Student politics, that was so pervasive in government colleges inside Kathmandu valley a few years ago has been rapidly declining after implementation of the semester system in the Masters degree a few years ago.
Stakeholders said the mandatory minimum 80 per cent attendance of classes and the rule that makes it compulsory to submit regular assignments to teachers has discouraged students who used to join colleges to do politics during the years of the erstwhile annual education system.
Vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University Tirtha Raj Khaniya said the increased fee structures after implementing the semester system had also discourage the students who joined colleges to indulge in student politics and seek favors from party leaders.
“We have found that only genuine students who want to pursue career in their desired field join classes. They also attend classes regular. We have also experience rapid decrease in student activities that used to hinder regular classroom activities, especially when they padlocked the various departments in the colleges,” VC Khaniya said.
According to executive director at the Office of Planning Directorate at TU Hridish Kumar Pokhrel, they have recorded up to 70 per cent average pass results, which used to be 35 per cent before the semester system. Similarly, the drop-out percentage has come down to five per cent. It used to remain minimum 25 per cent a few years ago. Pokhrel said, “The record shows that more and more students are now focused on education rather than politics.”
TU in February 2017 banned the students older than 28 years from participating in student elections. The new rule also helped discourage students who used to join college to pursue their career in politics through student leadership, according to Pokhrel.
Department head of the Department of Journalism in TU, Chiranjibi Khanal also said that they have felt a decline in unnecessary activities arising from student politics that used to hamper the education system. “Apart from decline in unnecessary political interference, we have also found a rise in the attendance and pass percentage of students after implementation of the semester system,” Khanal said. He also highlighted the need to follow the academic calendar strictly at the University.
Youth student leaders spotted at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, Shankardev Campus and Trichandra Campus criticized the semester system saying it had left behind hundreds of poor students and students from remote areas that lacked competitive edge and knowledge by depriving them from admission in the master's degree program.
General Secretary of Nepal Students Union said, “Although the semester system looks like a step to regularize students, it has left out poor rural students who cannot pay high fees. They also cannot get admission in the colleges due to the tough admission process. Neither can they keep up with the new and highly English-based teaching system.”
Secretary of All Nepal Free Student Union R C Lamichhane said the number of students joining the union has not declined even after implementation of the semester system. “A large number of students come to join our union to learn about politics and leadership.”