Sudur Paschim: Setting Academic Benchmarks amid Challenges

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Far Western Province has set ample examples of prosperity that can be attained through collective efforts. In earlier days, the Far Western Region had been stranded in a resolute place, which was deprived of even mainstream of educational privileges. Most students of this region would go to Kathmandu or India for further studies after SLC. Subsequently, higher education in Far Western Region emerged aggressively from its nascent stage after the establishment of two campuses- Doti Multiple Campus in Doti and Siddhanath Science Campus in Mahendranagar by 2038 BS.

The oldest campus of Far Western-Doti Multiple Campus— was established in 2017 B.S. just a year after the establishment of Tribhuvan University with noble aim at imparting knowledge among those who had been socially, economically and academically stranded.

Establishment of college at that time was such a great milestone for a historically prominent place like Doti district. Ever since the establishment of this institution, it has been continuously providing education in the most effective way possible, and has succeeded in preparing skilled human resources in every sector of development in the most prolific way. Doti Multiple Campus has travelled thousands of miles, but yet, it has a long journey ahead before it will herald an academic revolution. Currently, it offers BA, B.Ed. BBS, BCA, and MA in Sociology and Nepali.

Siddhanath Science Campus, established in 2033 BS in Mahendranagar, is a constituent campus of Tribhuvan University. There prevails unanimity for campus development among all the stakeholders including political parties, parents, representatives of the municipality, District Development Office, etc.  Most of the officials and parents are the graduates of this campus. So, there is a sense of belongingness among all concerned.

It is mainly catering to the students from Kanchanpur and at least nine adjoining districts, mainly of the students are the first generation in higher education, many of them are from dalit and disadvantaged Janajati groups.

Siddhanath Science Campus has overcome many challenges and embraced many achievements. It must be a pride and prestige of Far Western Region because it is the standalone science campus in this area which consists of qualified teachers, quality production and efforts of diverse developments. So, Siddhanath Science Campus has become a centre of education adequacy in the far western region of Nepal. In addition, Siddhanath Science Campus, the glory of Far Western Region, has earned its name and fame in science faculty across Nepal.

If I reminisce about the past, it was not allowed to open a community campus. The increasing flow of students in TU campuses could not be borne only by community colleges so gradually the permission was granted to open other colleges with the support of local people. Then the scarcity of educational opportunities after SLC created an urgent social demand for establishment of a campus in this region. The people of this region took the initiative for the establishment of a campus. In the history of community campus in Nepal, at first, twenty two community campuses were opened in 2037.  Out of twenty two campuses, Kailali Multiple Campus in Dhangadhi and Siddhanath Multiple Campus in Mahendranagar were opened at first. As per the request of people of Kailali, Nepal Government granted 27 bigas of land in eastern part of Dhangadhi town where the campus premises are located at present. It is the first community campus in the Far Western Region followed by Siddhanath Multiple Campus where Far Western University is running its programs merging this campus into university.

Kailali Multiple Campus— a QAA certified college by the UGC for its excellence in higher education— is a leading campus among community campuses across Nepal. It has been ranked number one by UGC among the community campuses of Nepal. It has the largest number of students. About nine thousand students are studying here from plus two level to master degree. Currently, it offers plus two programs in Science, Management, Hotel Management, Education and Humanities, affiliated to NEB and BBS, BBM, B.Sc., BA, B.Ed., BBA, BSW, MBS, MA, M.Ed nad MBA-E, affiliated to TU.

Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), established in 1982 for promoting science and technology in the country, has contributed a lot to higher education sphere. Therefore, the institution is a pride of far western region as it has created a milestone in academic destinations. Currently, it offers plus two programs in Science and Management, affiliated to NEB and BCA, BBA, BE Civil, affiliated to Pokhara University.

Sudur Paschimanchal Academy is also a leading educational institution in the far western in higher education. It has been running programs from plus two level to master’s degree. It offers plus two programs in Science, Management, Humanities and Education, affiliated to NEB and BBS, BA, B.Ed., BIM, BHM, M.Ed., MBS and MA, affiliated to TU.

In the history of education in the far western, Aishwarya Vidya Niketan is pride of all the far western people.  Aishwarya Vidya Niketan, is one of the leading and excellent centers of education in Nepal. The products of the institution both in national and international level are igniting the aura of high reputation of AVN. It facilitates education from school level to university level.

Radiant Secondary School, situated in Mahendranagar is an excellent institution for plus two programs in Science and Management and has achieved a well-proven track record for the last 18 years with the attainment of excellent results from the very beginning. Likewise, Florida International School, Little Buddha Secondary School, International Public Secondary School, Sunrise Secondary School, which are situated in Mahendranagar, have proved to be excellent institutions for providing quality education from Nursery to Grade Twelve.

Both cities like Dhangadhi and Mahendranagar have ensconced themselves to be the fountains of dispatching excellent human resources in management field. NAST, Kailalli Multiple Campus, and Western Business School, situated in Dhangadhi and Amity College and Brixton College, situated in Mahendranagar are running BBA programs with the demand of the international market. Sudur Paschimanchal Academy is the standalone institution which runs BIM program in the far western province.

In comparison with other provinces, Sudur Paschim (Far Western) Province has a fewer technical and health institutions. In Private Sector, the contribution of Dr. Netra Raj Chataut is praiseworthy as he managed to establish Seti Nursing Campus and Farwest School of Medicine in Mahendranagar. About a dozen of technical and medical institutions have been established. CTEVT affiliated programs like Diploma in ……have been offering.

Far Western University is the jewel of the far western province although it has been looming over political influences. It has comprises fourteen community colleges in province 7 from nine districts as constituent colleges of the university. It is a phenomenal achievement of the university. The university focuses on technical education. It has started B.Sc. Ag. from its constituent campus-Tikapur Multiple Campus.

In addition, Birendra Vidya Mandir School, established in 2031 BS in Tikapur, has escalated the renown of the far western based on its exceptional education impartation which resembles the academic activities and system of Budhanilakantha School. It is one of the oldest academic institutions run under the public trust. Currently, about 3150 students are studying from Nursery to Grade twelve.

Kanchan Vidya Mandir Samudayik School/College has also played a vital role in imparting quality education from Nursery to master level. It is an invaluable treasure of Mahendranagar as it has proved itself to be a centre for education for acclaimed education.

Now about 92 colleges including all private, community and government colleges are providing higher education in Province-7.

Far western province has produced many influential personalities who have been successful in proving to be accomplished entrepreneurs as well as educationists. Dr. Khagendra Ojha, CEO of the entire Global Educational Network is a popular name in the educational arena.  Now Global Group is the leading educational institution in Nepal. Dr. Ojha is originally from Doti. Similarly, Nar Bahadur Bista, Principal of Uniglobe College and Liberty College, Dr. Karan Singh Thagunna, Principal of Uniglobe School & College and Global College International, Shiva Panta, founder of LRI School are from Mahendranagar, Doti and …. respectively. The top-notch educationists like Prof. Dr. Jayaraj Awasti and Prof. Dr. Prem Raj Panta are originally from far western. Moreover, far western also affects the national politics. In addition, Sher Bahadur Deuba who has permanent residence of Dadheldura has got a chance to become country’s prime minister several times.

The investment in higher education by the government is very low in this province. The government allocates scarcely 5% of the total country’s budget for this province. About thirty five thousand students are pursuing their higher studies in this province. The foremost choice of most students is to get enrollment in community colleges and then private colleges. Very few students are studying in government colleges. If we bring the academic reference of the world, most students are inclined get admission in government-funded schools, but in Nepal it is completely adverse. However, community and private colleges have been able to fascinate a large number of college hopefuls.

Should we envisage an academically prosperous Nepal, we must focus on technical and vocational education. In Nepal, many students have made a mindset that they pursue higher education in foreign lands especially in engineering, nursing, medicine, agriculture, forestry, etc. Having been deprived of embracing opportunities after graduation in Nepal, most graduates tend to go to Deradhun, Nainital, and other cities of India to pursue their careers in those sectors. Most private and some community colleges have been able to ensure appealing physical infrastructure and resources for technical education, but both Tribhuvan University and Pokhara University do not give the affiliation; therefore, students are compelled to leave the country. Teaching general education like BA, B.Ed. BBS has no value now which has been a source of dispatching unskilled human resources that eventually dilly-dally in search of employability. Therefore, at least 30% of total enrollees should embark on technical and science education if we are really desperate to develop the country. This provision is universal, but only 12% of total enrollees in various institutions across the country are not enough to steer up country’s technological pace. It’s more appalling and alarming when we observe the data of students of far western province as only 4% of the total enrollees have access to technical education. Therefore, both the provincial and federal governments should prioritize technical education across the country and they should embark onto opening of technical institutions/colleges abundantly. Now, it has become valueless opening colleges for humanity and education streams.

All in all, the Far Western Province is emerging as a centre of academic excellence from its nativity stage. Although the province is struggling amid insurmountable academic, social and political problems, institutions of this province are making utmost efforts to herald a new revolutionary era that will surely set sterling academic benchmarks.

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