Every day is turning bleaker for thousands of aspirers in the nation. The ‘indefinite strike’ in the educational sector has been hitting hard all of us indiscriminately. Every evening people’s anxious ears are on the radio and television news. Every morning their eyes are on the newspapers expecting to find good news about the end of ongoing ‘indefinite strike.’ It fact it is terrible to face such a long closure.
Nobody denies that education is light. It is civilization. It is the first and foremost requirement to develop an entire nation. Nepali students, sadly, are deprived of getting such an invaluable treasure these days. It feels like we are breathing in pitch darkness and unknowingly moving to barbarism.
There are volumes of books which mention child rights and human rights. People advocate incessantly that every child has a right to go to school and get educated. Currently, this right has been snatched away from all Nepali children, which sounds disgusting. The colourful dreams of students have been shattered. Their high hopes have been punched down. Neither are they seen playing happily like a child on holiday nor can they smile innocently.
It is not good on the part of the government to ignore such a sensitive issue and to delay in making strong decisions to create a favourable environment to reopen educational institutions. Even though the civic society has taken an initiative to talk with the organizers of this strike, the existing problem cannot be solved unless the government itself comes forward with a sensible solution. The civic committee can only play the role of a mediator or a facilitator.
It is obvious that the educational, financial and mental loss created by the indefinite strike is irreparable. Parents have invested a large amount of income in their children’s education. Whether they go to school or not parents have to pay the full fees. This reality gives them a headache. They are not sure when their children go back to school again. Furthermore, the working parents are facing a big problem of baby-sitting, as it is not a matter of a single day. Because of uncertainty parents are suffering and getting impatient and frustrated on every passing day.
If this chaotic situation continues for a long time it is certain that many financially capable students will be compelled to flee to other countries for their further studies. On the other hand, the financially vulnerable children have to suffer the blows of such closures throughout their life.
Schools have just begun a new session. In some schools even the first lesson has not been completed. Suddenly everything has turned upside down. Presently a great concern for all schools is how to implement the activities mentioned in the academic calendar smoothly.
Since this strike is indefinite, it is difficult to plan anything special. As a result, every day is being wasted in vain. Children are getting bored staying idle at home, and troubling their parents. Teachers are either spending their time sleeping or playing cards or just roaming around aimlessly. To compensate for the present loss of time they have to sacrifice Saturdays and holidays later. Such unnecessary pain may create mental disturbances among students and teachers as well.
These strikes are not only hampering our national development but also spoiling our image in the international arena. As one of the poorest countries in the world we desperately need accord education first priority. There is also a danger that the donor countries may turn their back towards Nepal if the education sector victimized and ignored in this way.
It is natural that sometimes misunderstandings might surface but it is not wise to choose a strike as an ultimate solution each and every time. It is not fair to play foul games over the future of innocent students to fulfill some vested political interests.
(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, June 18, 2004)