The University Grants Commission awarded grants to 1.5 per cent of the total deserving students, spending less than 0.5 per cent of its whopping Rs 10 billion budget in the fiscal 2014-15.The UGC record shows that it provided Rs 5 million in grants to a total of 244 students out of 14, 838 deserving graduates. .
Formed as an autonomous institution, UGC awards grants for research, scholarship and fellowship programmes. Twenty-three students were awarded PHD fellowship in 2014-15. Similarly, 42 out of 120 M Phil students and 99 masters level students out of 14,630 graduates were awarded grants. UGC said students were receiving an average Rs 25,000.
Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala said UGC was providing grant to the candidates on the basis of political influence. He opined that UGC should disperse grants to colleges and universities rather than students themselves. Similarly, students who are receiving grants from the UGC grant are also not satisfied with the money they receive. .
Dr Saligram Pokharel completed his PHD thesis in 2016 and is frequently visiting the UGC. He is hoping to receive Rs 60,000 for his continuous seven years of efforts. “UGC does not respect hard working researchers,” he said. Most of the masters level students of Nepali literature in Ratnarajya Laxmi Campus said they didn't know the UGC grant programme even existed. .
Asked why so few students received research grant, UGC Director Deepak Kumar Khadka said, “We hear the ministers stressing the need for research-based higher education, but the budget the government provides is largely used to pay employees. We, however, are trying our best to provide grants to as many students as possible.”.
UGC spends most of its Rs 10 billion budget on salaries and infrastructure development of Tribhuvan University, its constituent colleges and community colleges.
Source: The Himalayantimes, published in 20th Sept, 2017