Typical may never come (Nepalese vs. American Education, pt. II)

28 08 2010

We might be getting closer to me actually teaching something in Nepal! There have been several more meetings and phone calls and with each conversation, the “plan” changes slightly. I hesitate to write about the current plan because it will change by Monday (when the next meeting in scheduled to occur). I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but OMG there are a LOT of politics here. Navigating intense political situations is difficult enough but when you don’t know the culture or the players it’s nearly impossible without intermediaries.  Luckily, I have some good intermediaries. To complicate the situation, students at the Lalit Kala campus (and several other campuses or branches) of Tribhuvan University went on strike this week. They’ve installed padlocks on all the building doors so even the Campus Chief can’t enter. The students are upset by rising tuition costs…what’s new! Local newspaper editorials deride the students for thinking only about money and not about the quality of their education. Gosh, this all sounds so familiar. At least American students aren’t known for striking against their conditions (yet).

I’ve met other Americans here who are working on research and teaching projects and we’re all wading through the same muck, which somehow makes me feel better about everything. I  do want to say that despite the politics, there’s an amazing amount of flexibility here and Nepalis don’t worry as much as Americans do about the practicalities, only that somehow, things will work out to everyone’s satisfaction. The trick is finding that mutually satisfying point where everyone maintains their respect (e.g saving face).

By this point in my blog, I was thinking I could tell you about a typical day for me, but typical may never come. Ke garne.

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2 responses

29 08 2010
crgardenjoe

Not sure I have a lot of typical days teaching in the U.S., but I hope it works out so you can start working with students soon. Keep blogging–your reports are very interesting!

1 09 2010
Kathryn Hagy

You’re right that teaching days in the U.S. aren’t typical, but at least there’s some semblance of order!

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