TRUE learning induces in the mind service of mankind. The parents of a child are but his enemies when they fail to educate him properly in his boyhood. An illiterate boy, like a heron among swans, cannot shine in the assembly of the learned. Learning imparts a heightened charm to a homely face. Knowledge is the best treasure that a man can secretly hoard in his life.
Learning is the revered of the revered. Knowledge makes a man honest, virtuous and endearing to society. Learning alone enables man to better his relations with friends and relatives. A good all-round education, appreciation of the arts, a highly trained discipline and pleasant speech: this is the highest blessing. The well-meaning people who talk about education as if it were a substance distributable by coupon in large or small quantities never exhibit any understanding of the truth that you cannot teach anybody anything that he does not want to learn.
Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the great Malayali scholar, described education as knowledge poured from one heart to the other. Our society has always valued the importance of knowledge, learning and scholarship. The ancient Indian system of gurukul tradition is one that illustrates the traditional approach of holistic education, where it moves beyond the confines of imparting knowledge and becomes a process that leads to enlightenment.
Education rouses the mind from the slumber of ignorance, and it is only when provided with the nourishment of education that the mind of a person is truly awake.
The metamorphosis through education plays a crucial role in our life as it awakens the minds of people and turns them into thinking beings. The irresistible power of human thought is what shapes not only our consciousness but also our perception of the world around us. It is only a thinking population that can truly participate and therein transform the society we live in. Hence education, with its power of awakening the minds of thirty million people, can play a critical role in determining the destiny of the country.
The social context, within which education as a tool of empowerment functions, is also equally important as it helps in understanding the dynamics of its impact on the process of nation-building. In a democratic and secular country that revels in its diversity, it is essential that education uphold and impart these values to successive generations to strengthen and protect such traditions.
Education is the path to knowledge and knowledge is the path to truth. No education can be truly enlightening if it fails to instill in people a respect for the truth and purity or purpose and with it the nobleness of humanism.
The issue of providing education to every child in this country is an onerous task. Poverty remains the biggest hurdle in the path towards universal education. The drive towards educating the nation must focus on the poor and remote areas and be sensitive to local problems that come in the way of families sending their children to school.
The high rate in school dropouts in economically backward communities and regions is directly linked to economic compulsions where girls and boys have to often work to earn a living for their families. Even though laws are in place to deal with the evil of child labour, it is still present. Only through increased awareness and sensitivity can we succeed in ensuring that every child is taken away from the grip of exploitation and delivered to the doorsteps of a school. It is also important that the education imparted is relevant to their needs.
Education, particularly the imparting of life skills to students, cannot be one-dimensional. Every student must be exposed to all fields of knowledge so that he or she can choose and participate in different sectors. We need to pay special attention to vocational skills needed to modernise the economy. Vocational education needs to be revamped in a manner that encourages the youth to develop entrepreneurship and self-employment skills.
We also need to expand opportunities in higher education. We must impart quality education and make our institutions revered. Only collaboration with universities abroad can make it possible.
Time up to go ahead to realise the dream and vision of universal education. It is a process in which everybody should participate and recognise their individual capacity. Education is the tool to building a vibrant new Nepal.