More than two years since the devastating earthquake, not a single university or college building destroyed in the disaster has been rebuilt.
Records at the University Grants Commission show that more than 200 buildings suffered full or partial damage in the Gorkha Earthquake. The delay on the government’s part, according to the UGC, is the main reason behind the lack of action.
Fifty-four college buildings collapsed and 80 others were partially damaged, in addition to 90 which suffered minor damages in the twin earthquakes of April 25 and May 12. The total number of classrooms fully destroyed in the disaster stood at 454 while 468 classrooms were partially damaged and 553 suffered minor damage.
Colleges under the Tribhuvan University, Nepal Sanskrit University and the Agriculture and Forestry University suffered the most in the disaster. Binod Bhattarai, an officer at the commission, said the government had released hardly Rs200 million for reconstruction projects in the fiscal year 2016/17. According to an estimate, reconstruction for the entire property will cost between Rs7 and Rs8 billion.
The UGC, the government entity that oversees the universities, distributes grants to the institutions from the amount released to it from the state coffers.
The main administrative building of TU, the largest and oldest varsity of the country, which had the offices of the vice-chancellor, the rector and the registrar, was totally destroyed in 2015. The Nepal Commerce Campus and the Office of the Controller of Examination are among the structures that suffered damage. Currently, reconstruction of only the main TU administrative building is going on. The government had announced to complete reconstruction of all the academic buildings within three years. However, given the delay, it is unlikely that the task will be over even in five years.
The Steering Committee of the National Reconstruction Authority attaches no priority to reconstruction of the properties belonging to colleges and universities. Though the committee endorsed a Rs145.93 billion budget for the new fiscal year, it includes no funds for colleges and universities. Currently around 420,000 students have been enrolled in colleges under several universities, with around 85 percent belonging to the TU alone. According to NRA, of the 8,680 schools that needed reconstruction, only 2,100 were rebuilt by the end of FY 2016/17.
Source: The Kathmandu Post