Source: The Rising Nepal July 1, 2014
University (TU) is the oldest state-funded public university in Nepal.
Since its inception, TU has made unparalleled contributions to providing
higher education and human resource development in the country. TU has
been at the forefront to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in a
variety of fields. It’s among the biggest universities in the world
based on undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. And while there
are a number of newly established universities in Nepal, TU is still
considered by many as the best institution for higher learning and
producing talented professionals in the country.
being said, there are various issues that have affected the quality of
higher education in Nepal. TU has not been able to come out of its
traditional mind-set of faculty hiring, promotion, and running the
university administration. Excessive influence of non-academic elements
in the administration and student enrollment is becoming frequent and a
usual business in TU. Lack of basic infrastructure such as clean water
supply, electricity and well equipped libraries are some of the things
that have contributed to its underperformance.
Deteriorating academic environment
deteriorating academic environment of the university is pushing many
graduate students out of the country, and there is growing anxiety about
the future of the university as it is yet to experience the necessary
transformation in order to create a comfortable academic environment.
add to this, the Nepali government doesn’t seem distraught in any way
about it. It is disappointing to see that no political party of Nepal
has brought up issues related to academic independency or quality of
higher education into the formal discussion either in a public forum or
reforms are required in order to transform the current state of affairs
at Tribhuvan University to the level of the best South Asian
universities, such as the Indian Institute of Technology. This vision is
accomplishable, but only if it begins to move in the right direction as
an institute of learning. This requires multiple steps to be completed
in a lengthy transformation process.
infrastructure is the fundamental for quality teaching and research.
The future of any good university depends on modern infrastructure with
state of the art facility. Investments in infrastructure like clean
water supply, vehicular parking, electricity, computers, internet,
libraries and research equipment are the basic needs. Strengthening the
science and technology infrastructure in the central departments and
colleges is also the key for pursuing research in the modern sciences.
Without such resources, one can’t think of quality education and
research. TU, for decades, has had old infrastructure with little or no
maintenance. Maintenance of the existing facilities, including
buildings, instruments, lawns and gardens is essential.
and cleanliness of the university should be other important concerns
for the faculty, students and visitors. TU at Kirtipur campus is located
in a wonderful, quiet, hassle-free place. However, the campus is not a
clean and secure home for its students. Herds of cattle grazing in the
pastures in front of the Central Departments do not add any grace to the
university. For an institute like TU, cutting tall grass and building
more gardens around the campus are simple and accomplishable tasks. And
as other new universities improve their respective qualities, it’s
important that TU does the same to keep itself up.
all agree that TU has a great responsibility to provide affordable
quality education to the majority of the population. On the other hand,
we are living in a global society, and the world is rapidly changing. In
order to catch up with the rest of the world, students and faculty
members at TU should be involved in research-oriented projects.
is fundamental for creating knowledge, and students can demonstrate
their creativity if they’re involved in research activities. To create a
more research-friendly environment, TU should not hesitate to embrace
new innovative ideas. We are witnessing some of these alterations even
now. It has started a graduate programme leading to a PhD degree which
offers opportunities for basic research. PhD programmes should provide
extensive training and expertise in a specialised subject. By doing so,
students will have enhanced abilities to communicate in writing and
presenting in front of colleagues/mentors in theoretical, conceptual and
experimental results. To build upon these improvements, however,
graduate students seeking a PhD should take a graduate course and pass
the qualifying exams as well.
all acknowledge that the funds allocated by the government are not
enough to run the university due to its ballooning expenses. Therefore, a
public-private partnership is a necessity. TU can work together with
the private sector and the government to improve its academic and
research quality. There has been an upsurge in interest in investing in
higher education by the private sector in Nepal. TU can provide the
space, networks and workforce with expertise to solve the problems of
the private sector.
if the private sector can provide funds for research and infrastructure
development of TU, the national in general can benefit. It’s a win-win
approach benefitting all the parties involved. It’s definite that
without partnerships among the government, universities and private
sector, no world class university could be where they are today.
performing art and culture centers in TU, inviting recognised
musicians, artists, and arranging talk programmes for nationally and
internationally renowned scientists, career politicians or diplomats to
present their findings or talents will make the university more
attractive and friendly. Holding these types of events will also provide
opportunities for both students and faculty members to learn from their
potential and share experiences. We rarely see these activities in TU
at the moment.
Attracting competent people
reasonable salaries and a working environment to those who are working
in foreign institutions as research scholars wishing to return to Nepal
is just another way to attract competent people. The pursuit of higher
education outside the country is one of the main reasons of the brain
drain from developing countries like Nepal to the developed world. To
change this, the quality of the university’s education should be
upgraded. If our university’s education is stagnant, the trend of the
new generation leaving the country will continue to grow. It needs to
make sure that finance shouldn’t stop qualified students from receiving
an education at TU as well.
conclusion, TU has the potential to evolve as a modern vibrant national
university, provided it takes the needed reform measures. Great
location, favourable weather and the landscape of TU at Kirtipur campus
can be capitalised to attract not only Nepali graduates, but also
foreigners from various parts of the world. It should also protect the
interest of students without compromising on the quality of education.
However, this will remain wishful thinking unless TU decides to take