Higher education in need of comprehensive policy

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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The Himalayan Times: Higher education seems to be rudderless, thanks to lack of proper policies governing it. The government has forwarded a higher education (HE) bill to the Parliament Secretariat with a view to bringing all nine universities, which have been operating under separate acts, under its purview.

Surprisingly, four individual university bills precede the umbrella bill, depicting a short-term vision of the government.

As if this were not enough, there is no comprehensive higher education policy with a long-term vision. The current tertiary education adheres to the ageold vision that is losing relevance in this age of innovation and cutthroat competition in the job market. On top of it, there are separate regimes to finance the operation of the nine universities that have added to the policy confusion.

Policies on higher education keep changing with successive governments introducing their own piecemeal strategies through budget and programmes. No government has brought a comprehensive policy on higher education, according to Prof Tirtha Khaniya.

“Universities are established through budget or for political party leaders. The Tarai may witness demographic chaos as most of the institutes of higher education are based in the Tarai,” says Khaniya, adding that this also points at policy confusion. Amid this chaotic situation, University Grants Commission has announced that it will prepare an integrated policy document to govern higher education.

UGC chairman Ganesh Gurung holds that a higher education policy should be drafted before making laws in this regard.

(Source: The Himalayantimes, Published in December 13)