In the U.S. there is a lot of debate reforming education — and a story like this cuts into that important discussion from a startling angle. It raises the possibility of a radically new society, and the role of education in THAT process. Not “preparing” kids better for “success” in this one — but making them conscious and critical actors in a great historic transformation.
The following is part of the series of reports made by members of the World Peoples Resistance Movement from Britain and Ireland currently who are visiting Nepal. The full series is available both here on Kasama (where we are posting articles as they arrive) and on the WPRM-Britain’s own site.
Educating Revolutionary Successors: A Maoist Model School in Jiri
Our journey started, as many do in Nepal, with a five hour bus trip where the only available free space was the roof. Although the journey was long it was only just over 100km, following narrow, windy mountain roads which were bumpy and at times treacherous. The roof however provided stunning views of the scenery and the opportunity to meet many local people, including a family of seven brothers and two sisters who found us a great source of amusement but were eager for us to visit their village and stay with their family. They were very friendly and not reserved at all, especially the girls unlike in many parts of Nepal and Asia in general, but we politely told them of our need to get to the town of Jiri in Dolakha district, east of Kathmandu.
Jiri is quite a remote town, of average size and the start of the popular trek to the Everest base camp. For this reason we were straight away accosted by hotel managers looking for business in the off-peak season. As with many tourist hotels in Nepal the managers are supporters of Nepali Congress and, indeed, the deposed royal family. In these areas images of the Dalia Lama are numerous. Our first port of call in Jiri was the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) office, a hive of activity compared to the cemetery stillness of the Nepali Congress office opposite. There we met the Area Secretary Comrade Kulbindra, various Young Communist League (YCL) activists and a teacher from the Sahid (Martyrs) Memorial Boarding School. After a brief chat over Nepali tea, we were asked whether we wanted to walk up the easy of the difficult route to the school, which was high up a mountain. Doubting that the school could be on the very top of the mountain we chose the difficult route, a choice that would soon come back to haunt us.