Closer View of Neeraj

While reading the Wide Angle film script, Back to School, the story of Neeraj grabbed my attention. I could easily picture in mind the desert village in Rajasthan. I saw Neeraj attending night school like other girls in her village, making her steps to pursue her dream of being educated.

I felt pity for Neeraj, who had to do household chores all day long, while her brothers went to school. My heart moved when I saw a girl about ten returning home at late night when every other family member is asleep. I found myself secretly praying for her safety after seeing this. I fear if anything happens to her. How much we try to protect ourselves, still a girl has to fear moving at late night because of her physique. I wonder why this bitter fact is not being realized by Neeraj’s parents. Don’t they care about their daughter’s life and safety? Or maybe this small desert village respects women and such calamities never grip girls like Neeraj. However, even this does not convince me. If women were respected in this particular village, they would have sent their girls to day school and released them from such heavy burden of whole day chores.

Despite of all these circumstances, I respect Neeraj’s determination to receive education. Gripped with the responsibilities of household chores, she does not give up her courage to receive education. On the other hand, Neeraj’s compulsion to stop going to night school is very symbolic. She was taken out of school so that she could take care of young cattle and help her family in grazing their livestock. If this situation repeats each year and each year she has to remain away from school for two months, we cannot imagine Neeraj being able to pursue her dream of education. Continuous distraction from school may bring down her courage and determination. She may give up her hope and surrender herself to the tradition of desert village of Rajasthan.

Thus, with closer view of Neeraj’s steps towards receiving education, we should be able to understand where we are. In this regard, we are the lucky ones to land here. Girls like Neeraj are around the world, waiting for educated and aware humans like us to rescue them from their deprivation to easy access to education. Our combined steps can lead to a bigger change in the world.

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Education

This week  we are learning  about  “Education”. As we all know, education is one of the basic needs of the human beings. However, there are many children who do not have access to education. In the transcript of Wide Angle, we learnt a lot about the barriers of education from many countries like India, Kenya, Romania and Brazil. The problems shown  in the transcript are just some of the examples of the barriers to education. This is not only the problem of one community or one country. Many children all around the world are facing such obstacles in their way of education. Some of them are being successful to overcome those obstacles and some are not. As we read in the transcript, there are lots of reasons why children cannot get proper education. For instance, early marriage, poverty, war, child labor, lack of accessibility, death of parents, bad company and so on.  

In Nepal, not only in the remote areas but also in urban areas such obstacles are restraining children from going school. In remote areas, the main problem is gender discrimination. People often think that there is no use of educating their daughters. While at the same time, parents are sending their sons to get proper education to cities and towns. Another problem in remote areas is lack of high schools with proper education. This also inhibits many children from getting education. On the other hand, in urban areas, where parents are educated enough to send their children for proper education, the number of children completing their higher level is still few. Children often get distracted from many things and leave their studies in the middle. Some of them get involved in bad company and leave studies. Some of them get involved in premarital pregnancy and early marriage without completing their studies.

In addition, the education system in Nepal is also not supportive. Although there are many government schools and boarding schools, the way of educating students is completely different. Most of the government schools have low quality education as compared to boarding schools. The parents who cannot afford the fees of boarding schools are coerced to send their children in government schools.  The Government has many policies to improve the education system and literacy rate, but the policies are not being implemented.

These problems are the barriers to educations in many countries of the world. We are lucky enough to get proper education in such a nice environment. So, we need to think about those children who are not as fortunate as us and take correct step to solve these problems.  

Digya Shrestha

Education

Everyone likes to be educated. Moreover, being educated is what counts in today’s life. It is difficult to survive in this competitive world without education. Unfortunately, some individual among us don’t have the fate to get education or they are not access to education. And there are multiple reasons for that, for instance, the poor are not able to proved education to their children. Also those who are physically challenged have difficulty in getting proper education facility. Especially to those children who are blind, handicapped / disabled or mentally challenged and many other such cases find it hard read and write. These were some of the cases where individuals can’t avoid it and have to live with it but in other cases the society doesn’t allow individuals to get education though they have the ability, capacity and right to acquire education. What I am talking about is the issue of females not allowed to educate themselves. We see in some communities where the daughters are considered to be the ones who stays at home and does the house works, whereas the males are provided education and other facilities. This does not happen in each and every family but in those families whose parents are uneducated, the society who believe that women are considered the weak gender, in these areas females lack education. For example, in the Transcript Wideangle  provides an example, in the tiny desert village in Rajestan, Neeraj had to work during the day and go to night school where as her brothers went to school in day. Moreover, she was intended to have early marriage, which was common in her area.

Another example provided in the film transcript Wideangle it reveals that not only poverty but the disease that a child hasn’t been directly infected nor are his/her parents, but they are still being indirectly affected by it. As mentioned in Wideangle, Joab, a boy from poor family in Kenya joins a school. Unfortunately his mother dies at the age of 28. The reason for her death was unknown, since AIDS was common in Africa, rumors spread that she died of Aids. Because of that Joab faced problems — the society started avoiding  him assuming that he was contagious to the disease plus he dropped  out of the school—“When my mother died, nobody wanted us, even as friends. Not even when we were playing with their children. They were chasing us away” (6). After a month of being on the streets he joined the school back only after being rescued by the teachers.

These kinds of issues should be thought deeply and the responsible authorities should come up with best solutions for them.

Education- Still a Dream for Many.

While reading the “Wide Angle”, I happened to remember the people in my country who do not have access to education due to various factors. Examples from India, Kenya, Romania, and other countries are just a sample. This is not just a problem of specific community or a nation. Millions of people are not literate throughout the world. Not only the problem is common, but also factors that come into the way of being educated are also common throughout the world to some extent. Some common hindrances are poverty, lack of infrastructures and manpower, child labor, early marriage, family problem, war and so on. Everywhere and every day lots of speeches are delivered on the importance of education and young generation. Moreover, many policies are made to decrease illiteracy rate by the government of each nation, but implementing those policies strictly is what the nations fail to do. Nepal can be taken as an example of this problem. Having literacy rate of 58%, Nepal has made different policies and trying its best to educate its citizens in order to decrease illiteracy rate. As a result, literacy rate has been increased noticeably in past years, yet the goals are not meet as it was supposed to be. Economic as well as political aspect of any nation plays vital roles in providing support or being hindrance in people’s way of getting education. In Nepal, the government has declared the primary education free. Moreover, books are also distributed for free in government schools. But fees are not totally free. Some portion of fee is still needed to be paid by the students. This issue has really created a conflict among the poor parents’ committee and the government side. Though government had tried to make education free, nation’s economic condition doesn’t favor the willingness. This type of problem, I think, is faced by many countries as well.
I not only thought of my country’s people who have been deprived of education due to such barriers, but I could refrain myself from remembering my days after my high school. If I were not rewarded with scholarship at AUW, I wouldn’t have been able to continue my higher studies further because my family’s economic background is really poor and I wouldn’t have been able to pay for my higher studies. I feel lucky to have supportive family and to be at AUW but not all the people in this world are lucky like me. Many of them are even cannot recognize alphabets. I feel really sad for those people. Even though I want, I am not able to do anything except praying for them to be lucky like me and those characters of transcript, that we read, get opportunity to get education.

True Treasure

This week, we read some parts of a film transcript called Back to School. The film (a documentary I guess) addresses different obstacles which stop children from going to school in the developing countries. One of the seven children whose stories reveal their struggle for going back to school and get educated is an Afghan girl named Shugufa. Many issues like migration, war, gender discrimination, distraction by household responsibilities, stereotypes about uselessness of educating children, lack of teachers and sufficient infrastructure for schools are illustrated as problems on the way of educating Afghan children.

This is very sad, but true. Gender discrimination is one of the biggest barriers that deprives girls from getting the primary education, which is one the basic elements of international human rights charters, in many parts of Afghanistan, especially the southern estates that are mainly home to Taliban. During Taliban regime, women were not allowed to go to schools at all. Despite the fact that now there is a democracy in Afghanistan, and the government tries to provide a free education for all, Taliban in the areas that are dominant make it difficult for women to attend schools by threatening them in different ways. According to the BBC, on 12 November 2008, in a ruthless action some Taliban insurgents threw acid on the faces of 14 schoolgirls in Kandahar city. Those girls lost their beauty of their faces forever but not their faith in the power and brightness that education could bring to their mind. After getting the primary treatments, they all returned back to their schools to show the world, the horrified families and other schoolgirls that nothing should stop women from getting their own rights.

I am proud of those brave Afghan girls who did not let some stone-aged, rotten-minded Talib steal their real treasure, their ambitions, from them. In fact, I feel more responsible than before to help Afghan women get what they really deserve whenever I see how they struggle to prove their existence as a human even if by giving in their facial beauty forever.

Story of Shugufa

According to the narrator of the film transcript, Wide Angle, the movie is about the children in the different parts of the world who have gotten trouble in the field of education. For example, the narrator talks about how the different problems like war, religious beliefs, a scarcity of teachers, as well as family responsibilities have stopped them from getting education. The transcript includes true stories of seven children who had gone through the changes in their lives in the time period of three years, i.e., 2003 to 2006. I am going to talk about one of those children, who have gone through those changes.

Shugufa is an Afghan girl who had been living in Pakistan for five and a half years with her family as a refugee after the rule of the Taliban in their home country. In their host country, they were not able to get access to education. Even when both the parents were in support of educating their daughter, she was deprived of it. It was not only the consequence of the war that lasted for so many years, but also the social beliefs that women should not be literate. After three years, it was found that Shugufa and her sister didn’t forfeit their hope in getting education. Even though they have now gotten the chance to enroll in education, they still have many problems. According to Shugufa, due to the household chores, she hadn’t been able to give her full time in education. Furthermore, the attack of the Taliban on teachers and the lack of teachers were the other problems that stopped teaching in school. Due to these reasons, in Afghanistan, many girls dropped out from their schools before 5th grade, but Shugufa never thought about giving up her interest in education despite all those difficulties.

Therefore, through the story of Shugufa, we can say that she was destined to get education. It was her faith in herself to do those things that she always wanted to do. It was not only the war that could have confined her, but there were also other barriers such as house-hold chores, and social beliefs that could have stopped her from getting education. In addition, it was her spirit to compete with those obstacles and patience to wait for changes to occur in her life.
There are many children in the developing countries that still do not have any access to education due to the problems like war, prejudice, a lack of schools and teachers. Many have given up their hope and many of them might have been waiting for the changes to occur. On the other hand, in cities, there are students who are not interested in their studies even though they have gotten the chance to go to school. However, I feel I am one of the luckiest people who have gotten the chance to go to school.