The education minister today tabled the Rajarshi Janak University 2067 (RJU) bill in parliament keeping aside the Higher Education Bill 2067, which aims to streamline all universities and pave the way for open university, an umbrella bill for universities.
It is learnt that the RJU bill was brought for the Nepali Congress on the recommendation of NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi as per the power-sharing deal for establishing universities.
“It is unfortunate. Coming up with such universities without preparation and feasibility study is like opening a private boarding school,” said former vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University Kamal Krishna Joshi, talking to this daily.
“Universities should be based on a cluster of some well established colleges for addressing local needs such as Mid-Western University, Agriculture University and Far Western University that came last year,” said Professor Bidhya Nath Koirala.
More importantly, the Higher Education Act was meant to set objectives, uniform rules and a sovereign body of Higher Education Commission for managing and monitoring all the universities in the country, which has been ignored.
Sources said the next bill — Madan Bhandari Pradhyagik University bill — will be tabled in the legislature on behalf of CPN-UML soon.
There are three other bills in the pipeline, namely Nepalgunj University, Birgunj University, and Higher Education Bill.
The government has not appointed vice-chancellors for the Far Western University, Mid Western University, and Agriculture University even two years after the Acts were passed.
In all this, the fate of the higher education bill seems to be in dark, at a time when officials of Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University continue to lobby against it on the one hand, and political parties want to keep on opening universities at their whim on the other.
(Source: The Himalayan Times: Published in The Himalayantimes on June 29, News by: Rudra Pangeni)