23. Kathmandu University School of Education

This is where I’m gonna be spending the next two years of my life – reading, studying, researching and learning. Some strange motivation had urged me to join Kathmandu University for the M.Ed program, and two weeks on, it’s been so far so good. I’m pretty excited about this degree, which is also gonna be my second degree.

I had planned of taking few photos on the day of orientation and the days after, but somehow I kept forgetting to take my camera with me. Today, I did have my trusted D90 and a fisheye with me. This one is a 3 exposure bracketed shot, stitched into one on Photomatix, de-fished and then edited on Photoshop.

Great idea !

Doing some thinking

I’ve already written about the use of L1 in the language classroom before here and here. I do believe that L1, if used properly in the classroom, might actually help learners. The problem, then, lies in knowing when to use L1 in a class and, most importantly, how to use it to promote learning instead of using it to promote laziness.

I think that it’s a lot easier to use L1 in an ELF setting. The fact that learners usually share the same L1, and many times the teacher is a NNEST who also shares the same L1 with learners, makes it much simpler than using a learners L1 in an ESL environment with students from many different nationalities and languages. To each his own, right? If ESL learners have the benefit of speaking L2 much more frequently and having many more meaningful encounters with the target language outside…

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20. A Khetala Teacher

A Khetala Teacher. Noun
Origin: public schools of Nepal

khetala: [khe tɑː lɑː] a farm labourer who works on others’ fields, especially in villages; usually gets certain daily wage or works as labour exchange

A government appointed teacher personally assigns (contracts) an unqualified (unemployed) teacher to work in his/her place in a rural pubic school. Meanwhile, the ‘real’ teacher works in other schools (private) or gets into other forms of occupation, even flies abroad – still drawing monthly salary and benefits from the designated public school. Gives a certain cut of the salary to the khetala-teacher, while the ‘real’ teacher enjoys laddu in both hands.

The government of Nepal lacks effective mechanism to monitor such discrepancies in the rural schools. (Plus, head teachers and other teachers are members of political parties and they can’t be touched, literally.)

19. A Helmet Teacher

Helmet Teacher. Noun
Origin: from certain schools in Bhaktapur.

A part-time teacher (sometimes, also a tuition teacher) who practically works in over a dozen schools, scurries from one school to the other, taking one or two periods. To aid him (it’s usually male teachers) in this extraordinary (lucrative) feat, he has a motorbike or a scooter. He rushes to the classroom, habitually forgets to take the helmet off. It does save him some time though, by not taking it off. He is in and out of the school like the superhero Flash. In short, he is a hustler.

Interestingly, a helmet teacher has a better income than the regular full time teachers. And evidently, a helmet teacher suffers from an almost-zero-social-life-disorder.

18. Linguistic Confusion and Educational Failure

The situation in Nepal is no different than in Pakistan. Is Nepal heading towards the state of “linguistic confusion and educational failure” or is it already there? Here’s an excerpt of an article which should make Nepal’s educational policy makers pause and think for a while.

Pakistan ruined by language myth
By: Zubeida Mustafa

Excerpt:

Last year I wrote a book highlighting the crisis in Pakistan’s education system caused by the way languages are used and taught. Its publication prompted one critic to remark that I was trying to “backwardise” the children of Pakistan. Another said that language was not the problem; it was what we taught that needed to be addressed.

With the exception of a small minority of children who are bilingual even before they begin school, teaching children in a language other than their mother tongue in the early years does them harm, no matter how good their teachers may be. This approach robs the child of the natural advantage she has in her home language.

If English is to be the school language, these children lose this advantage. The benefit goes to a small minority that is bilingual from the start by virtue of their parents being the products of exclusive English-medium education.

Such is the power of myths about language in Pakistan that a public demand has been created for English. People believe that English is the magic wand that can open the door to prosperity. Policymakers, the wielders of economic power and the social elites have also perpetuated this myth to their own advantage. The door of prosperity has been opened but only for a small elite.

This importance is reinforced by Pakistan’s employment market, which discriminates in favour of the fluent English speaker even though not every job requires an English language expert. This language paradox has undermined our education standards. With no well-defined language as a medium of instruction policy, we have a fractured system that divides society.

As a result, the country is in a state of linguistic confusion. The ambiguity of the language of instruction policy allows schools to make their own choices, which has contributed to the present crisis in education in Pakistan. The demand for English – a trend set by the privileged elite – has put schools under pressure.

The main challenge would be to decide judiciously which language is to be used as the medium in which region and at what stage other languages, including English, should be introduced.

Zubeida Mustafa is an independent journalist based in Karachi. Her book Tyranny of Language in Education: The Problem and its Solution is published by Ushba,

Link to read the article.

17. A Hen That Crows


Pic: Internet

The idea of incorporating Nepali proverbs and local expressions in English language has always fascinated me. But retaining the flavor, the idiosyncrasy, the aesthetic and most importantly the local essence of the proverbs is a very challenging job.

While googling for articles on Nepali proverbs in English, I came across this amazing piece of article. It focuses particularly on those ones portraying a woman/female as inferior, secondary and even dispensable in our patriarchal society. The article shows how most of these proverbs, some subtle and others too direct, help to de-humanize a woman from her birth right till the death; and help to reinforce the idea of her sexual-utility and breeding roles in the society.

Proverbs reflect our society and community, our ideology and our culture and our attitude. Proverbs reflect the family we live in, and the values we transfer to the new generation. Through these proverbs prevailing in the Nepali societies, the article shows how the seed of discrimination and bias against a girl is sowed and nurtured in our culture, values and attitude. And, in our subconscious.

Beget a son, and dine on mutton; beget a daughter, get pumpkin.
A daughter is the nest of shame.
The daughter is for managing the household; the son is for the world.
The riches in the fist and the wife within sight.
A manly man has ten wives.

Read the article here:
Beauty, grace and the crowing hen, by Balram Uprety