TOPICS: Knowledge in college?

A mobile phone rings in the middle of the class, diverting everybody’s attention to the ubiquitous phone tucked somewhere in one of the denims. The student receives the call, gossips sweet nothing for a while … and then hangs up. Strangely, there isn’t even a tinge of awkwardness on her face for having shamelessly inconvenienced her class fellows and the teacher.

Seated on the desk, some students listen to i-pods without any hesitation even while the teacher toils hard to get the lesson across into the many heads. Right next to them, a bunch of others are so involved in a mini-debate or gossip exchange that they hardly realize where they are.

In new Nepal’s old colleges, scenes like these are common. Be it a government or private college, anarchy, carelessness, disobedience, defiance and even rebellion are some of the rules of the game. The books and uniform and extracurricular activities matter at times. But sleek mobile phones and other gadgets and gizmos matter much more to the “modern” students.

Gandhi said long time ago, “No knowledge without college.” Indisputably, college is an institution to pursue higher studies and, thereby, facilitate youths’ all around development. But considering what’s happening in our campuses, few seem to be gaining knowledge to ensure an enlightened career or lifestyle.

In campus, everybody has his/her individual interests, goals or motives. A majority of them believe in showing off their pricey gizmos. Some show up to make friends, laugh out loud in the canteen and have fun. While others love to pull their teachers’ legs or rag juniors. Only a handful of students attend their classes on a regular basis, complete their assignments and follow the college rules.

Most of them, it seems, believe in the saying that “rules are meant to be broken”. Often, antisocial and deviant behaviours like smoking cigarettes, taking drugs and teasing others are considered “pretty cool” by members of such “modern” clubs.

College is an educational institution. Anti-social behaviours and deviation will cost them dearly. In due course, it will cost the nation dearly. The wait continues for the students to maintain a proper decorum in college, and slap punishment for the violation of the rules. One can still hope.