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Play Small, But Smart.

Play Small, But Smart

Sunjanya Acharya

Winner of the NESAJ Essay competition 2008 in English Language category

For the first time, in Nepali politics the King has no role. However, it is confronting socio-economic problems as usual. Though they are part of the cause, Nepali people just blame their government for present turmoil. Yet, it is a time to resolve problems that seems insurmountable. The task asks for the people’s hand - not least those living abroad. Due to an erroneous assumption that individuals living abroad cannot lend a helping hand, people stop and stare helplessly at on-going problems. At one angle of vision, living abroad could be an unanticipated advantage.

Though critics claim Nepal to be immature for democracy, it is already advancing a path no human feet had walked. Yet, the country is full of social and economic problems. Thus, it would require practical and praiseworthy resolutions; no more solutions vague as a dream.

Historically, we try to solve certain problem through revolution. And that is wrong. Revolution may solve big problems, but creates many small ones. During the French Revolution, main goal of abolition of monarchy succeeded. But many new small problems, such a reign of terror began to emerge. And should there be revolution every time to solve those small problems? On the other hand, more peaceful and plausible measures are available. By not solving the whole issue, in a radical manner, we should concentrate more on what seems peripheral. As a result, through evolutionary process, the whole turmoil would be fully fixed. It is better to have perfectly normal condition over long time, rather than half-normal instantly.

New government had decided to leave behind more than two centuries old tradition. Now in its fresh stage, the government is working to lay a solid foundation of the state. History has taught us that the process itself would ask for large-scale public support.

Japanese, for example, simply ate out of government’s hand for decades after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Though, they established a democratic institution, people - for the most part - did not question any official decisions. In the back of every citizen’s mind, there was a huge hope. Infidelity of the populace later led to the rapid development.

The status quo of Nepal would not even provide for laying the foundation, let alone develop a nation. In order to succeed in democracy, there must be a condition that allows it. Democracy succeeded in Japan and other east Asian Nation, after they had a sufficient condition. Similarly, only remedy the Nepal has left is to make such an environment in which the democracy succeeds. Firstly, our poor education quality must be improved. Secondly, Nepali economy must be strengthened. The government may be new, but the problems are the same ones.

Today, significant number of Nepali citizens are studying or living abroad. They do not need to think of revolutionary ideas to cast a good image on Nepal. Their small contribution would help the nation to a great extent. It is from their benevolence that the country progresses.

Nepali government is not in the least paying attention to the quality of education. Moreover, it simply treats education as an industry along tourism, textile, etc. And due to its “laissez-faire” nature, quality of education is at its worst. More and more private schools are opening up, like factories in the industrial revolution. Thus, these institutions, without a glimpse of professional-ism, produce the future foundation of Nepal.

Japanese, before enacting some social and economic reforms, enacted educational reform. They believed that education of the children was the future of Japan and a solution to every socio-economic problem. Thus, the government had spent most of its energy educating people across Japan after the Meiji Revolution in 1868. Though the government was in red due to several reasons - including the education reform - it paid off real well after decades.

Living and studying abroad give us a wide spectrum of what “good” education is all about. Many members of OECD nations have NGOs experienced in educational provisions: financial backups and educational training. Fortunately, people living in such countries have better access to those foundations than people from Nepal. On the other side, Nepali parents sending their child to, say, a Japanese school could compare the education they got in Nepal, and the education their child is getting. They could form their own idea on how to improve quality of schooling in Nepal.

There are currently many individuals or organizations working on similar issue in Nepal. However, the scale is very small. It is helping some schools, but not the system. To solve at a bigger picture, one must play this at a national level. With organizations like NESAJ, or other prominent Nepali organization - which has some political influence in Nepal - cooperating, it would be possible to do so. Thus, it would bring changes at an unprecedented level.

Firstly, the notion of “good teacher leads to better education” should be enforced. Currently, in Nepal those who fail to become an engineer or doctors become a teacher. Schools cannot attract the best quality for teaching. The solution is simple: give teachers a raise in salary. The government could heavily subsidies schools that hire the best minds with an eye for improvement. Still, the best minds cannot necessarily be apt to teach, say, the fifth grade. Fifth grade students learn an elementary physics; but how could you ask them to understand the college level explanation that their teacher gives? A revolution would not change this. Teachers must make a progress over time, eradicating all the problems in their approach. To make this happen, on top of recruiting best minds, the government must license the teachers who pass the educational training. Here comes the important role for people living abroad: supply information. It is because, we - the people living abroad - do have a picture of what the good

education system is like. Moreover, University students might have some access to certain committee that promotes the educational development in the third world regions. Many alternatives are available to promote the educational improvements in Nepal through the cooperation of us.

Instability in the nation for past decade might have hurt the economy; however, it certainly needs to improve. Nepalese living abroad have done a great deal to boost Nepali economy. They may not realize, but sending hard currencies to Nepal has been a big help. It has become one of the major sources of income.

On the other hand, another major source of income for Nepal is tourism. However, due to a civil war, never has been the image of Nepal in foreign countries so low. If this trend continues, then our only hope will be in the red. Similar effect was on Thailand after the tsunami strike in 2004. What ensued was the decrease in visitors to places like Phuket. However, through collaboration of Thais world wide, visitors are increasing today. Why the same thing not possible with Nepalese? The fact is, there were no casualties in the civil war. Thus, it is not hard to gain back our image as a friendly nation. With collaboration with Embassies around the world, foreigners would be swayed to visit Nepal.

For next several years, our economy would and should rely on tourism, and the money sent in from abroad. As time passes by, our economy would be much healthier. And point in time would come, when the government needs to intervene in the economy. It is when Nepal would take an important step in economic growth: investing in new industries, massive development of infrastructures, etc. When this time comes, our inexperienced government may have hard time. We should supply our government with information. Living abroad would give us knowledge that is not in textbook.

Through out the history of every nation, knowledge from abroad had played an integral part in its development. And sometimes that was very costly. Japanese, for example, had to send scholars abroad to learn about something their nation was planning to do. They bought many technologies from foreign nations. They had a very hard time accessing the information. Japanese spent millions to gain information. When Taiwan and Korea was about to take a first step on their development, they also had to send their students to Japan to study. Nepal has a different case. Nepal already has thousands of scholars pursuing higher studies in variety of fields. If the Nepali government wants knew knowledge, they do not have to send students abroad. Instead, they could make a best use of them. People do not have to go back to Nepal to help. As repeatedly said, small help would have exponential result.

What Nepal now needs is not the multi-million dollar World Bank project. We do not need huge foreign bulldozer building a road for us. We, the people living abroad do not have to have massive collaboration with the government to solve all the social turmoil. We just have to make small reforms happen, which could lead Nepal toward a promising future. In spite of living in foreign land, Nepalese live with a patriotic fervor of devotion. Now, the time is to prove that fidelity

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NESAJ (Nepalese Students Association in Japan) is an organization of Nepalese students, academia and intellectuals from all across Japan --from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. It was established in the year 1997 with the aim of bringing Nepalese students and Nepalese graduates of Japanese universities living…

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Ever since we were founded in 1997, Nepalese Students Association in Japan (NESAJ ) has been briging Nepalese students and Nepalese graduates of Japanese universities living in Japan to a close contact and has been promote their academic, professional and other mutual interests through a wider, regular and frequent…

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