On the 18th of June, we had a panel discussion for the course of Introduction to Civil Society on the topic of Promoting Equal Access to Education through Volunteerism. As usual our group consisted of five members who were in the roles of a moderator and four panelists. I was one of the panelists who came out with the point of human rights to education. Other panelists also talked about different point on the topic of free education. Those representatives were from different fields such as Ministry of higher education, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and Village. I guess there were not any arguments during our discussion. Each of us supported the topic that we came out. As soon as we arranged our team for panel, we started thinking about what our topic would be. Actually it didn’t take much time so we easily came out with the topic which I mentioned above. I think nowadays access to education is one of the main issues since there are many children who are being excluded from even elementary schooling. So we decided to bring this topic out in our panel discussion.
Now let me highlight the points which we discussed during the panel. Starting with my points, as a person who is standing to protect and promote the right to education, I brought out the Universal declaration by United Nation. Other points by me were rights at stake and some organizations which are working to make education available to all. After I finished my speech, next panelist started his points which were related to higher education. Then turn came to third panelist who was talking about NGOs. He mentioned some statistics of children without education. From that we can see that number of illiterate people is increasing as they are not able to access to free education. In addition that speaker gave also some useful examples from Nepal. Finally last panelist shared his experiences as a villager. His main point was about children with disabilities. I think those points by him were the most important in our discussion as in fact disable people are being discriminated even in getting education. There are several reasons for why those people are being illiterate. For example, schools or universities buildings are not friendly for persons with disabilities. They are also being discriminated in the form of separating them from normal students in terms of classes. For these kinds of problems, the speaker gave some ideas in order to solve the current problem. Instead of separating them from normal people in class, there should be joint class among all children.
When it comes to quality of organizing the panel discussion, I can say that it was quite good. In my opinion the strength of our discussion was our topic which was about free education. It is even related to us as well since we are studying under scholarship. However at the same time there were some weaknesses of our panel. Those weaknesses were seen in the form of performing of some of us. Personally I was a bit nervous and forgot what I was going to talk. In the consequence I had to look at my notes and just read some points in it. But it does not mean I had not prepared for discussion, as I said I was just nervous in front of audience.
Of course, panel discussion has been put into the course as a one of the assessment with the aim of teaching students something new. Like others, I also got some knowledge from our presenting. Firstly the most important useful thing which I got from discussion was practical experience. As I mentioned above I am not good at speaking in front of audience. However I hope I can improve this bad habit by presenting in front of people. That means I need more practice in order to overcome my problem. Other learning was getting such information by panelists. Each of us came with valuable information and statistics.
To sum up I would like to say that everyone should get free education at least at elementary level since right to education is fundamental human rights. It was clearly stated in Universal Declaration by United Nation.