Mid-western University's higher fees draw ire of students



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Students at three colleges in Surkhet district, which are all set to be merged into the newly-established Mid-western University (MU), will now have to pay higher fees.

Mid-western University has recently set fees for various levels, which are far higher than those of Birendranagar Multiple Campus, Surkhet Campus (education) and Public Science Campus -- which the MU plans to develop into its base colleges. While Surkhet Campus was a constituent college of the Tribhuvan University (TU), Birendranagar Multiple Campus and Public Science Campus were affiliate colleges of TU. With the announcement of the fee structure by Mid-western University, most of the students of these colleges are likely to join other less-expensive colleges. 

The expensive fee structure by MU has drawn ire of student leaders. “Mid-western University was established after a long struggle by the people of the midwestern region,” said Bhupendra Jung Shahi, a former Nepal Students Union (NSU) leader who hails from remote Kalikot district. “MU´s expensive fee structure means the regional university has nothing to offer to the poor students of the country´s poorest region.” 

Jhalak Bhandari, secretary of Free Students Union (FSU) at Birendranagar college, says, “Mid-western University has announced its fee structure by completely ignoring the ecnomic conditon of the students of the midwestern region.” Bhandari said that some students of these three colleges have already shifted to other colleges after Mid-western University announced its fee structure.

The MU fee structure is higher than those of TU constituent colleges and some other private colleges. For Edcuation prgoram, the most sought-after by students from the lower middle class, Mid-western University has set fee four times higher than that of Surkhet Campus. While Surkhet Campus charged only Rs 14,000 for three-year Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) course, Mid-western University has decided to charge Rs 67,500 for the same course. 

While Birendranagar college charged Rs 14,500 for BBS and BA degrees each, MU has decided to charge Rs 49,000 and Rs 44,000 for these two courses respectively. Similarly, while colleges affiliated to Purbanchal University (PU) are charging Rs 80,000-Rs 100,000 for masters degree in journalism and mass communications, Mid-western University has decided to charge Rs 132,000. Other courses are also expensive at MU.

Mid-western University Dean Pitambar Dhakal tries to justify the expensive fee structure by arguing that MU has introduced semster system and applied practical teaching method. “The education we offer at MU will be job-oriented,” said Dhakal. “Our students will not have to be jobless. They will easily land jobs as compared to students from other universities.”

(Source: Republica National daily)