Coordination, Innovation, Celebration

Is this the time for sexuality education in schools?

                                     -Rupendra Pokharel

Time has come. Now let’s open up.
The complexity of changing scenario has entangled us so profoundly that the knots further form another spider web as we try to undo them for getting freed. Thinking patterns have changed; truth and realities are not the same as they were just a decade ago, in fact their absolute nature has become obsolete. And us! We are hanging ourselves by the same old-worn rope which is now no longer equally strong to bear the load if we try to make our progeny hold the same and keep hanging. I am afraid, the fall is irresistible and the crash may be intolerable to our naked eyes and bare ears. Our pretence of being blind and deaf will suddenly get exposed to such a tragic sight and sound that our infinite endeavors to accustom ourselves with them will turn out to be futile and as stunned spectators, we will start looking for the corners to keep us away from them.
                Well, enough with beating the bush; let me hit the target. Taboo. Our societies are full of taboos. Sex taboo. Fertility taboo. Marriage taboo. What more and what not? Even education can be found to stand as taboo if we make a journey just a few miles away from our capital city, let alone the remote rural areas of our beautiful nation! Then, sex as a taboo does not surprise, at least, me. However, now it has started to make its way out of the cocoon and trying to fly as a matured colorful butterfly. Nature. We must realize that being nature itself an irresistible force, our irrelevant nurture cannot resist it. Then, what’s wrong in setting our sails with the tide if it is not supposed to deviating us from our path. Instead, we can save the energy on the paddle to be used in case of emergency.
                Getting into the prevalent practice. Our children are the ‘open’ members of ‘closed’ society as a result of which every covered thing is their target. In the course of uncovering them, they have become vulnerable and wounded themselves so acutely that manyatimes such wounds have appeared to be fatal evidence if not perpetually bleeding. You may question, “Who empowered them to go on uncovering things that I had kept covered for so long expecting them to rust some day?”I have the answer. I empowered my daughter. I empowered my son. I made them inquisitive. I made them curious. I exposed them to these all in covert way, indirect way, informal way and in passive way by means of education. My friend let me tell you, the thing that you had wanted to rust in its hideouts have started sparkling so dazzlingly that it has started attracting every new born by their maturity. We have kept the nature in cover. See, you have again come up with another question, “Where there in our education system do they find such references and mentions?” Yes, you are right. There is no such mention and reference throughout our education beginning form primary to highest level of tertiary education. We have so carefully selected and graded our curriculum that we have successfully prevented any such topic wanting for or, let’s say, requiring any open discussion in neither parts of the system – students or teachers. 
                Oops! Don’t be so searching, when had our education system sought active participation of guardians/parents in the course of educating their children except on the occasions of ‘utilizing’ the budget in the name of ‘campaigns’? Therefore, doing away with this question-answer session, lets go in a world trip to explore where nature is natural.
At the stage of its infancy, the thrust for starting sex education in schools was teaching children about avoiding pregnancy and keeping them safe from sexually transmitted diseases. But in many countries of the world, this education has come a long way into the stage of maturity whereby inviting more thoughts and widened notions. A resent research in America showed that the major concern of parents about the teen age intercourse was neither pregnancy nor the venereal diseases, but worries about the effects of sexual activity on their child’s psyche. It may give rise to a question how can this reference be comparable to Nepalese socio-economic context but I ask why not? What are our children devoid of, I am afraid to say (however it's not just blame shift), except quality education and parenting proper? They have easy access to all sorts of electronic media available in most part of our nation, such that privilege to cable television; most advanced technological gadgets; and knowledge of one of the most far-reaching international language, to name a few. Under such an exposure in which our children are being reared, deactivating some X-rated sites or exercising ban on them, have we been able to serve the ends of our purposes? Therefore, there is no alternate to initiating sex education in schools.
Sex-education in every society, irrespective of developed or underdeveloped, has the evidence of facing hardship and attack during its infancy. Even in one of the most developed lands of the world the USA, this education has evidences of being a controversial issue. Had it not been implemented for fear of the criticism and attack, the concept would never get into the threshold of academic institutions. The facts available reveal that sex education had been established in Europe on a national scale in 1960's and its practices are found to be initiated in developing countries since 1980's. The main cause behind the initiation of this education is credited to emergence of HIV/AIDS. By the time it begun its journey and reached this destination, sexuality education no longer remains confined within avoiding pregnancy and STD's, but it is credited as lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships, and intimacy. It encompasses sexual development, reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles. Sexuality education addresses the biological, socio-cultural, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of sexuality (SIECUS, www.ciecus.org).  
 Furthermore, it has not remained only concern of some certain countries but U.N. organizations such as UNFPA, UNESCO, and UNICEF have been supporting sexuality education. Including World Bank, many other bilateral donors and private foundations and organizations are found to support and promote sexuality education worldwide. UNESCO in June, 2009 in its International Guidelines on Sexuality Education has made a claim that "Effective sexuality education can provide young people with age-appropriate, culturally relevant and scientifically accurate information. It includes structured opportunities for young people to explore their attitudes and values, and to practise the skills they will need to be able to make informed decisions about their sexual lives".
 Nevertheless, implementation of this education only after effective planning, curriculum designing and proper training to teachers can help in undoing the entangled knots and stop our youth from perpetual bleeding. Well thought up program meeting the internal standard is the basis for its success or else it will further add to the woe of our bleeding youth.





    
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Climate Change to be in Secondary Curriculum

In the context of emerging climate change and environmental problems from the local to global levels, the government is planning to incorporate related environmental issues in the secondary-level curricula.
The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) and the Curriculum Development Centre under the Ministry of Education (MoE) on Friday concluded a two-day workshop, discussing how to

integrate climate change concepts into the Science curriculum in secondary education.
Nepal is at the forefront of the risks related to changing weather patterns, erratic rainfall and disasters such as floods, drought and landslides. The climate change Vulnerability Index (2011) prepared by Maplecroft, a UK-based risk analysis and mapping company, puts Nepal among the top five vulnerable countries in terms of risks related with changing weather and rainfall patterns.
In order to sensitise the future generation on the emerging environmental problems—local and global, its impacts and measures to adapt to the changing climate, there is an urgent need to mainstream climate change risk management in development activities including the education sector in the country, said Keshav Prasad Bhattarai, secretary at the MoEST.
There is a need to start constructive discussions on the issue and involve all quarters including teachers, curriculum experts, climate change experts and writers and devise an innovative education system that helps the upcoming generation reduce adverse impacts on environment and their life, he said.
Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary at the MoE, said that creating awareness on environmental issues and related problems among the students will be crucial in helping save vulnerable populations.
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Free E-books on promoting peace, health and environment

Dear teachers from Nepal,

Our well wisher and health, environment and peace activist Lesa R Walker from the USA has provided us with coupon codes for getting her 3 online books for free

Link: 
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/idea4ide
a


Coupon Codes:
"Olymp-i-a Health Challenge 1" (use code AC77X)
"Olymp-i-a Green Challenge 1" (use code AW97A)
"Olymp-i-a Peace Challenge 1" (use code BQ55D).
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400 Euros Scholarships (Global Education: The Intercultural Dimension)

UPDATE: The Same institution and sponsors have recently offered Online Course on HRE ((Human Rights Education). Please visit: http://hre.netuni.nl/page.php?id=8

Course

This global education online learning course is designed for education practitioners, social workers, civil society, youth activists, as well as policy and decision makers, local authorities and intercultural cities. .
Please be aware that the course announced on this website regards an online learning course and does not involve any travelling. However, in order to participate, you need to have regular access to the Internet.
The course has been designed to complement the Global Education Guidelines, a pedagogical tool for educators and policy makers to understand and implement Global Education, and share with a wider audience concepts and approaches promoted by the North-South Centre’s Global Education programme.
This second online learning course, under the title "Global Education - The Intercultural Dimension", provides an overview on why intercultural education is relevant and needed, what it means in theory and practice and how it can be improved in relation to the context of a globalised world, the local needs, its contents and methodology.


Content

This course explores the ways of addressing the issues in theory and practice, reflecting on the ideal state considering the evidence from the reality, and developing new ways of understanding and promoting human rights education in the contexts of the participants.
The specific contents include:
  • Introduction to the intercultural dimension of global education
  • Reflecting on the needs for intercultural global education
  • Reviewed concepts approaches to intercultural global education
  • Understanding of existing intercultural education in practice
  • Dilemmas and challenges in policy development towards intercultural education
  • Development of strategies for intercultural political education
  • Rights-based approaches to social and political action


Specific aims of the course

  • To offer a platform to reflect on the role of intercultural education and the challenges posed by the local context in a globalised world
  • To reflect on the concepts and approaches related to global education and its intercultural dimension
  • To develop a better understanding of intercultural education, intercultural learning and intercultural competences
  • To review and strengthen the existing policy approaches to ensuring quality standards and recognition of indercultural education
  • To strengthen the intercultural dialogue as part of political education
  • To connect local and international practitioners and other relevant actors in the field
  • To strengthen the network of global, human rights and intercultural education practitioners


For whom?

The course in general is targeted at people working in or with intercultural learning and education, either as part of international organisations, national educational institutions or those working for national and local civil society organisations, policy makers, local authorities and intercultural cities. The course also welcomes students with a special interest in the topic.Course requirements:
Please note that all participants should:
  • be in command of the English language;
  • be able to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week (every week) on course work;
  • have basic ICT skills and a minimum of internet access.  


By whom?

The course has been developed in partnership between the North South Centre (NSC) and The Network University.
North-South Centre's mandate is to provide a framework for North-South co-operation to increase public awareness of global interdependence issues and promote policies of solidarity in conformity with the aims and principles of the Council of Europe: respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Network University (TNU) facilitates innovative learning and capacity building for a global network of professionals, students, non-profit organizations, agencies and networks, specializing in creating e-tools for education and networking in the field of development.
the network university
Costs
The North South Centre will provide scholarships of 400 euro, corresponding to the course value. The scholarships will be granted to selected applications on the basis of quality of the application.

Please be aware that an application should consist of the online form and the word document.

For more information please go to the application page . 


Date

The next course takes place from 19 November to 16 December, 2012.
The deadline for submitting the complete application is 11 November, 2012. For more information please go to the application page.

If you would like more information do not hesitate to contact one of the course tutors at icd (at) netuni.nl.


Source:
http://icd.netuni.nl/page.php?id=8
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Book review "Khana Pugos Dina Pugos"

Book Name: Khan Pugos Dina Pugos
Writer: Rabindra Mishra
Publisher: Nepalaya
Published: 2012 A.D
Pages: 293
Price: Rs 300 (writers commission will be donated to Chepang of Chitwan)
Language: Nepali
Moral: Everybody can donate to needy people if they have big heart.
Journalists have somehow easy platform to make publicity of their work, they have power on pen and words. No wonder on it, famous journalist Rabindra Mishra published his second book ‘Khan Pugos Dina Pugo’, a collection of articles which were published in Kantipur and Nagarik daily in different series. All these articles were published between 2065 to 2068 B.S and there are altogether 53 articles in two sections. The first part is about philanthropy journalism and the second is about politics. Rabindra Mishra and his team run a Non-government organization “Help Nepal Network” which collects funds through different sources and use this on different social works. The main intend of these articles is to float their mission to public. This book mainly focus as to encourage people to participate on these type of social works physically and try to define peoples’ favor political system or lokkalyankari rajya i.e. ‘politics of popular will’ specially like scandevian countries.   
 After certain period, many people want to change their main stream profession and try to use their knowledge in different works. It has two reasons. First want to be popular and the other they really want to work in new spirit. Mishra, here, is in the second category. He has great (beautiful) dreams and speaks in some articles like relation on city center and kamalpokhari or Dinbandhu’s work or letter for ex-king Gynandra or Gagan as a president. Of course, many people glimpse dreams which is the first foot step toward prosperous nation but, here are many youths who build dream house and move abroad. We know dream is not seen in sleeping, it is made out in day with conscious mind, Well done! , Mishra tries to convince these educated people to come back to Nepal and join hand on hand to make beautiful nation. He is very lucky that he can collect many names and information about different social news, so it is not only collections of essays but also the history of certain people who are doing best on their field but not recognized properly. Readers can comprehend many of such wonderful names and organizations.
 In second section, he tries to ignore or hide some facts about theories in the name of “Sidhantabadi aandhaharu” that every political system runs in certain global philosophical ideology. So it is not possible in Nepl as well. We can say that political parties are to be more responsible and trustworthy on their philosophy so that they really can do better. He has raised so many other questions in each article some of which really touch our heart and mind. Readers are suggested to read this book not as literature, rather examine to it as collection of questions from social disparity and voices of backward or middle class people through on capitalist eyes and with some courage to donate some amount. 

       
Rajendra Kattel


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Meeting


Today, SEG-N meting held at Bhrikuti Mandap decided the following:
1. To register SEG-N's PAN and affiliate at Samaj Kalyan Parishad; duty is given to Dipesh Dulal.
2. Try to search funding for one national level teachers conference within this year 2012.
We welcome Rajani Manandhar in our organisation.

Rajendra kattel
Secretary
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School is bad for children - John Holt (1969)

Originally published in The Saturday Evening Post, February 8, 1969.

Almost every child, on the first day he sets foot in a school building, is smarter, more curious, less afraid of what he doesn't know, better at finding and figuring things out, and more confident, resourceful, persistent and independent than he will ever be again in his schooling - or, unless he is very unusual and very lucky, for the rest of his life. Already, by paying close attention to and interacting with the world and people around him, and without any school-type formal instruction, he has done a task far more difficult, complicated and abstract than anything he will be asked to do in school, or than any of his teachers has done for years. He has solved the mystery of language. He has discovered it - babies don't even know that language exists - and he has found out how it works and learned to use it. He has done it by exploring, by experimenting, by developing his own model of the grammar of language, by trying it out and seeing whether it works, by gradually changing it and refining it until it does work. And while he has been doing this, he has been learning other things as well, including many of the "concepts" that the schools think only they can teach him, and many that are more complicated than the ones they do try to teach him.

In he comes, this curious, patient, determined, energetic, skillful learner. We sit him down at a desk, and what do we teach him? Many things. First, that learning is separate from living. "You come to school to learn," we tell him, as if the child hadn't been learning before, as if living were out there and learning were in here, and there were no connection between the two. Secondly, that he cannot be trusted to learn and is no good at it. Everything we teach about reading, a task far simpler than many that the child has already mastered, says to him, "If we don't make you read, you won't, and if you don't do it exactly the way we tell you, you can't". In short, he comes to feel that learning is a passive process, something that someone else does to you, instead of something you do for yourself.

In short, he comes to feel that learning is a passive process, something that someone else does to you, instead of something you do for yourself.

In a great many other ways he learns that he is worthless, untrustworthy, fit only to take other people's orders, a blank sheet for other people to write on. Oh, we make a lot of nice noises in school about respect for the child and individual differences, and the like. But our acts, as opposed to our talk, says to the child, "Your experience, your concerns, your curiosities, your needs, what you know, what you want, what you wonder about, what you hope for, what you fear, what you like and dislike, what you are good at or not so good at - all this is of not the slightest importance, it counts for nothing. What counts here, and the only thing that counts, is what we know, what we think is important, what we want you to do, think and be." The child soon learns not to ask questions - the teacher isn't there to satisfy his curiosity. Having learned to hide his curiosity, he later learns to be ashamed of it. Given no chance to find out who he is - and to develop that person, whoever it is - he soon comes to accept the adults' evaluation of him.

He learns many other things. He learns that to be wrong, uncertain, confused, is a crime. Right answers are what the school wants, and he learns countless strategies for prying these answers out of the teacher, for conning her into thinking he knows what he doesn't know. He learns to dodge, bluff, fake, cheat. He learns to be lazy! Before he came to school, he would work for hours on end, on his own, with no thought of reward, at the business of making sense of the world and gaining competence in it. In school he learns, like every buck private, how to goldbrick, how not to work when the sergeant isn't looking, how to know when he is looking, how to make him think you are working even when he is looking. He learns that in real life you don't do anything unless you are bribed, bullied or conned into doing it, that nothing is worth doing for its own sake, or that if it is, you can't do it in school. He learns to be bored, to work with a small part of his mind, to escape from the reality around him into daydreams and fantasies - but not like the fantasies of his preschool years, in which he played a very active part.

The child comes to school curious about other people, particularly other children, and the school teaches him to be indifferent. The most interesting thing in the classroom - often the only interesting thing in it - is the other children, but he has to act as if these other children, all about him, only a few feet away, are not really there. He cannot interact with them, talk with them, smile at them.

In fact, he learns how to live without paying attention to anything going on around him. You might say that school is a long lesson in how to turn yourself off, which may be one reason why so many young people, seeking the awareness of the world and responsiveness to it they had when they were little, think they can only find it in drugs. Aside from being boring, the school is almost always ugly, cold, and inhuman.

And so, in this dull and ugly place, where nobody ever says anything very truthful, where everybody is playing a kind of role, as in a charade where the teachers are no more free to respond honestly to the students than the students are free to respond to the teachers or each other, where the air practically vibrates with suspicion and anxiety, the child learns to live in a daze, saving his energies for those small parts of his life that are too trivial for the adults to bother with, and thus remain his. It is a rare child who can come through his schooling with much left of his curiosity, his independence or his sense of his own dignity, competence and worth.

Our compulsory school-attendance laws once served a humane and useful purpose. They protected the children's right to some schooling, against those adults who would otherwise have denied it to them in order to exploit their labor, in farm, store, mine or factory. Today the laws help nobody - not the schools, not the teachers, not the children. To keep kids in school who would rather not be there costs the schools an enormous amount of time and trouble - to say nothing of what it costs to repair the damage that these angry and resentful prisoners do every time they get a chance. Every teacher knows that any kid in class who, for whatever reason, would rather not be there, not only doesn't learn anything himself but makes it a great deal tougher for anyone else. As for protecting the children from exploitation, the chief and indeed only exploiters of children these days are the schools.

We need to get kids out of the school buildings, and give them a chance to learn about the world at first hand. It is a very recent idea, and a crazy one, that the way to teach our young people about the world they live in is to take them out of it and shut them up in brick boxes. Aside from their parents, most children never have any close contact with any adults except people whose sole business is children. No wonder they have no idea what adult life or work is like. A child learning to talk does not learn by being corrected all the time - if corrected too much, he will stop talking. He compares, a thousand times a day, the difference between language as he uses it and as those around him use it. Bit by bit, he makes the necessary changes to make his language like other peoples. In the same way, kids learning to do all the other things they learn without adult teachers - to walk, run, climb, whistle, ride a bike, skate, play games, jump rope - compare their own performance with what more skilled people do, and slowly make the needed changes. But in school we never give a child a chance to detect his mistakes, let alone correct them. We do it all for him. We act as if we thought he would never notice a mistake unless it was pointed out to him, or correct it unless he was made to. Soon he becomes dependent on the expert. We should let him do it himself. Let him figure out what this word says, what is the answer to that problem, whether this is a good way of saying or doing this or that. Our job should be to help him when he tells us that he can't find a way to get the right answer. Let's get rid of all this nonsense of grades, exams, marks. We don't know now, and we never will know, how to measure what another person knows or understands. We certainly can't find out by asking him questions. All we find out is what he doesn't know which is what most tests are for, anyway. Throw it all out, and let the child learn what every educated person must someday learn, how to measure his own understanding, how to know what he knows or does not know.

People remember only what is interesting and useful to them, what helps them make sense of the world, or helps them get along in it. All else they quickly forget, if they ever learn it at all. The idea of a "body of knowledge," to be picked up in school and used for the rest of one' s life, is nonsense in a world as complicated and rapidly changing as ours. Anyway, the most important questions and problems of our time are not in the curriculum, not even in the universities, let alone the schools.

Children want, more than they want anything else, and even after years of miseducation, to make sense of the world, themselves, and other human beings. Let them get at this job, with our help if they ask for it, in the way that makes most sense to them.

Excerpted from The Underachieving School, CO: Sentient Publications, 2005. Reprinted with permission of Sentient Publications.
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