement it. Prior to demanding rights we need to
know role citizens need to play and while it's already embedded
in our cultural practice we need resurrect that for nation
building. The fiscalisation of decision making needs to be
multidisciplinary. National identity comes from language and
tradition. Responsibility and accountability comes from our
moral decision making process. Education does not come from
degrees but from our ability to transform ourselves and healthy
competition, respect of elders and children and women. All
of these need positive attitude for good change.
- The economy of the country should be strong. Independent
economy helps implementation. The economy should be driven
by ethical business practices, culturally grounded and driven
by moral obligation. Natural resources conservation starting
from land to forest conservation are key context when we know
there are threat of climate change. In context of economic
development we need identify best alternative resources
- Technology should be used as a vehicle for development and
appropriate technology can only be the good agent of change.
- United among ourselves with honest leadership, we can learn
from examples within and universal example like one of Nelsen
- Leadership requires deeper national vision drawn from the
inner feeling of responsibility, not from rhetoric but from
simplicity and singleness of purpose.
- All action requires openness and transparency. If we change
our mindset physical change will automatically follow. We
need to set the examples by ourselves and among ourselves.
- The present concern of our constitution is on its wider
acceptance and challenges inherent in the implementation because
of unending debate on inclusiveness.
- Politics driven by petty interest and ideological stiffness
will not answer the need of the society at large.
- For effective constitutional development and practices require
peace, governance and solidarity.
SUMMARY OF QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE PARTICIPANTS
QUESTION 1: MR. MILAN KHATRI
What kind of role can youth play in order to enhance the role
men and women play for future development?
QUESTION 2: MR. BIKAS KARKI
How have you addresses women issues practicably?
QUESTION 3: MR. NARESH KATWAL
Civic education is key to modern nation/state building. Appropriate
use of public property is key to development. We should have
this kind of program to school children hence such program can
QUESTION 4: MS. SITA D. BISWOKARMA
How can we address issues of identity and rights? We need to
stress on the knowledge imparted by mother for children to be
successful. We have not taught fathers and mothers about rights
and responsibilities. We need to interlink women contribution
in other social factors like health care and education.
QUESTION 5: MR. HARKA BAHADUR
What is the effective intervention for crime by women? How
to handle abuse of remittance money by wife? How to handle increasing
divorce because of absence of men who are serving in overseas
countries? We need to link other issues relevant to women such
as healthcare and education and many other.
QUESTION 6: MR. MILAN RAI
The present constitution is backward in context of secular
state. It only incorporated views by 4 syndicate parties (parties
QUESTION 7: ANJU THAPA
Even when elders go to government offices for some services,
it's elders who need to.bow down to the officers, shouldn't
it be otherwise around? There are lots of things difficult to
achieve but not impossible.
QUESTION 8: PENGWANG SHERPA
By 2058 there was a law already in place for daughters' rights
to the parental property. But when I went to Malpot Office (Local
office for land deeds) they indicated there are no such laws
in place. There are cases against women rights to parental properties.
And what about the grand-mothering legal suits in the court.
QUESTION 9: MR. YUBARAJ DAHAL
Commodification of gender relationship will not answer the
problems we have in our country. What we need is household level
socialization of issues relevant to our society and culture.
Gender mainstreaming can bring dangerous outcome in the society.
Inequality issues can be best understood by knowing socialization
process and home teaching. Inclusiveness has only benefitted
elite Dalit and women not the needy ones.
QUESTION 10: SURYA B. SHRESTHA
Such program should be run by the government. Where are the
political leaders when they need to hear this discussion, now
they have already left the venue? While most of our young generation
has out migrated in search of employment and maintain livelihood
at home, when they are needed the most for building the nation.
How can politicians talk about inclusiveness as prime concern
in our constitution while they are not concerned for millions
of youth leaving the country where is inclusiveness here? Literally
hundreds of political parties can't address national interest.
They have their own ideologies, personal and private interest.
This is much polluted practice. Do we general public always
need to be political lackey even when we simply do not want
to run after them and their slogans.
QUESTION 11: LOCAL POLITICAL LEADER (NAME MISSING)
How inclusiveness is linked agriculture? Isn't agriculture
just the economic part? National identity issue has superseded
and undermined the ethnic identity. The linking tolerant behavior
is not the answer to inclusiveness.
The self transformation is the key to civic education and
the changes within the system and internally managed is the
key to state building through civic education and sustainable
development. Anything that is bigger than the universe is the
discontent and lust for things that you do not actually need
for happiness. Need for reflection on our desire for "development"
is basis to solving problems. It requires tolerance, principal
component of civic education. Only healthy societies build healthy
country. In order for it to function "Bidhi ra Bibek ko
sasan" meaning rule of law based on moral consciousness
is central to our understanding. By understanding "Itihas"
or cultural meaning and social history of civilization can lead
to meaningful success. Inclusiveness based on grounded understanding
is never conflict oriented with the local values because being
inclusive is a value. It is about refining and developing values
of empathy and concern for the other for example through practice
of Samata, Prem and Apanatwa, Bhaichara (equanimity, love, togetherness
and brother and sisterhood).