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Should students do politics?

Students' Activities

Should students do politics?

By Keshav Gharti Magar

In general, student politics refers to the organization of students from the secondary level to the university level involving the political activities of students related to higher education institutions, higher education systems, and their impact on society. It plays a distinctive role in the political development and upheaval of the country concerned through agitation and the voting process, especially in countries like ours with close ties to party political affiliations or trade unions.

The stir of student politics was first started in the world in 1088 A.D. at the University of Bologna in Italy by an organized guild of students (studiorum), which they called an “universitas” (A Roman term denoting an association with a legal personality) against the unfair behavior of professors (The students paid the professors’ salaries themselves – and punished them if they did not fulfill their academic duties. They secured a charter from the city of Bologna that made them responsible for). 

In the context of Nepal, “Nepal Chhatra Sangh” (Nepal Pupils Association) established in 1991 B.S. is the root of student politics. However, “Jayatu Sanskritam” started up in Asar 1 2004 B.S. is considered the first movement of student politics. After that, student activism and movement have a special role in the educational, political, and social changes in Nepal. Frankly speaking, without the active role of student politics and movement, political changes in our country would have been impossible. Even so, is student politics in Nepal moving in the right direction? Or should students do politics? This is a fundamental question in the present situation. The answer has to be sought and given based on facts and evidence, not on sentiment and political ideology or “ism”.

In the present perspective, most of the student organizations in our country are not working for the rights and interests of the students. They only fulfill their vested interests in the name of the interests and rights of the students or work under the direction of the party or leaders they are affiliated with and with whom they are in touch. As a matter of fact, student politics is losing its credibility instead of preserving it. What to talk of the various student organizations, even the Free Students’ Union does not raise its voice against the various types of chaos and absurdity seen in the education sector. Although everything can be analyzed from different viewpoints and different angles and views towards the matter concerned may also differ from each other, this is my understanding of student politics in educational institutions that have been in practice for a long time.

In a narrow sense, it is said that student politics should be done for bringing various reforms in the education system and for the betterment of the students. It means that student organizations and free student unions should act as a bridge between students and the campuses/universities administration and support and assist in constructive work. Similarly, the student organizations should also take the initiative to keep the students within their limits and make the administration and teachers accountable/responsible, because whatever the organizations they are, they are the organizations of the students, by the students and for the students even if only in principle. Moreover, the free student union is a common union of all students. Therefore, no student organization should work in the interests of itself and its affiliated parties in the establishment, protection and promotion of educational reform and quality education.

Student politics in itself is not a bad thing, but the problem is that some so-called student union leaders are using it wrongly along with their members. I think student politics has become worse than ever. The value and respect towards student politics will increase only when they minimize the priority of themselves and their party and give maximum priority to the pure students from the core of the heart. Nowadays, it seems that student unions use many freshers or newcomers by showing various temptations. Seeing this, I think that such directionless and aimless politics may ruin their future. Nevertheless, we should not forget that many remarkable events and changes have taken place in our history due to student politics. Many students have become martyrs for change. Unfortunately, the student organizations are getting discredited now after they deviated from the main issue of the student movement.


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