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Uncertainty Surrounds IOE Entrance Exam as Fee Dispute Continues

September 25, 2023
Uncertainty Surrounds IOE Entrance Exam as Fee Dispute Continues
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The resolution of the fee dispute at Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering (IOE) has cast uncertainty over the scheduling of the Bachelor's level (BE) entrance examination. While universities such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, Purbanchal, and others have successfully conducted entrance exams and admitted students, IOE's entrance examination remains pending.

The criteria for admitting students to the IOE's 5 government and 10 private campuses are based solely on merit. Approximately 12,000 students were preparing for the entrance exam in other colleges for undergraduate programs. The entrance exam, which was scheduled for Bhadra 19, had been postponed due to the fee dispute. Professor Hari Ram Parajuli, coordinator of Pulchowk Campus, recommended a fee revision of NPR 5,54,000 for the BE program, which has been suggested by the Fee Review Committee. With the decision pending from the Engineering Dean's Office, the fate of the entrance examination remains uncertain. 

On Shrawan 25, the IOE had increased the tuition fee from NPR 3,18,000 to NPR 7,77,000. Based on the recommendation of the Fee Review Committee, Assistant Dean Sushil Bahadur Bajracharya had proposed the decision to set the fee at NPR 7,77,000. Following this, students had launched a protest, including a hunger strike.

In response to the protest, the Executive Council, led by Vice-Chancellor Dharma Kant Banskota, reached an agreement and directed to cancel the fee hike. Subsequently, a Fee Review Committee, led by Parajuli along with student representatives, was formed to review the fee. The committee was given a seven-day deadline to submit its report. Even though the committee had submitted its final report, an associate professor revealed that the office had not made a decision to collect the fee again.

In IOE, there hasn't been a tuition fee increase since the academic year 2053/2054. At that time, it was proposed to increase the fee by 10 percent annually. However, the Dean's Office was unable to implement the annual fee increment, and at one point, they even raised it by more than double the proposed rate.

After determining the fee, the Dean's Office has stated that they will conduct the entrance examination for students only once the fee is collected. The Fee Review Committee has also recommended keeping the fees for Chemical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering at NPR 5,54,000, which was previously increased to NPR 6,00,000 for these two subjects. The committee consisted of professors, staff, and student representatives.

The students will have a 2-3 day window to fill out application forms once the entrance examination date is confirmed.  When the entrance examination is delayed, students are concerned about seeking admission abroad and in other universities, and there is also the risk of IOE's seats being filled up in the end. An instructor remarked, "Many students aspire to study at IOE, but if they can't get in there, they will go to other colleges. If the entrance examination and admission process at IOE are delayed, students may not find a place there, and admissions elsewhere might already be open."

There is a quota for admission in the 15 colleges affiliated with IOE, which amounts to 4,023 seats. It is estimated that around 12,000 students will appear for the entrance examination to secure these seats. Among them, 610 students will be admitted in the regular category, paying full tuition fees, and 1,430 students will be admitted under the regular quota with scholarships.

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