Talking about VBE is quite an easy job, but implementing it is a daunting task, which needs the strongest determination. Presently, Nepal’s education means just achieving around 80 % in academic exams and then going abroad in the name of further education. Actually, unless we can create a very healthy and pleasant educational environment, VBE cannot be implemented at academic institutions. First of all we should all fully agree that without VBE we cannot have a safe society, a developed country and a harmonious family environment. Therefore, we need to find out some practical ways to apply VBE, e.g. starting with junior classes, developing a strong commitment of all academic institutions, encouraging parents for their persistent support, producing more trained and dedicated teachers, establishing supportive administrative teams and the like. A well organized library equipped with relevant reference books and audio-visual cassettes of course helps as an additional and supportive means and resource to inculcate the value based education in the children.
VBE Teaching and Learning Methods:
General education can be transferred, but VBE should be transformed. VBE is more teacher-based than text books; it is more awakening, not only informing. It is life-oriented, not exam-oriented. Therefore, we need to create a special environment in institutions to transform VBE in students. First of all, we need trained, committed and spiritually motivated teachers for VBE. The pedagogical methods for implementing VBE may be stories, poems, prayers, songs, mantras and bhajans. Similarly, special camps can be organized. Likewise, special Satsangas can be helpful. It is apparent that all the festivals hold several values such as environmental, social, scientific and spiritual. It is therefore imperative to integrate festivals into teaching / learning process so as to make children realize importance and values of the festivals. The whole process should be very peaceful, harmonious and motivational. One should get answers by asking himself or herself. The whole environment should be free from stress, fear and confusion. Extreme materialistic attachment has made our life very narrow; therefore one should be able to open up the mind and heart freely and infinitely. Actually VBE does not require any set text books; rather than that, the whole institution should be based on VBE. It should be applied through various methods in order that everyone can understand it and follow it automatically and positively.
Practices of VBE in Nepal:
Although it is quite challenging to apply VBE at present in Nepal, a few schools and colleges have been working on the promotion and implementation of VBE formally or informally. A few major obstacles to the application of VBE are - lack of good governance, unhealthy education environments, pressure of private money-making institutions, and unstable political situations. However, few institutions are coming up slowly with a deep realization of VBE. At present some educational institutions namely HVP- Nepal, Sai Education foundation, Chetana Vidyashram, Alok Vidyashram, Budhaneelkantha Ashram school, DAV, Shuvatara School, Pranavananda Ashram school, St. Xavier's, St. Mary's, etc. seem to be working towards this direction. Perhaps these institutions might be struggling with several constrains. Nevertheless, they are working determinedly for the promotion and application of VBE at their level.
Consequences of the Current Education System in Nepal:
The present Education system of Nepal has, no doubt, produced a number of students. Similarly, many challenging and competitive subjects have been introduced that have increased the level of education. Many demanding subjects are now taught in Nepal; many good and competitive universities and colleges are now formally established in different parts of the country. This is what we can regard as good future. Nonetheless, the main question about VBE is still not addressed by any modern universities, colleges and schools. Why is such an essential and fundamental education ignored? Is it because parents are uninterested or because of unhealthy financial competition amongst academic institutions? Is it because the government does not have any policy, guidance and control? Therefore, modern education is producing more selfish youths. Brain drain is massively increasing; negativity is expressed at every level. Violence, hatred, crime and enmity are now like common problems; civic sense is disregarded at every level; human rights are completely violated. Social and cultural values are forgotten and love for nation and nationality sounds like a joke. So the big question is - where are we heading to? Likewise, the present political situation in Nepal has damaged the spirit and sensitivity of VBE. Everyday activities such as strike, destruction etc. have formed very negative attitudes in the mind of our children. Truly speaking, they do not see any future in their country. They are grown with despair and hopelessness and are raised with the pollution of burning tyres.
Commitment for VBE:
It is quite essential to take necessary steps for VBE on time. Just patching up problems will not ensure us a safe and peaceful future. We have realized very clearly that brain drain is a serious problem for Nepal. Violence has now reached even our personal life. Frustration amongst youths is very common, and negativity and suicide are now common. The family system is getting weaker day by day; the children are crazy for violent movies. The cases of sexual harassments are increasing. So the government should take bold steps; educators should come forward with very pure hearts and intentions; schools and colleges should work on it collectively; parents must decide now what they want for their children and we should know what we hope from our own children.
There is a famous saying - better late than never. So we must start now. Educators worldwide are now quite worried; therefore they have started various packages and discussions at their level. Names could be any - Holistic Approach to Education, Global Education, Democratic Education and Home Schooling System (USA), Alternative Education etc. They are all working for VBE directly indirectly, formally or informally. So we must awake and work now. New Nepal can be a good reality if we can foster VBE. In fact the bright future of our nation depends on the children as there is a saying - ”If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for ten years, plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate children". Our ancestors gave us the highest message of VBE - "Satyam Gyanam Anantam Brahman”. Therefore, after the completion of education at Gurukul, the Gurus finally used to sermonize their students in the graduation ceremony - Satyam Vad, Dharmam Char, Swadhyayan-ma Pramad, Matridevo Bhav, Pitridevo Bhav, Aachryadevo Bhav etc. Consequently, the time has again come to revive and restore our ancient knowledge based on VBE in this modern age without being biased, extremist, prejudiced and orthodox. It is only ancient knowledge and Vidya which will change the attitudes of our children making them complete human beings. And, in return they will change the entire human society.
"Vidya Dadati Vinyam, Vinayat Yati Patratam; Patratwat Dhanama-pnoti, Dhanat Dharma Tat Sukham"