We need to create opportunities where every ‘where will I work?’ question is addressed with answers
Like every individual around the globe, I have always aspired to make it big in life. Having completed my schooling in Nepal I had mentally prepared myself to complete my higher education in a country offering ‘better’ degree and opportunities with an intention to return with as much knowledge and experiences as I could gather.
So after seven years with a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree and close to two years of working experience inherited from understanding, comprehending, struggling, dwelling, and accepting the culture of a foreign land, I decided to return with all the excitement in my heart, back to where I belonged.
It took me not more than a month to realize that the working environment here would be slow hence bringing down my productivity to half of what I was capable of. In no time I was demotivated. Just when I had started regretting my decision I happened to attend a workshop full of people from Ivy League Colleges and with high ranked experiences from top institutions all round the globe. And they were just a small portion of the entire representation.
Nothing in my life had motivated me as much as that particular workshop did. With every experience heard, I was helplessly comparing these capabilities with the unmatched opportunities in the country. They got recognized in a foreign platform but what about those who have no idea what asset they could form out of themselves?
As our country crawls through the ‘developing’ phase, the citizens struggle to get past the awareness. Awareness about a system which could help them learn and grow in a vibrant environment, awareness about working on untapped sectors, awareness about an education system where they can have the liberty to choose a career path without being concerned about the quality of degree they hold and the opportunities that awaits after that.
Thanks to technology for exposing us to most of these opportunities but grabbing them demands moving to foreign land. With close to 35000 people migrating to foreign land every year for ‘better opportunities,’ all we ever get year after year is a country with a scaled down motivation for real efforts. Of course, Nepalis are making Nepal proud by contributing almost all round the globe in unimaginable sectors and mining loads of money but at the cost of their own country.
Today one of the major sources of income for the country is remittance and as such no justification would ever convince a person determined to achieve ‘the dream’ to return to a country lacking opportunities and infrastructure. So most of us would rather stay abroad and struggle and earn our way through the top.
The nonresidents are inadequately motivated to return to homeland. Likewise, the ones staying back in the country, discouraged yet content, are accepting the situation as it is and hoping for a miracle. We have somehow given up on the idea of calling the entire situation as a state of urgency’ because we have accepted people moving out of the country as just another important phase of life.
Of course, there exists a fix to this situation and yes it demands a long term plan. I’d like to raise my voice towards the stringent opportunities that exist in the education system and in the sectors we decide to work in.
Right from our school life we have been asked to focus more on what books have to offer and not on the environment where we grow. From grabbing to creating opportunities, from personality development to being self confident, from comprehending available options to exploring and creating undiscovered alternatives, there are so many ways to inject innovation in the education system. Yet we want it in the traditional way failing to understand that when the roots are fixed firmly, growth would need little supervision.
If a child aspires for something new he should be motivated as an extra to the ordinary and not demoralized. We should work on creating a path that doesn’t direct any of us out of the nation.
The walls between the nations have crumbled down way back. Thanks to technology, no corner is unreachable. Gathering experiences through virtual and physical resources is no big deal. The major challenge is about systemization and implementation of this entire process. We have experienced such efforts for the past years.
The scale needs to be enhanced in multiple folds. We need to get over all petty, demeaning issues and come up together with forums involving people from private and public sectors, donor and implementing agencies, discussing and addressing these issues and fast-tracking the implementation process.
We need to create opportunities where every ‘where will I work?’ question is addressed with innovative options whenever an individual land with an undiscovered degree. Our country is one of the very few to accept major social revolutions before many others did. Despite being economically backward we have never let our aspirations take a back seat. Someday, we will find our way through to learn, grow, compete, struggle and achieve within our country. Nothing will stop us.
The author is an economist with Institute for Integrated Development Studies, Kathmandu