KATHMANDU, April 3
Discriminatory attitude toward low-caste and ethnic community students at school persist remarkably enough to affect their performance, government’s latest educational research on students above eighth grade has shown.
The report of the Education Review Office (ERO) has revealed that discriminatory attitude is deeply-seaeted even among the children who were born during the final years of the Maoist’s insurgency or those who started going to school after the peoples’ movement.
Such behavior of their friends has been found to have a negative effect on the psychology the students who come from the discriminated section of the society, the report states.
Compared to the national average for Mathematics (35) and Science (41), the learning achievement of the Dalit students is found to be lower at 23 and 33, respectively. Likewise, the achievement of Madhesi students is also found lower than the average in Mathematics (29), Nepali (37) and Science (36).
Girls lag further behind than boys (24 against 34 in Math, 31 against 40 in Science and 34 against 39 in Nepali) across all ecological zones, the ERO report states.
“The children seem to learn the discriminatory attitude from their parents and teachers,” said Lekh Nath Poudel, the ERO joint secretary, who was involved in the research. The situation is, however, better with those studying in Kathmandu valley.
The respondent children from the marginalized community complained of physical assault, use of derogatory words against them and isolation, which ultimately affected their studies and scores.
The marginalized community students cannot share their suffering with teachers in most of the cases fearing of similar treatment from them says Rup Sunar, program manager at Professional Development and Research Centre. Likewise, textbooks portrayal of the professions members of marginalized communities engage in as substandard also creates environment of hatred against them, he added.
Nagendra Kumal, chairperson of Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, thinks that the discrimination has percolated through generations despite massive campaigns and discussions on the issue for the simple reason that the education sector has yet to be inclusive.