The existing curricula require immediate revision to gain public accolades

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Tikaram Puri, the former President of Central PABSON, is the Founder Principal of Everest Secondary School, Biratnagar. Mr. Puri, a dynamic personality, is a strong leader who has already proven himself being an able and successful leader for making the PABSON a prestigious organization during his tenure.

Mr. Puri has shared his views on status of education in grades eleven and twelve and their curriculums with College Readers. Excerpts:

You have contributed your more than two-decade long involvement to education sector and also handled leading position in PABSON. How do you evaluate +2 education in the present context as an educationist and former President of PABSON?

Although the existing curriculum of ten-plus-two education excludes applied, proactive and progressive education, it plays a significant role in the present context of Nepal. The ten-plus-two qualification of Nepal is considerably better than that of other countries. As a result, our products are competitive and employable in the global market. Still, there are several shortcomings that should be improved to achieve academic excellence. The available course content should be inevitably redesigned focusing on proactive and practical teaching and learning activities.

At the time of HSEB, ten-plus-two education was considered college level education but following the conversion of HSEB into NEB, it has been included in the framework of school education. In this context, how do you evaluate the trend of ten-plus-two education in Nepal?

In fact, education up to Grade12 is consolidated with the school education globally. So, Nepal alone can’t be its exception. Despite this, if we analyze the ten-plus-two curriculum and course content of Nepal, it seems to be a bridge course that joins school and university education thus making it the foundation of university education.

You have played a significant role in lobbing with the government for updating and revising the +2 curriculum when you were the President of PABSON. How do you analyze this progress? Is the current curriculum sufficient enough for preparing our graduates to be globally competent?

In my view, the pre-existed ten-plus-two curriculum was far better than that of present revised curriculum. I have been lobbying with the concerned authority and the stakeholders pinpointing the necessity of drastic revision of curriculum, but the revised curriculum also could not address the necessity of the nation. So, it is still not sufficient and appropriate to a large extent.

To be specific, Social Studies has been encompassed as a compulsory subject Nepali language which has created lots of obstacles for foreign students to study in Nepal. Moreover, some content of Social Studies is irrelevant which does not address the religious and cultural diversities of Nepal. Similarly, the concern of Mathematics Society has not properly been addressed. So, the curriculum should be designed and revised considering Nepalese specialties and global practice.

The flow of students leaving the country in search of higher education in a foreign country is increasing persistently every year. So, it is alleged that private educational institutions have just produced students who ultimately join foreign universities. In this context, how do you exonerate of this criticism and what remedies do you recommend for ending this trend?

I do not allege private educational institutions without any obvious reason. First of all, the government should find out the root cause of any problems. In my analysis, the major reasons of going for foreign study are due to the lack of job opportunities in Nepal.

Second, in foreign countries, students can experience an appropriate environment and acquire lots of privileges of income generating jobs along with study in foreign country. So, the policy makers, bureaucrats, Education Ministry and the concerned authorities must ensure an appropriate environment that allows leaners to gain income generating privileges along with their study.

Third, students feel secure about their future in foreign countries after acquiring a certain academic qualification. So, a large number of students are leaving the country in pursuit of higher education in foreign lands because of lack of good governance, political stability and job opportunities in Nepal.

The NEB urged all higher education providers to conduct the exams of grade 11 in their respective premises to mitigate the growing anxiety among youths in the aftermath of coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, it is blamed that such step of NEB has degraded the quality of education. What is your response to such an allegation?

It is true that the irresponsibility of a particular school may emasculate the quality of education. So, the school itself should be accountable for maintaining standard of evaluation system. Moreover, it should be efficient and honest enough to quality control from the beginning of classes. If all the education institutions work efficiently and responsibly, the quality can be certainly maintained.

The contradiction between the PABSON and the HISSAN concerning their rights became intense which resulted in dilemma about maintaining accountability to quality control, especially in conducting grade 11 exams systematically and smoothly. And this anomaly still looms on them. How is your opinion regarding this issue and what could be its appropriate solution?

In fact, PABSON is the older organization than HISSAN. It had demarcated its area up to class 12 in its legislation; however, after the establishment of HISSAN, ten-plus-two education became part of HISSAN. Then the paradigm of PABSON is limited to education up to grade 10.  

Now, the ten-plus-two course is considered secondary level education; as a result, are compelled to expand our area. So, in my view, HISSAN should concentrate on university education rather than school level education, which is an appropriate solution to avoid the confusion and mistrust between us. Otherwise, we should consider agreeing to a merger process. If it is also not possible, PABSON, NPABSON and HISSAN should run their programs separately and autonomously.

The data shows that even in the current situation about 20% of students come to Kathmandu for +2 education from outside valley. In your opinion, what could be a reason for this unusual trend when most colleges beyond valley are doing marvels?

In the past, there was a scarcity of ten-plus-two colleges in every swathe of the country, especially in rural areas. So, most students were compelled to come to Kathmandu in search of quality education. But at present, many colleges are imparting quality education at local level. Both the local and provincial governments also handle the secondary level education (up to grade 12).

In the context of Province-1, educational fecundity has prevailed at every nook and corner. Major cities of the Province-1 have been converted into a hub of education. In this regard, all these credentials prove that the students’ flow of going to Kathmandu for higher education has immensely declined.

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