Akash's Rural Educational Experience

We are fortunate to have met Chandra "Akash" Rai. He went through the Nepali rural education system and is one of the few who succeeded.

Growing up in Chhinamakhu village, Chandra had to start the day before the sun had risen to finish his chores. He had to chop firewood, feed animals, and thrash rice before being allowed to go to school, and there was always a lot more work to do. His brothers knew how much he wanted to go to school, and they made personal sacrifices by taking over his workload. Chandra, at times, had to go to school without eating, as everyone was extremely busy. After all these struggles to get to the school, few teachers would not show up on occasion, or show up late, and at times, show up drunk. When Chandra sat down, he would often wonder whether it would have been a better idea to go fishing with his friends. If he did not understand the textbook materials or failed to do his homework, his teachers would often beat him for being a slow learner. This discouraged him and made him avoid those classes entirely. When he made it home after his long day at school, he had to walk an hour to tend to animals at the family stables, which were located high up on a different hill. The environment at home was not conducive to learning because his parents and siblings lacked the time to be involved in his education after their chores.

Somehow, against all these odds, Chandra managed to pass his 10th grade SLC national examination and move to Kathmandu, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and a Master’s Degree in Political Science. He is one of the few Rais, and the only one from his class, who has achieved this level of success in education. He has practiced law in Kathmandu. Currently, he is working towards obtaining an attorney license to practice law in the United States.

Two things that could have made the most difference in his childhood education were a support structure to assist him with his education and the quality of teaching in the village. He would have benefitted from the extra assistance outside of school to understand how to become a better learner. In addition, having effective teachers who possessed better teaching principles, rather than those who relied on physical discipline, could have positively impacted his early educational experience.