Understanding Education: Bridging the gap between public and private schools.

Understanding Education: Bridging the gap between public and private schools.

Panel Discussion on Understanding Education taking place
What are the gaps in education and what are the measures to bridge that gap, who should take the initiation to bridge the gap and, how and when should they do it? In the race towards development, the education of Nepal is still lagging behind. To tackle this problem, educational personnel including professors, educators, ministers, and entrepreneurs sat together for a panel discussion based on the topic “Bridging the gap between public and private schools” on  March 2017. “Understanding Education” is an annual panel discussion series among various stakeholders conducted by Canopy Nepal intending to enhance the quality of education through healthy discussions on prevalent educational issues. Realizing the need for “Bridging the gap between public and private schools”, we conducted a panel discussion in collaboration with US Embassy in Nepal and USAID and supported by King’s College, Meridian School, and Thames International College. 
The chief guest, Ms. Shanta Dixit,   there isn’t a problem with the gap between public and private schooling systems but mostly in the mindset of people. She also stressed how resilient people thrive everywhere and concluded by saying that they are not here to help a certain group but make every child thrive. She emphasized the need for teachers to understand their children, who are all different and stop depriving them of ‘learning by doing’.
Mr Shishir Khanal CEO of Teach for Nepal receiving token of
love from Ms. Shreya Upadhyay, Managing Director of Canopy 
The approach in public teaching despite the same curriculum as private schools might be a reason behind the failure of public schooling. The commitment of teachers and executive directors running the school plays a crucial role in determining the quality of education.  Lacche Bahadur K.C who is a former president of PABSON and an associate professor at Tri-Chandra Multiple College and Mitkala Subba Dewan, the president of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association questioned the dedication of the teachers in public schools and asked them to separate politicization from education. They also highlighted the prevalence of time leakage in public schools. Referring to a USAID report, ‘government schools had 65% of their time wasted due to several factors including the teachers coming up with excuses to not teach.' has been found to prevail thus reducing the quality of education in these schools.
One of the major problems in the mentality of parents is where they are filled with prestige and pride when they have their children enrolled in private schools, schools that are ‘more centered in marketing’. Helen Bernadette Sherpa, present country director at World Education strongly supported this view throughout the discussion.  She adds on to the statements made by Mr. K.C and Ms. Dewan stressing on her belief in the need for an effective   association that has to work together for the benefit of children without any politicization. Inclusion of parents for the betterment of their children has proven to be a good way to understand a child better so there must be ‘teacher-parent’ committees working together with positive attitudes. Sherpa and Dewan highlighted the urgency to introduce platforms where underperforming teachers could be replaced similar to private schools using a ‘hire and fire system’ among teachers which promotes and encourages good work but can also fire the underperforming.
Organizing team after completion of the event
“We are in a state where your family strength determines the kind of school you will be joining and the education you will get.” For Shisir Khanal, the co-founder and CEO of Teach for Nepal , thus emphasizing the need for “community of leaders” and calls upon the community to work together with us- people who care about this issue and can commit. 
The joint secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Baikuntha Aryal suggests the sense of pride in our society to have our children sent to private schools do more harm than good. To bridge the gap, he thinks we need to develop schools as a learning community with increasing participation between the two systems. Mr. Aryal concluded the first round of the panel discussion by stating lack of support and unhelpful interference from parents and other development partners involved has to change but believes government is still the key factor and should take proper first initiations to solve the problems. 
In conclusion, the schooling system in Nepal still needs refinements. From this discussion, it was observed that little things like this such as the way of presenting the course and the dedication of teachers help to bridge the gap between public and private schools. 
Written By: Keepa Maitri Tuladhar (Canopy Nepal)
Edited By: Monal Bhattarai and Urishna Shakya (Canopy Nepal) 
Canopy Nepal, with a team of enthusiastic youths, is providing scholarships, interactive sessions and workshops to improve the education system, little by little. The solutions provided by the experts are always implemented in our programs in ways that fit them best. 



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