Only the educated are free!: #3 The Meaning of Things

We lament how the educational system is bad in India, how her teachers ill-educated, the schools ill-equipped and the students uninterested in their own betterment. Well, here’s an eye-opener for us in the form of this well written article on the Nepali educational system and what ails it.

Dr. B and his wife, who’s also a Nepali citizen, have devoted 10 years of their life and their resources towards improving the schools in Kathmandu, only to be faced by stiff opposition from the government, disinterest from teachers and being finally derailed by lack of infrastructure.

In the words of the Dr. himself,

…all of the schools we worked with, all of the communities and all of the research we did was conducted inside Kathmandu, the capital city! The government didn’t like this, we were too close to them physically, and they kept trying to make us move out into rural areas where we couldn’t expose them. But we weren’t trying to expose them, we were trying to work in an area of greatest concentration where our efforts to help them wouldn’t be diluted…

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Because it is familiar. These are the same issues that plague our country, even though we have the dubious distinction of sending out the most Engineers and Doctors to the US (is that even something to be proud of?). The sad thing about us is that we educated just keep getting better at education, but the uneducated couldn’t care less. Something which the Dr. too mentions in his article by quoting Epictetus, who says ‘Only the educated are free‘. Epictetus, you couldn’t be more right!

I have already lamented the situation of female education in this country in this angry article. But I’d like to point out that while female education is still an issue, there are more females topping courses and bagging prizes with each passing year, a good trend. Of course it’s a different story when those same over-achieving females are required to shove their trophies and degrees in the back of their minds, and instead perfect another craft – haggling on the streets with the subziwalla.

Read on to find out just why Nepali education, much like ours, is going nowhere inspite of the billions of foreign aid and guiding hands like Dr.B’s…

Buddha Walks Into A Wine Bar ....

The Meaning of Things

A selection of quotes from “The Meaning of Things” by British philosopher AC Grayling with some personal interpretations and anecdotes of our own experiences, especially in Nepal and our work to improve the primary education system.


#3 Education

Only the educated are free (Epictetus)

Epictetus was a stoic philosopher born in AD 50 as a slave in Rome. He eventually became a philosopher and was banished from Rome, living the rest of his days in Greece. He believed that philosophy was “a way of life” and I guess his most famous quote above arises from his early days as a slave in the Roman Empire. Education leads to freedom of the mind, freedom of thought, and not just or necessarily physical freedom.

Enlight119 Nepal children scavenge around the brickworks

It was in 2007 that Dr C and I decided to try and influence the development of the…

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6 thoughts on “Only the educated are free!: #3 The Meaning of Things

  1. Women’s education and women’s freedom are interconnected. Both Nepal and India, predominently Hindu societies, lack in the recognition of women’s education and freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

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