Since you have been involved in the academic sector in Nepal for the past 24 years, how do you analyze the present situation of higher education in Nepal?
While comparing academic situation of Nepal with that of other countries, it is not satisfactory. For an instance, although South Korea has a population of around 40 million people, it has around 400 universities. Similarly, the population of Mangolia is around 4-5 million, but it has more than 40 universities. So, in order to spread convincing impacts of higher education on learners, the country needs more universities and those universities should ensure multidisciplinary programs. We need more than 100 universities for the escalation of education status of higher level human resources. In addition, in order to enhance quality of education and to produce a considerable number of qualified human resources, the government should bring the concept of private university and encourage entrepreneurs like us to invest in academic sector. Moreover, the government should bring the convincing educational policies for strengthening and promoting academic status of the nation. Without strengthening the academic status of Nepal, it is not possible to achieve prosperity. Nepalese private sector can compete world-wide in terms of quality education if the government ensures the security of our investment and encourage more numbers of investors in education. The government should extend cooperation with the private sector in order to produce highly qualified technical workforce for rapid social and academic reformation.
Pokhara University has denied enrolling students in bachelor level who have secured Grade ‘D+’ in ten-plus-two program. Being the president of OPEN and owner of a college that is affiliated to Pokhara University, you and OPEN itself have expressed strong dissatisfaction over the decision of the University. In such a situation, what efforts have you made to solve this problem?
We have strongly raised our voice against the decision of the University. In addition, we have also unraveled our dissatisfaction through delegation. We have shown our curiosity to the University for its decision. Similarly, we have requested the PM and the Minister for Education for solving such a problem which is appallingly persisting. Other universities have granted admission even for D+ graded students, and it is unjust for us to deny taking admission for bachelor program by the Pokhara University for the same grade. I hope the University will consider and acknowledge our request positively and take necessary step for solving the problem. I am confident that the cooperation of the leadership of the University and our efforts can give an edge to successful implementation of our proposal.
Although most academic rules and norms are similar among all the universities of Nepal, Pokhara University has shown anomalous behavior not to enroll students with ‘D+’ Grade in bachelor level program. What would be the role of OPEN in resolving this issue?
Pokhara University has adopted all educational policies and rules that are similar to that of the Tribhuvan University, but in the case of ‘D+’ graded students, it has adopted an anomalous policy which is neither justifiable for students and nor beneficial for the University. In such a case, the OPEN plays a significant role in resolving all of these problems. We have been trying our best to solve such problems through negotiation and dialogues, and we hope this conundrum will be solved very soon since the Prime Minister himself and the Education Minister have taken our petition positively. In addition, I am also hopeful that the University will amend its policy and find out the solution without further delay. We’ve requested that the University should consider this as a big hurdle in the educational arena and should seek a gateway to give justice to its students. If the University unravels this problem, it will be destructive for it, too; however, we are optimistic about such a problem that will be resolved by the University very soon in order to exonerate itself of public backlash.
As president of OPEN what challenges have you witnessed for smooth operation of this organization?
The OPEN is the umbrella organization of all the private colleges affiliated to Pokhara University in Nepal. So, it has an important responsibility to maintain equilibrium by establishing cordial relationship between the private colleges and the University. Due to the anomalous policy of the University, which deprives students with the grade D+ of getting admission, the number of students seeking for admission in Pokhara University affiliate colleges has appallingly plummeted. So, it has become an arduous challenge for the OPEN to solve this issue since a case has already been filed in the court. Another challenge adheres to enrollment of students who have obtained the Grade ‘D+’ for the new academic session in management stream. Other challenges are to develop OPEN as a strong guardian of all Pokhara University affiliates in terms of economic source and assist the University for the completion of examinations as per its schedules.
Could you share with us your journey from being an academician up to the president of OPEN?
Nobel Academy is one of Pokhara University affiliated colleges. The status of the University can be strengthened when there is a good relationship with its affiliates. Acknowledging this fact, OPEN was established so that it could play a better role of interlocutor between the University and its affiliates. I entered this organization as vice president some 6-7 years back. In addition, I have already accomplished my task as senior vice president twice. Currently, I am the president of OPEN. So, my journey to OPEN is about seven years old, and I am extremely glad to be part of it.
You are senior vice president of HISSAN, too. The HISSAN has adopted the policy of bringing all the private academic institutions (from higher education up to university level) under its grip. What are your efforts that underpin this goal?
I am senior vice president of the HISSAN, so, it is natural to work painstakingly to bring strong and effective policies for the organization that help us bring rapid transformation in the education system in Nepal. We are going to bring all the private academic institutions under the broader concept of HISSAN. Similarly, we are also working diligently to bring the like-minded organizations, such as OPEN, under the leadership of HISSAN. This could be true the members of HISSAN are working scrupulously to bring all private academic institutions of Nepal under the framework of HISSAN.
Is there anything that Pokhara University affiliated colleges should improve?
All colleges should fulfill the given criteria and abide by the rules and regulations of the University strictly. They should fulfill the criteria set by the University in a period of five years. We are fully committed to maintaining the set priorities and criteria of the University. In my view, most of the Pokhara University affiliated colleges have recruited qualified human resources and are imparting quality education, but some institutions are showing mediocre performance in terms of their physical infrastructure. So, the OPEN will play a significant role in manifesting the University criteria by extending amicable coordination to its member institutions.
What are the traits of Pokhara University?
Pokhara University is a fast growing and widely trusted university of Nepal. It has maintained globally acclaimed curricula. In addition, it has maintained a good camaraderie among its affiliated and constituent campuses. The graduates of Pokhara University are capable enough to compete in the global setting. In addition, its exam system is worthy of appreciation. The OPEN will extend cooperation to the University for academic reformation and fraternity.
Based on your experience what are the areas of improvement for Pokhara University?
Pokhara University should revise and update its curricula in a timely manner by analyzing global trends and requisites. Similarly, while updating and revising the curricula, and introducing new programs, the university should co-ordinate with the concerned stakeholders. On the other hand, as a dark side of Nepalese education system, unnecessary strikes and anti-academic activities are increasing in the University premises. So, the University should take necessary steps to maintain a pure academic environment in its premises.
What message would you like to convey at last?
I strongly proclaim that all the universities of Nepal should come under the same frameworks, which incorporate broader rules, regulations and standard. In fact, the Chancellor of all the universities in Nepal is the same person which does not seem appropriate for adopting different policies and formulating acts differently. Similarly, the government should extend its cooperation to private educational institutions for the prosperity of the country. In addition, the government should acknowledge the remarkable contributions of private sector to the enhancement of quality of education in Nepal.