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Title: Expereinces at School: Listening to Adolescents' Voices in Nepal
Authors: Adhikari, Tara
Keywords: Centre for Human Ecology
Aparna Joshi
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: TISS
Abstract: This study analyzes school experiences of Nepali adolescents comparing it with Western notion of adolescence to understand broadly the experiences of adolescents with a specific focus on their school experiences. The study was largely guided by theories and literature on the conceptualization of the adolescent stage. Accidental sampling of 12 adolescents of both genders, aged 14 to 16 and studying in Standard X formed the main data gathering means. This method was supported by the exposure provided by the internship at the school; record of it was maintained and was used to confirm what the adolescents reported or in furthering the probes in the interview process. The study revealed both positive and negative experiences of school. The most prevalent themes that emerged were academic pressure and anxiety as they were preparing for the Board examinations. They were also deprived of recreation and leisure activities. Teachers did not play a very significant role in their lives but family and peers were very important. Relation with the opposite sex did create issues for some adolescents and they seemed to be in the process of sorting them out or being comfortable about it. The conflict arose from the meaning t hat was attributed to being in a relationship at a young age when they had to focus on their academics. Girls were more in conflict with the cultural practice surrounding notions of pollution, cultural belief and behavioral restrictions during menstruation. Another grouse of the girls was about the restrictions placed on their movements and grooming; the reason being safety and the fact that should place an emphases on their study. Both boys and girls were found to be complaining about cut off from sports and technology. Those who had family conflicts, anxiety and emotional difficulties escalated. The study thus shows the urgent importance of listening to the adolescents’ voices in order to understand their issues and concerns so as to help and support them for smooth growing up experiences and developmental tasks. The study further showed that adolescence in Nepal is similar in many aspects to that of the Western concept. Yet there prevail differences that can be attributed to the familial and cultural context variations.
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