A Debate of Discipline in Schools

Nepal has a long history of Hindu Vedic education system and the medium of Vedic education was Sanskrit. Buddhist teachings were provided in the monasteries in ancient time. But, the English education system was initiated only after the establishment of Durbar High School in 1854 AD. Moreover, the higher education system was started in Nepal after the establishment of Tri- Chandra College in 1918 AD. However, Government of Nepal report, 2020 tells that the literacy rate of rate of Nepal was 2 percent; there were 321 primary schools, followed by 11 secondary schools and 1 college in 1950. In other words, the family dictatorship of the Rana’s throughout their 104 years regime was not in a position to provide access to the people in education. The modern education system was accessible to the people only after the end of Rana regime in 1950. That’s why it could be said that the history of modern education is not long in Nepal.

After the end of Rana rule in 1950, Nepal was exposed to international community. There was awareness among the people and educational institutions were established in different parts of the country. From the government side, different high level committees were formed to initiate reforms in education sector in different period of times such as: in 1954, 1961, 1971, 1980, 1992, and 1999 respectively. The plans made by the high level committees brought significant changes to shape the education system and teaching learning activities. Although, the quantity of the schools, colleges were increased but there was no significant changes in pedagogy. The teachers’ centred pedagogy prevailed over the long period of time and the students seem to be good followers and were in strict discipline. One of the important characteristics of the students in the past was to be obedient and loyal to the teachers.

After the mass movement of 1990 which transformed the absolute monarchy in to constitutional monarchy, there was an important change in education sector. The then formed democratic government of Nepal adopted a policy of privatisation which resulted avenues to open private schools (now called institutional schools) throughout the country and English became the medium of instructions in those schools. Still teachers are the instructors and source of knowledge in the schools of Nepal and they are doing their duties with the resources whatever they have although still the instruction approach is traditional in almost all of the schools. The students’ performance, exposure to extra knowledge, and creativity are more pronounced in the institutional schools and there is meaningful participation of students’ in learning. However, some community schools students’ performance is also good as the institutional schools but number of such schools is very limited.

In the community and institutional schools, the value and thoughts towards discipline and respect towards teacher is similar because the students in both the school go from the same society. Culturally, Nepali society value teachers as similar to father and mother and they are highly respected. But due to the large political changes and even after the second mass movement 2006 and eradication of monarchy in 2008 people are more critical towards the traditional values. The consumerist and capitalist views prevail over the traditional thoughts and people seem to be more opportunist and materialist. Similarly, the coverage of internet and mobile phones has reached to larger population. It has impacted the new generation and the children have different attitudes and behaviours than the adults in comparison to last decades. Moreover, their interest has also changed and diverted from the traditional pedagogy and the textbooks. These types of changes have become a challenge to the teachers as well as parents.

Finally, discipline is an essential virtue for learning and it is equally important for human beings to be social and achieve success in life. However, all may not agree on it and some argue that discipline is a restriction which prohibits ones’ internal talent to come out. Similarly, others may argue that it a thrust imposed by the elders and powerful ones to control the weaker and it is a complex term to define. On the other hand, Nepali society still believes that discipline is an important part of life and it very important for the students. It is an ongoing debate and could also be argued that the Nepali education system was influenced by traditional value where the learners’ value teachers as god and therefore, people still regard discipline an essential component in learning. To sum up, one should follow code of conduct, respect the rules, follow the instructors and listen to others to learn new things. These rules and norms set by institutions may be regarded as respect or discipline which ultimately benefits the learners. Getting education is a right of children. It is a responsibility of parents and teachers to guide them towards right path. However, it is not wise to punish and subject them to any forms of torture and discrimination in the name of discipline.

Ghanashyam Niroula
Social Studies Teacher
MA and MSc

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