Vice President ｜ IEPAN
With the aim at providing internationally acclaimed quality education through distance mode of education, Anil Kedia initiated to open NIT- Partner Institution of IGNOU at DAV Complex, Kathmandu. It has been operating BCA, MBA, B.Com and BA programs in distance mode. It has a well-facilitated modern academic environment with computer laboratory and library, qualified lecturers and professors along with “Student Support Section” for information, guidance and counseling to students.
As Vice President of IEPAN, how do you foresee prospects of this organization?
The IEPAN has been very active now, but its pace was sluggish before. As there are always hurdles, we need to solve existing problems and move ahead with convincing vision. However, there appears occasional misunderstanding between private college owners and the government, though.
What are the main challenges of IEPAN now?
The frequent change in rules of the government concerning IEPAN and myopic vision of the government which sabotages the development of IEPAN are some of the existing challenges. Once the government sanctioned the programs of international university, but consequently we were restricted to run courses of that university because of highly expensive approval fee of the subjects. International universities update their curricula annually on the basis of survey on global demand and requisites; however, we cannot pledge such provision due to expensive approval fee and discriminatory policies of the government.
Since IEPAN has been established for raising voices against such disparities, how is it performing its roles and responsibilities?
The IEPAN is advocating the rights of international university affiliated colleges and raising its voice against such disparities in the passage of time. But this voice seems inaudible to the government.
The international qualifications that IEPAN members provide in Nepal have contributed to the nation to a greater extent, such as it has stopped the drainage of money and human resources in foreign lands. Could you possibly tell us how many students have been benefitted so far?
You are right. Our contributions are worth appreciating in this regard. We’ve provided our services to 15000-20000 students, but this calculation is not enough. If you see the trend of outgoing students since last ten years, it has increased to 70,000 from 10,000 per year.
A high number of students are going abroad to pursue the courses which are available in IEPAN members in Nepal, too. What benefits may students seize if they study in Nepal?
One of the major benefits incorporates an opportunity to study international courses at a relatively low fee structure while being the family members. In addition, contextual study is more beneficial as it make them easier to work in a familiar environment. Moreover, students can get a privilege of acquiring multi-disciplinary courses in their native land.
What are the possible reasons that have galvanized students to pursue higher courses in a foreign land?
Everybody knows the reasons: quest for sophisticated living standard, additional hours of work, accruing wealth for a better future and many more. They can settle their life there. And, the ‘hello effect’ of already settled persons in those countries is anther convincing reason for settling in a foreign land.
If this trend persists, isn’t there any fear that Nepalese universities and their affiliates lose many students?
Yes, there is a fear. Let’s take an example. The government is collecting half a billion as education taxes but more than 50 billion rupees is drained out in foreign lands every year. So, the government should develop a convincing environment for domestic academic institutions which are affiliated to foreign universities. However, the condition is more intimidating since the government has imposed heavy taxes on education and various items/ equipment, which has made prospective and existing investors reluctant to invest money in infrastructures. You see the education sector contributes to 30% of the total Australian Gross Domestic Products (GDP). And Nepalese students stand second for the contribution to the Australian GDP.
Would you please tell us about the Distance Learning Courses you have been operating?
We are running the syllabi of IGNOU which IGNOU started in 1983 AD. There are more than two million students in graduate and undergraduate programs. There are as many as 300 disciplines and 1400 subjects. However, our government couldn’t differentiate between distance courses and regular courses. Now, we have been treated as a provider of regular formal courses.
Which courses of Distance Education are run in Nepal?
We offer a number of programs: MBA, B.Com., BCA, and BA.
Could you possibly tell us how many students have attained graduation till date?
When this course is considered to be a regular mode and treated in the same way, the essence of distance education dies. We have two intakes each year and 60 to 70 students get enrollment in intake.
How do analyze the status quo of private sector in education in Nepal?
Private sector contributed a lot to the education sector in Nepal. But now, new investment may not be attracted since land and property have been extortionate; the deposit amount has been high; the number of students decreased, a lot of students are going abroad and neighboring country, India. There is a feeling of insecurity and fear amid investors.
Do you see any possibility in Nepal that it can turn its abandoned swathes into fecund ones for international education?
Yes, there are high prospects if the government ensures favorable policies. Investors must feel secure and confident with their hard earned property.
The physical environment, climate weather and other various aspects are favorable for turning our land into an education hub. And if we start the education in our natural and ancient heritage like herbs and aromatic plants, Yoga naturopathy, aayurveda, sports, tourism, these aspects play a stratospheric role to develop the country as a convincing education hub even for international students.
You offer both domestic university and Indian university courses. Could you highlight good aspects of international courses?
International courses are liberal. They are three-year courses, not four years. Those international universities have rights to modify and revise the curricula each year as per the market demand, but in the context of Nepal, we have been following the same obsolete and hackneyed courses for more than a decade, which makes us go backward.
What are your suggestions to students?
I would like to suggest that they pursue their higher studies in Nepal if their desired subjects are available. Be informed about the courses and make a rational decision which may turn your mediocrity into excellence.
Do you have final remarks?
Yes, I would like to request the government to think for more interdisciplinary courses as per the need of time. And regarding distance learning courses, please understand their essence and formulate laws accordingly.