Students pause before taking the next plunge

2014-04-05

Nikita Tripathi

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Since a couple of years, we’ve witnessed gradual changes around us. Back in the days, everything was sorted out, it seems. There was a pattern laid out before us and all we had to do was follow. And then a few found the pattern redundant and decided to play around it but still not smear it.

Back in the days, students knew what they would study after S.L.C/Plus 2 and went ahead with it. Now we’ve been facilitated with so many options that youth today are unsure about what to choose with so many options ahead. 

They are comfortable with the idea of taking risks and trying things rather than being settlers for the sake of it. The idea of education has a greater scope now than ever. Many say it’s better to be confused right now than later, when you don’t see it coming.

The trend of taking a year or two off after high school is widely practiced. Some go into volunteering and community services, a few do internships to get the idea of a working environment, and many just want to clear their heads and relax. 

Such trends have boosted the local tourism, with students hiking and trekking to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), Langtang and other viable places. Students today don’t want to be spoon-fed but independent, free and prepared.

Gopal Trital, 25, completed his Intermediate in Science (I. Sc.) from Mahendra Morang Adarsha Multiple Campus in 2004, topped the college but was hesitant about appearing for entrance exams in Kathmandu.

“I wanted to study engineering in Kathmandu but our curriculum was rushed through, with just exams in mind. I didn’t have the kind of extensive knowledge that I thought were required” he says.

Having worked as a system administrator at the local cyber café while doing his I. Sc, Gopal went on to work for a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company for a year. Then he worked for Standard Chartered Bank as an office assistant for two years in Biratnagar.

He adds “I joined Mahendra Morang Campus for BBS but didn’t like the teaching methodology and decided to discontinue.”

After that, he worked with United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) as an Emergency Communications Assistant from March 2008 to December 2011 in Biratnagar and then continued working from Bharatpur until August 2012.

“I’m glad that I worked all these years and gathered experience. The only thing I regret about is that I should’ve studied side by side,” he said when asked if he thinks whether he has utilized or wasted the years.

Similarly, Kritika Lamsal, 18, says, “I knew a little about how to deal with autistic kids because of my brother and I wanted to learn more, help other kids as well,” she says. She adds she wanted to volunteer right after S.L.C but didn’t really have an idea about how to go about it.

After Plus 2, she found both time and opportunity to work for Autism Care Nepal at Gairidhara which singlehandedly works for autistic children. She then went on to volunteer for a Canadian students’ project – Chakraby – where she helped out the team for workshops and artivism.

Saurav Bastola, 21, completed his Plus 2 in Management from Prasadi Academy in 2010 after which he went on to teaching value education, Computer Science and Social Studies to Grade 8 students for six months. 

After that, he interned at Jayanti Memorial Trust as Marketing and Research Officer. He studied at Kathmandu College of Management (KCM) for a semester and then went to Australia. 

He enrolled himself at the University of South Australia for a Diploma in Arts and majoring in Psychological Science. Still unsure about what he really wanted to do, Saurav came back to Nepal and is currently studying at Kathmandu University (K.U).

“I think education and academic studies aren’t the same. One need not necessarily get education from institutions, or on a regular basis,” he says. “It’s connected with the fact that we’ve been pressurized by those around us all these years and we have this youthful zeal for freedom and independence.”

Nineteen years old Paras Upadhyaya says he hated his Plus 2. “Science messed me up and I decided to take a year or more off. I tried learning Spanish, couldn’t, so when I saw this advertisement in a newspaper asking for interested ones to go volunteer in rural Nepal, I signed up,” he says.

For the next six months, Paras volunteered for Restless Development’s Community and Youth Empowerment Program in Dadeldhura, teaching sexual and reproductive health and life skills in local schools, establishing youth clubs, working with the already established ones and training Mahila Samuhas.

“I wanted something different. I grew up, lived by myself, so there are no regrets. I’m happy that I did it,” he adds. Paras also says that he’s still confused and trying to figure things out.

These trends are evidently taking a toll in Nepal. Students want to delve into areas other than school and their home life. It looks that there’s so much enthusiasm among students today and they are trying to make something out of it.

“Education is like a race here. You run for years and suddenly you’re stagnant,” Gopal says. “There are other ways of learning, too, outside of schools, and the process doesn’t end with the completion of a course or getting a degree.”

(Source: Republica National Daily)