Dr. Bijaya Kumar Poudel


New education act has emasculated hard-earned legacy of private institutions


Dr. Bijay Kumar Poudel

Dr. Bijay Kumar Poudel—born in Arghakhanchi—is a pre-eminent appellation in both politics and educational spheres. Currently, he is the chairperson at Milestone International College, Ritz Hospitality and Management College, Milestone School and Rara Hill School administered by Himal Educational Foundation & Research Centre. He is also administrating Janata Television as chairperson. Dr. Poudel shares his views on Education Act, unveils his success stories, modus operandi and future plans that would play a meaningful role to tailor the status quo of Himal Foundation in the days to come. Excerpts:

Would you please share your views vis-à-vis recent Education Act?

Should we moot the eighth amendment of this education act, it has brought about more academic maelstroms than the previous one. The education act should be a facilitating guideline for contemporary society, but this act doesn’t address the need and aspirations of people in the academic sphere. An Act is supposed to provide legal frame for addressing the existing reality. However, the act has not embodied the spirit of the constitution.

The constitution has clearly defined that cooperatives are the other stakeholders of economy along with government initiatives and private sector. But this amendment gainsays the investment in academic sector from cooperatives. Not only that, this act has restricted new private companies to invest in the education sector. So, it is more regressive than the earlier act. Moreover, this act has envisioned all the investments from government sector only, which is impractical and whimsical. It would have been better if government had provisioned the private companies to shift to cooperative and promoted the cooperative sectors for more investment in academic sectors.

In fact, the government should be accountable for the assurance of quality education delivery, but our country has not reached that level. What we should understand is that even China—a developed country—has come back to the private investment in education sector, which sounds meaningful and appealing for the people concerned. Even the powerful nation should not fully make education a government’s responsibility. Mainly, most students study in government universities/colleges but to drop the exodus of students going to foreign lands, more numbers of private colleges/universities have emerged, which are highly venerated in China. In addition, in order to get foreign students to enroll in private universities and colleges—who can pay for quality education—China has given an optimum priority to private investment in education sphere.

Do you prefer cooperative model of investment in education sector to others?

No, all the models must be applied for the assurance of impartation of award-winning education. In such a case, the government should invest in education to its optimum level. When the government investment is inadequate, then cooperatives must be given priorities to invest /open and run universities and colleges. If private sector is willing to transfer its investment, the government should encourage them by waving off the taxes. Besides these aspects of academic priviledges, the government should encompass other sectors that can replenish the lacunas of financial insufficiency. But the recent education act has not considered other sectors than government’s sole investment. So, this education reformation appears to have been more appalling than that of autocratic Panchayat system.

What do you think is the way forward then?

The reformation in the act is requisite where cooperatives should be given priority to invest and administer schools/colleges after government investment. Therefore, the government should not ban on investment from private sector.


What sorts of academic practices did you come across in foreign lands?

All three models are found in foreign countries. I have recently visited China and the United Kingdom, and found that government-led schools and universities/colleges are well-facilitated there; however, private schools and colleges are not considered to be mediocre; they are flourishing there. Those private colleges and schools are open for those who wish for more facilities than that of government schools and colleges. Mostly, private colleges are servile to tycoons as the more the rich pay the better facilities they pledge to their offspring.

In the context of Nepal, the triadic economic policy—which has been adopted by the constitution—clearly defines the equal footing of government, cooperative and private sector for boosting up the national economy. To bring such act into enactment is to defy the spirit of the constitution. So, the government should let all the sectors remain in their jurisdiction and function.

‘The recent education act has clearly mentioned about the tiers of education: Basic Education, Secondary Education and University Education’. What type of education should the university level students get?

There are universal practices, traditions, systems and assumptions of university education, which must be addressed and met.

The existing system and practices should not be abruptly changed. In higher education, Nepal’s academic sector has been made laboratory time and again; it must be stopped.

While we talk about the university education, it should focus on research, innovation and application. And the secondary education should prepare students for further studies.

How did you get inspired to invest and embark on administering private colleges?

I wanted to contribute in academic sector. As I couldn’t envisage any contributions from the governmental sector, I gathered like-minded people and invested in this sector assuming that even in cheaper and moderate fee structure, quality education can be imparted. Although the government investment in education sector is more than ten times than that of private sectors, when we analyze the academic upshots of private sector it is at the forefront leaving the government efforts far behind. This could be true private sector has helped the government by producing quality human resources.

But it is a grim reality that the acts neither promote private sector nor the cooperatives. It only ensures commercial boost for foreign agents that encourage students to go abroad for higher education.

Could you possibly tell about the Himal Educational Foundation?

Himal Educational Foundation is a company, established to promote quality education that hoists the flag of private sector. It is a joint venture of Himal and Milestone. We have been running Ritz Hospitality and Management College in affiliation with Pokhara University, BBS program affiliated to Tribhuvan University, 10+2 program affiliated to NEB, Science & Technology College of Surveyor and Civil sub engineer affiliated to CTEVT and two schools: Milestone School and Rara School. Rara Hill School has been opened for those pursuing additional facilities and willing to pay slightly expensive fee.

Could you give us the data of the students studying under the umbrella of Himal Educational Foundation?

Ten plus to program at Milestone encompasses 800 students, and BBS has 150 enrollees whereas Ritz incorporates around 650 students. In addition, in Milestone School, there are 450 students studying and Rara Hill has a handful number of students.

How would you acknowledge the achievements of your graduates in global economy?

As far as our results status quo is concerned, we have managed to achieve excellent results; our pass percentage in any faculties has not even plummeted to 90% yet. Moreover, our BBA and BHM graduates have 100% job placement privileges. Similarly, a considerable number of 10+2 graduates have been able to secure their seats in Pulchowk Engineering Campus and IOE. This could be true some of our graduates have secured appealing employment opportunities across the nation and beyond.

What are the prime features of the schools and colleges administered under the Himal Educational Foundation?

We do not believe in threatening and terrorizing the students, so we do not have any discipline in charges at any colleges administered under Himal Education Foundation. Our motto is to prepare students to be responsible citizens and tailor their academic excellence. We focus on the intellectual salubriousness of our students and physical exercise through a range of extra-curricular activities. Therefore, our academic upshots have remarkable impacts on our graduates; as a result, their distinct approach of accomplishing things has astonished their colleagues in the workplace. They are not only excellent vis-à-vis academic degrees also they are capable of pinpointing life’s conundrums and conquering them in a facile way.

How do you aim to take the network further?

We are applying for engineering courses in bachelor and master levels; science courses, business administration and hotel management in master’s level. We have developed our infrastructure for agriculture campus so we have received a positive response from the vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University. However, ongoing political instability and uncertainty has emasculated our mojo of imparting quality education, and has become a conspicuous reason for propelling the fear of losing our hard-earned investment.

How should the private education sector function?

Private colleges should be able to function differently from public campuses in terms of their programmes and performances. Private campuses should run the programmes which are not in the pubic campuses or which have very few seats in government campuses. The courses of technical subjects like agriculture, science and hotel and hospitality management must be run by the private sector. Agro-based experts are highly employable in global economy now.

Would you like to convey any message that reaches a wider network of readers through College Readers?

I want to return to the first question that we should not go against each other since we have lots of responsibilities to educate young learners of the country and ensure the delivery of award-winning education. Since we have a common agenda, even private sector should not vilify the modus operandi of cooperatives and government, and cooperative shouldn’t spread futile criticism against the rest. In such a case, the government should be able to resolve stand-offish predicaments for the assurance of amicable relationship among these institutions since all of them have the identical aim to educate and prosper the nation. The constitution of Nepal has clearly stated that the roles of government, private and cooperatives are equal to strengthen national economy; its core value should not be trodden and neglected.


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