Narayan Pokhrel is the Business Development Director of Texas Int’l Education Network, Chabahil Kathmandu. Currently, Texas College of Management & IT, Texas International College and Texas International Secondary School run under Texas Int'l Education Network.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges, many schools are committed to overcoming them in the smartest way possible.
One way schools and college are doing that is by delivering education remotely. This ensures students to move forward in their education.
Edusanjal presents conversation with Mr. Narayan Pokhrel to discuss about the scenario of education aftermath of COVID-19.
1. What may be the present and future effect on educational institutions (school and college) during and after COVID-19?
In this present situation all academic institutions are seriously in critical condition. The effect of this pandemic may last for some years in them.
Regarding academics, I am hopeful that that upcoming situation will be far better. Students who were accustomed to study only inside the four walls, practiced new way of learning. They became friendly with technology. Children those who used to play games and watch movies started using the same gadget for educational purpose. Classes are defined in a new way. We used to hear that children in some countries use gadgets to study but now we are practicing it. Though we have Open University, distance learning was not familiar to us but our education community started the discussion.
2. What are the opportunities and challenges of online classes?
COVID-19 is a curse to the whole world but it is said every challenge comes with an opportunity the same is happening in our academic context. I have already addressed that online classes defined the classroom in a new way. It has changed the behavior of students too. The way of teaching and learning has been changed. Virtual classes are addressed as an authentic platform by government and the regulatory bodies like TU which is new development in our context.
Certainly, there are challenges too our data shows that only 17 percent of students are in the access of internet. Many are in deprived condition who cannot pay for the internet. Many parents and guardians lack the proper gadgets for the class. But my opinion is that this is not the time to go against the virtual teaching rather it is the time to sort the problem and put an extra effort to minimize it.
3. What is your view on the government's latest response and decision about educational institutions like school and college? (Private sector focused)
Government is the parent of all the organizations from private to public. I don’t think parents will be happy seeing some children in a problem. Yes, there may be some issues of government with private sectors that does not mean the private sectors are to be left alone in this critical condition.
Private sectors have major contribution in academic sector of Nepal, regarding quality and service. It is not true that government schools and colleges are imparting education for free rather government is investing a huge amount where the result is not satisfactory. So, I mean to say to run organization we need money where private sectors are collecting from parents. Now also, almost all the organizations are providing classes through different virtual platforms. Certainly they have to pay for the faculties, so they should be allowed to collect some amount from the students. This is the time for cooperation and support, hope the government will work to find the amicable solution.
4. Texas College is popular for IT studies; why do the students choose Texas?
Texas is for IT studies because of the quality we are imparting. From grade 11 onwards we are orienting our students to be friendly with technology. This is not only the time to study and secure good marks rather students should be equally smart and updated with modern development. They should be able to bridge the education with modern technology to be competitive and demanding in the global market.
The bachelor students at Texas are equally focused on professional education with the regular curriculum. We are running incubation center with focus on professional development of students. Our collaboration with different IT industries nationally and internationally has provided an opportunity for the students to be updated with the modern development in global context. Texas is equally focusing on academic and professional development of students. The regular trainings in collaboration with different IT industries has motivated our students to be familiar with the latest development in market.
5. Why Texas International College for higher education?
We have 13 higher programs including bachelor and masters level in the fields of IT, Management, and Humanities. All the programs have the common motto to make the students smart, updated and professional. Higher education at Texas is not only limited within curriculum, it is the empowerment of students along with different national and international professional trainings. Texas equally focuses on skills along with academic certificate. Weekly, we conduct a career day for the students that will help them to be more familiar with the development in job market. We regularly conduct career fair where the trained students will compete for their career in different organizations and companies. Career day is still in progress in this lockdown where students of masters and bachelor are actively participating.
6. What are the key challenges of private sector educators?
In this situation the first challenge is of existence. As a whole there is a tragedy that many students are studying in private schools and colleges and the perception towards private sector is not friendly and positive. Private sectors are always blamed that they are working only for income, their service towards people and society is always in shade. So the major challenge is to change the perception. We have seen our students going abroad and the world's powerful countries in economy are generating income through foreign students. I request all the concerned authorities to support private education and make Nepal as an educational hub through which we can earn foreign currency.
7. How can we make the motivation spirit and working mood intact of our teaching and non teaching staff in school, college and university?
Firstly, we should focus on the friendly environment. Professional ethics and excellence is equally important. Staffs and faculties should keep themselves updated in related fields. The organization should keep different trainings that motivate them and increase their efficiency. Professional and friendly relation inside the workplace always boosts the working environment.
8. What can we do for the positive engagement of our kids and students during pandemic?
Firstly, I request parents and guardians to spend the good time with their children, teach them to learn common things at home, play with them, and teach them the common behavior. Home is the first school of every child and it is time to prove it. Many students are taking online classes and parents can help them to use the gadgets in academic purpose. Let’s not only complain the children that they are addicted to the games rather help them to use the same device in productive way.
9. Can we run and maintain academic sessions regularly in the current scenario ?
Till now it’s not too late for yearly system courses, we can maintain the session if we manage the holidays. But the problem is for the semester system students. They are supposed to upgrade in every six months and it has been late to make decision for them. Government can upgrade them to the immediate semester since all the universities have approved the virtual mode of teaching. They can take examination of both semesters keeping some time difference but students should not be victimized; their 4 years course should not be extended. Recently, TU has made different decision regarding virtual class and exam which is really praiseworthy.
10. What will be the impact of COVID-19 on the financial management of educational institutions?
It is one of the serious problem private education is facing. The only source of private school and colleges is collection from students and major expenses is on faculties, staffs and rent. Students are not paying to the institution and the institutions are making their regular expenses; the question is how long they can afford.
Financially the academic organizations will face more problems. There may be many organizations that may permanently close and many will not able to pay their staffs and faculties. The effect will last for some years, so the future is demanding the cooperation between all the stakeholders of organizations.