Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” says a Chinese proverb. The relevance of the adage has become more important in today’s advanced and competitive world. With skills in hand, man can fare much better in life and become successful.
In Nepal, following the establishment of the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) in 1989, various private institutions have got affiliation throughout the country and they have committed to produce skilled manpower for various sectors. Also, the production of engineers from various universities has led to a rise in the number of technical manpower in the country. Hence, experts believe that Nepal has sustained itself in producing skilled manpower and the days are long gone when one would have to go abroad even to acquire small technical skills.
Technical and Vocational Education
Relatively cheaper, short-term courses and easy-to-get jobs with skills at hand have attracted hundreds of students on an annual basis to technical and vocational education . While some can get enrolled in the education programme, known as the diploma course, right after one completes his/her School Leaving Certificate, others can go for the Technical SLC (TSLC) level. Data show that every year 14,000 students enrol for the diploma programme, while 19,000 get admitted to the technical SLC level.
A total of 423 colleges and training centres provide various courses, ranging from nursing and health assistant courses to pharmacy and computer engineering courses. These colleges boast of infrastructure that can handle an annual intake of over 25,000 students.
Kasyap P Poudel, Chairman of Forum for Health and Technical Sciences, said that among the various courses, nursing is the first choice of students. He attributes this attraction to the cheap course and the number of years needed to complete it—three years. “Nepal is still reeling under a shortage of nurses. And students, after completing their course, can easily find a job placement,” Poudel said.
According to him, in Nepal, colleges have 3,800 seats for nursing students under the CTEVT. This course, also known as PCL Nursing, is of three years. After completing their SLC exams, students can get enrolled in any of the colleges offering the subject.
Poudel said students are also attracted to pharmacy, radiography, ophthalmic sciences, dental assistant and food technology, among others.
Diploma in Pharmacy, Radiography, ophthalmic sciences, Dental Assistant and Food Technology are three-year courses. Students with an SLC certificate can enroll in the course. The TSLC level has basically one-year to two-and-a-half-year course in various subjects. Under Agriculture, the TSLC offers the Junior Technician Course (JTA course) in Livestock Production/Animal Health, a 15-month course, while under food technology, this course offers Food Technical Assistant, a course that lasts for a year and three months.
Similar courses are offered in health and engineering .
Engineering courses in Nepal
The establishment of the Institute of Engineering under the Tribhuvan University was an organised effort in the engineering education sector in the county in 1972. The private sector ventured into it in 1994 with the establishment of the Nepal Engineering College.
All the four universities—Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, Pokhara University and Purbhanchal University—provide engineering courses in the country.
According to Rameshwor Rijal, Chairman of the Association of Engineering College Nepal, there are 39 colleges that offer engineering courses . “We have an annual intake of around 6,000 students,” Rijal said.
He said around 30 of the engineering colleges are located in Kathmandu Valley. He added that students are more interested in civil engineering .
According to him, the fee structure is around Rs 700,000 to Rs 750,000 for the four-and-a-half-year course, depending on the college.
Engineering has many streams. In Nepal 2,249 seats are available for Civil Engineering (see related courses, to find same degree offered in other university) , 333 for Architect 1,431 for Electronics and 284 seats for electrical engineering. Similarly, computer engineering has 1,364 seats, while Information Technology has 114 and environmental engineering has 48 seats.
“All of these seats are packed. We are planning to increase the number,” Rijal said, adding that students are also interested in industrial and aeronautical engineering , of late.
“Engineers from Nepal are also in demand in various countries like India,” Rijal said. “The advancement in computer technology has also increased the demand for IT and computer engineers.”
Speaking about the local market, Rijal said new big projects such as hydropower and the rapid construction of high-rise buildings have provided jobs to engineers. “Also, the trend of hiring engineers on contract basis is also on the rise.
People are conscious of the houses they build, either for living or for office purposes, and they constantly engage engineers in the designing work,” Rijal said. “Although there are engineers in the telecommunication sector, new telecommunication technologies entering the country is good news for engineers.”
He said various engineers have been working on the project outsourced by various firms around the world. “From computer tasks to building designing, this has also been an area where engineers are engaged.”
Source: This article was originally published in The Kathmandu Post