An Interview with the Principal of Shuvatara School, Rani Gurung Kakshyapati about her teenage years.

On being the head of school

1. The future of Nepal literally rests on your shoulders, what does that mean to you? How big of a responsibility is it? 

It gives a feeling of concern and responsibility that whatever you do, say or teach is picked up bup like magnets by the young ones. It feels good when you get positive response Sometimes, it can depress you because the results don’t seem to work out the way you it to.


 2. How hectic is your job? Your daily routine?

It’s very, very busy, especially as you want to give the kids a lot of all rounded education. A day is never the same as the other. There are always new challenges, new way to do things. It can get dull if you allow your mind to get into a rut.


3. How often do you meet with your students? When you see them, what
> do you think/are reminded of? 

I don’t get a chance to meet with them personally every day, but I am always on top of their activities, attitudes, problems and achievements. I am reminded that they are sweet, innocent and eager, a bit of a brat sometimes, but nevertheless beautiful inside with great potential that need to be tapped on.   


On the education system of Nepal

4. Where do you think Nepali schools stand compared to the international institutions?

We are way behind in teacher training, child centered approaches, curriculum adaptation to modern needs, but Nepal is a land with many challenges. 
w cannot compare our schools directly with others. Sometimes, schools can get into a fashionable bandwagon, where the teaching methods are not child centered, but the facilities are all above the board.  If you put a very highly paid, trained teacher in a school set up with minimum facilities, they simply cannot perform well. They need all their equipments and a good salary. Whereas, a lowly paid and trained teacher still works in a poorly equipped government school and produces results, that is the harder thing to do. We need to retrain our teachers in child centered education, honor them, support their leaning and development and supervise their work.


5. Do you think schools in Nepal are shaping children to be intelligent citizens that the future needs, and perhaps deserves?

This depends on the different realities that the schools have to cope up with. If the teachers are not trained properly or supervised or motivated, they will not work well. If we do not change our teaching methods and curriculum according to the needs of the times, we will fall behind.


6. On being a student of an earlier era.

I guess we were a little less demanding back then. We respected teachers, it came very natural to us that we truly respect them. Today, the kids seem to want verifications, proofs and challenge theories, which by no means am saying is bad, but just different from our times. Today, the teachers have to go that extra mile to fulfill the expectations of their students and that in a way is very positive change. 


7. What kind of a student were you when you were young?

I was a very happy, active, sensitive and an inquisitive student. Always asking difficult questions, sometimes even bordering to embarrassing to adult. But that proved very helpful for me in the long run.


8. How were you as a teenager? What were you interested in? What
your hobbies like?

I used to love to dress up and look nice like any other youngster of today. But I was also into a lot of family activities, doing social work here and there and organizing events for my community and so on. I was socially active and spent ample time in reading books. Philosophy being my favorite genre.


9. Any fond memories of school that you would want to share?

Yes, the beautiful gardens, the peaceful chapel, the school fetes, various games and competitions, indulging in music, singing songs, following my favorite teacher, being pampered by her and even the grueling examinations, yes, I miss them all.     

10. With modern technology at its best and expectations getting higher by the day, do you think it is more difficult or easier to lead a life of a student today?

Yes, schools today are all turning pretty high tech. Its almost like a fashion that is catching up, to please the parents who like their children are studying in the most expensive school in town. But quality is not quite achieved by just placing the kids among high tech machines alone. There has to be the good old balance between development of the head, heart and the spirit to prepare kids to face all the social, environmental, educational and ethical challenges they are bound to face in their lifetime. A good machine can never replace a good teacher. It may however, make life easier, and no doubt machines are a good support engine for today’s education world but to teach and inculcate values of honesty, kindness, accountability and many more, a good teacher is just irreplaceable.      


11. How do you think you'd have fared if you were a student in this new, modern era?

I really don’t know. I would however never be the rude kind as my family would never let me be that way. Other than that, I really cant think of anything besides the fact that my parents and my family would make sure that I would get the love, time and attention from my teachers as always.

12. Which school did you attend? Have you incorporated some
of the school you studied in the school of your own?

I went to Loreto Darjeeling and yes I suppose the emphasis on value education and good manners came from the implicit example of my teachers.

13. Since you are the 'head of school', a leader, what qualities you
suppose should a leader possess?

Well, a leader should be compassionate, humble but strong from the inside. I see myself as a fair and a friendly principal.