Kathmandu, July 29 (RSS): The teachers and the students of the Rampur-based Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) have demanded the University authority scrap its Executive Council's decision to grant affiliation to seven private colleges. Organizing a press conference here on Sunday, they called for the earliest withdrawal of the decision on affiliation.
Although the University had decided to establish 10 Constituent Colleges, only 4 have been established so far. The Council on July 5 had decided to grant affiliation to private colleges. Ever since the protest from professors and students alike, the teaching learning activities in the university and its Constituent colleges have been adversely affected.
Nepal University Teachers' Association Treasurer Homnath Giri accused that the University administration had intended to encourage privatization and thus decided to grant affiliation to the private colleges.
He reminded that the socialism -oriented constitution has incorporated education as a fundamental right noting the need to make it affordable. Similarly, Nepal Progressive Teachers Organization's Udit Prakash Sigdel blamed that the criteria set for the constituent and private colleges were flawed. He demanded formation of a high-powered Agriculture Education Council to regulate the agriculture sector.
Likewise, Professor Shankar Barsila asserted that the University would offer education to larger number of students managing the existing the human resources and the physical infrastructures in an affordable fee. ANNFSU University Unit President Hemraj Kathayat warned that their protest will continue until the decision is withdrawn.
The AFU, established in 2010, had recently granted affiliations to seven private campuses in Jhapa, Itahari in Sunsari, Lalitpur, Nawalparasi, Banke and Surkhet for running the Bachelor’s degree classes in agriculture. The protesting professors and students had recently handed over memorandum to the Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel, also the Vice-Chancellor of the University, drawing his attention towards withdrawal of the decision.
CPN Central member Thakur Gaire stated that education should not be viewed as a commodity and condemned its commercialization. Another CPN Central member pressed for a clear viewpoint on matters relating to education sector such as attracting foreign investment, establishment of constituent and private colleges.