Flawed education system: Purpose of education in question

Kathmandu, January 20:

The tug of war between two colleges — the Kantipur City College (KCC) and the College of Mass Communication and Journalism (CMCJ) — came to light during the first week of January. This was following the incident when CMCJ students padlocked and vandalised the Purvanchal University (PU)’s contact office in Baneshwor boycotting the board exams of the second semester of the Master of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism (MAMCJ). CMCJ students went on a rampage after PU, to which both the colleges are affiliated, fixed its exam centre at KCC.

There are several claims by CMCJ students who want to prove that their move was right. On the other hand, KCC students, who were lucky to have their own college as the centre for the examinations, said that the agitating examinees went on the rampage as the exams would be tightly supervised and they would get the short end of the stick.

CMCJ students, who demanded that the exam centres be set up at a different place at the last hour, won the battle and forced PU to choose the CMCJ building as the alternative exam centre. Purvanchal University, which recognises only these two colleges to run the Master’s level course in mass communications and journalism, announced the postponement of the Mass Media Industry and Society exam which was attended only by the KCC students on January 6.

CMCJ students are scheduled to appear for the same examination on January 30. Purvanchal University also postponed the January 9 exam on News Product Marketing to January 27.

As Purvanchal University allowed the CMCJ examinees to appear for the exams in their own college, they appeared for exams for other four subjects, too.

PU officials said the university had no intention of facilitating KCC students in the exams. “KCC was chosen as the centre as it is well-equipped and has good

infrastructure,” Examination Controller of PU Shushil Kumar Jha said. Jha also condemned CMCJ for vandalism at the PU office and that PU would investigate the incident.

The agitating students alleged that the claims of the PU official were baseless. The CMCJ examinees, who refused to disclose their names, accused KCC of creating a monopoly in the PU exam board.

“The superintendent, invigilators and other exam officials were chosen from KCC. How can we expect the exams to be fair?” they asked. They also blamed PU of partiality. KCC students claimed they were victimised due to the protest by the CMCJ students, which deferred the January 9 exam for News Product Marketing. Since the inception of both the colleges, they are accused of being involved in a dirty game to lure students to their Mass Communications and Journalism faculties. A source at KCC said the college was planning to write to PU asking it to take stern action against CMCJ.

The acerbic politics of the master’s level examinees not only reflect on the unhealthy competition between two colleges, it also raises serious questions over Nepal’s education system.

The majority of education analysts and experts believe that education in Nepal is only focused on better examination results. School level education is also

aimed at better results as private schools boast of their SLC pass rates. They make sure that children pass the exams; otherwise, their parents would not be willing to pay their fees. However, this raises the question of whether passing exams is the sole end of education in Nepal.

Education expert Dr Tirtha Khaniya said the dispute over the examination centres was a minor one. He flayed the politicisation of the education system. According to Khaniya, politics dominates education and the examination systems. Students boycotted exams over a dispute on the exam centre; the day is near when the students themselves will fix the marks they want, Khaniya added. Not only in PU, the Tribhuwan University is also hard hit by politicisation and corruption, he said.

The question is: Why did the students, most of them professional media persons, turn to such activities to fuel the conflict between the college owners?

When we discuss objectives of Nepal’s higher secondary education, they appear attractive in words. To impart higher education to people as per the need of the country; to preserve and develop the historical and cultural heritage of the nation; to promote social and economic justice; to alleviate poverty; to produce manpower competent enough in the global context; to accumulate, advance and disseminate knowledge; to encourage and promote research in the fields of arts, science, commerce as well as vocational education; and help the university students build their character through the medium of higher education are the main objectives. In this connection, how can the system ensure that the objectives will be achieved when the students themselves are involved in such conflicts?

Dr Khaniya said there was an urgent need to end politicisation and corruption to curb flaws in the Nepali education system.