Government gearing up to set up open university


Himalayan News Service

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 With its new office — Open University Nepal Initiative — on the premises of the Ministry of Education, the government is gearing up to establish the much-awaited open university. 

However, the House must approve the Higher Education Bill, registered in the Parliamentary Secretariat, to establish the university. 

A 22-member steering committee, led by MoE secretary Shankar Prasad Pandey, has been formed to carry out the ground work. The ministry is working in coordination with Non-Resident Nepalis’ Association, Canada Foundation of Nepal and Athabasca Open University in Canada, to set up the open university. 

Member-Secretary of the OUNI, Pramod Dhakal, said they would run pilot programmes in coordination with Athabasaca University in the first phase. Initially, courses including information technology, distance education, rural information management will be offered. 

“In the pilot programme, we will develop courses that suit local groups, including rural, remote and marginalised communities,” said Dhakal. “Nepalis living abroad have already pledged Rs 10 million to set up the university,” informed the member secretary. 

Nepal will be the seventh SAARC country to have an open university. It is learned that the government has been allocating certain amount in its annual budget for the university for the past 10 years. However, the money has been spent only on seminars and discussions. 

The incumbent government has earmarked Rs 13 million for establishing the university to the University Grants Commission. 

Educationist Prof Bidhya Nath Koirala said the move was commendable despite delay. “Maoist combatants in cantonments, private students in the Tribhuvan University, 

bureaucrats and security personnel will be benefited by distance education.” Koirala added. Experts say that use of local FM radios and mobile phones can be used as teaching-learning medium.

(Source: The Himalayantimes)