Post SLC-The right choice and a brighter future

Students are likely to become victims when parents follow the crowd in order to maintain their social standing. Instead of giving priority to the choices of their children and the true status of the academic institution, parents usually want to admit their children where the masses go.

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ROSHAN SEDHAI
Safal Bhetwal passed his SLC from Shuvatara School and is now busy visiting schools for his Plus Twos. For Bhetwal and his parents, choosing the right college is the biggest challenge.  

With the exponential growth in the number of schools offering Plus Two classes, Bhetwal is anxious to avoid making a bad decision. This is more or less the same challenge that each of the 176,253 students who passed the SLC this year are facing.

Education experts said that a majority of students end up making the wrong choice due to various factors, including peer pressure, unregulated and biased advertisements of colleges and the over-confidence of parents.“The biggest problem is that we do not have the culture of impartial counseling. Some college provides counseling by placing their own interests at the centre,” said Basudev Kafle, an education expert. “Students themselves must chase their academic pursuits. Parents should filter the information gathered by their children to ensure that their choice is right.”

Experts emphasised the need for proper provisions in existing guidelines, which bar academic institutions from exaggerating their actual capacity and resources. There is also an immediate need for a governmental counseling centre and to enhance the monitoring mechanism, they said.

The transition from secondary to higher secondary schooling is the most important point in the life of any student as it is the time when the young enter adulthood and the world of independence.  What is crucial about this phase is that it is a time when students are deciding who they are, what they do well and what they will do when they graduate. During these years, students acquire most of the required skills, knowledge and power for their overall development. It is also a time when they discover their defects and weakness and work to overcome it.  For all this, it is important that they make the right choice.

However, according to experts, this is not the case in Nepali society.Sociologists said that various factors have marred Nepali academia with unprecedented anomalies in the past few years, making it even harder for students to make the right choice.

“Students are compelled to sell themselves for monetary gain. Colleges wrestle to bring in toppers to add to their brand value and use it to lure other students,” said Raju KC, a sociologist who teaches at Padmakanya Campus.

According to KC, students are likely to become victims when parents follow the crowd in order to maintain their social standing. Instead of giving priority to the choices of their children and the true status of the academic institution, parents usually want to admit their children where the masses go.

“Most parents like to send their children to colleges where their neighbours are sending their kids. Many want their children to pick subjects that others are taking up. Such blind choices ruin the lives of children,” said KC. He emphasised that this competition works as a push factor for many parents to send thousands of students to India and other countries for higher education, ignoring their desires or if they are mature enough to be able to assimilate into the new environment.

Young students are also under the great influence of their friends, school teachers, books, parents, the virtual world of the internet, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and other correct values and behaviors.  They are ever in search of valuable suggestions, feedback and support: they want something they can identify with.

SP Singh, CEO of Pentagon College, said that academic institutions are doing their best to meet the expectation of students. He said that academic institutions have started to give special attention to the expectations of students by focusing on areas of their interest like extracurricular activities and other fields to keep students engaged.

Singh claimed that there has been a change in the culture of counseling as students and parents are becoming increasingly aware of its importance.   “We have given extra attention to changing the overall trend of counseling. We provide counseling to both students and parents in order to ascertain whether they are making right choice,” said Singh.

What they learn, what kind of support and guidance they receive, how they are treated and the like are fundamentals towards choosing the correct path, values and behavior.  A slight problem in orientation or increasing academic, financial, social and household pressure can push students to an increased risk of falling into the realms of drugs and alcoholism.“When parents force their children to take something that they do not want, there is greater possibility that they will take the wrong path. The government and parents need to start a proper counseling culture,” said KC.

Experts stressed that government should step in to control existing anomalies and to pressure colleges to live up to their promises.“Various issues including socio-economic factors should be regulated in order to promote the right environment. The government should be careful in formulating new provisions in order to tackle rising challenges,” said Kafle.

Experts said that a majority of colleges do not abide by their promises in the long run when it comes to meeting minimum requirements. They say that many are cheating students and parents by depriving them of adequate resources, extracurricular activities, scholarships and qualitative and quantitative education.

Many schools are violating the guidelines prescribed by the government by not giving students the scholarships they are entitled to. Such practices have increased the gap between the poor and rich: making poor students unable to study in the schools of the rich.

In order to accomplish their goal of becoming the next generation of parents, workers, leaders and citizens, every student needs support, guidance and opportunity at the right age. Students pursuing higher education face varied challenges, both personally and developmentally, that impact their academic achievements.

Experts pointed out the need for extensive research and an assessment of past laws in order to foster a positive academic culture by sorting out existing challenges ities. They said that its time for every stakeholder to review where we have actually failed in assuring bright future for our children.

source: SEDHAI,ROSHAN (2013),"The right choice and a brighter future", The Kathmandu Post,16 June 2013
photo courtesy: The Kathmandu post

2013-06-16 | EducateNepal

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