TU authority presses ahead with semester system despite protests


Nirjana Sharma

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The Tribhuvan University has decided to press ahead with its plan to implement semester system at its central campus despite the ongoing protest against the move.
The TU authority has said that it has started taking admissions from Friday and the classes for master´s level programs under the semester system would begin soon. 
Though the announcement of the results of entrance exams of different faculties had to be put off due to the protests, it was finally published on Thursday evening. 
Respective faculties have already issued notice for admission, according to TU Registrar Chandra Mani Poudel.
Assistant Dean of the Education Department Chitra Bahadur Budhathoki told Republica that some departments would hold another round of entrance test as very few students were able to clear the earlier exam. Health, Mathematics and Education faculties are set to conduct entrance test again, said Budhathoki.
"While the ongoing protest is being held demanding increment in the number of seats in all faculties, entrance results show that there are not enough eligible students to fill even the allocated seats," Budhathoki said.
The English Department has got adequate number of students but other departments are facing a shortage of eligible students, he added. The second round of entrance exam has been scheduled for March 12 and 13.
The Management Department was another faculty to see comparatively higher number of students pass the entrance exam, according to the Management Faculty Dean Office. 
Assistant Dean Hari Bahadur Dahal told Republica that 192 students passed the entrance exam for the master´s degree in management which has 240 seats. The remaining 48 seats, Dahal said, will be fulfilled inclusively. 
Slamming the decision to publish entrance results despite the ongoing protest, the student unions have again confronted the TU authority on admission issue. Twelve student unions have threatened to scuttle the admission process unless their demands are fulfilled.
After all procedures are completed, the classes will be held from the first week of Chaitra, said TU Registrar Poudel. While the authorities are determined to press ahead with the new system, the TU teacher´s protest has entered another phase on Friday. Several organizations of the TU professors have jointly announced to stage hunger strike in their next phase of protest.
Along with 16 other demands of the teachers, the association is also highlighting the fact that the TU authority is not prepared to implement the new system. The protest was also to pressure the university over its failure to provide teachers their increased salary and facilities from the beginning of the current fiscal year.
The teachers are to stage protests till Friday to press other demands such as giving permanent status to 1,380 temporary teachers hired since 2006, and shifting the TU provident fund to the Employees´ Provident Fund. 
Prof Jagdish Chandra Bhandari, chairperson of the Nepal Professors´ Association, claimed that the TU, under the pressure from donors, is laying the groundwork for forcing students to pay high cost of education. The organization has threatened to launch protest programs if the decision is not scrapped. While the departments have already modified their courses of study to six months from the previous one-year, the system is set to incorporate a new internal-external evaluation method. 
Furious that the university departments distributed admission forms for classes to be conducted under the semester system despite warnings, 12 student unions on February 24 vandalized English and Sociology departments at the TU Central Campus. 
Chairperson of the All Nepal National Student Union Revolutionary (ANNISUR)--the student wing affiliated with the CPN-Maoist--Sharad Rasaili said that 12 students unions who are against the move are holding discussions for tougher protest against the authority. The unions are planning to negotiate with the TU so that at least some faculties in all the constituent colleges would be brought under the new system. 
How semester system varies from the current system
  1. Fixed number of seats 
  2. Admission only after passing entrance exam 
  3. Final exam every six months
  4. Greater emphasis on project works and assignments
  5. 40 % carryover marks based on student´s performance and attendance
  6. 15% of the total students enrolled in each faculty to receive full scholarship inclusively

Source: Republica National daily