Recent accolades from int’l organizations prove we are setting a digital benchmark in management education

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Prof. Hari Bhandari, Founder Principal of Oxford College of Engineering & Management, is the Senior Vice President of OPEN-Organization of Pokhara University Education Institutions Nepal. The main aim of this organization is to unite and uplift all the affiliated colleges of Pokhara University and to strengthen the university’s status.

Prof. Bhandari emphasizes on three essential things for tailoring the glory of Pokhara University, i.e., research-oriented activities, extension of international relation and operation of the university in a meaningful way. The working committee of OPEN International Research Center & Guest House which is being built at the cost of 12 crores has been formed under the leadership of Prof. Bhandari. He shares his view on how OPEN will aggressively work. Excerpts:

Congratulations on your appointment as the expert of Management Subject Committee of Pokhara University.  How are you feeling at this moment of your achievement and what are your plans to go further to witness more attainments vis-à-vis management course of Pokhara University?

I’m honored to have been nominated as the expert of subject committee of management in Pokhara University. I would like to express my gratitude to the University and the stakeholders for trusting me in handling such a great responsibility. Since this appointment I have realized that they have bestowed on me a huge responsibility to accomplish and maintain the legacy of the University. I was also given the same responsibility for two tenures previously. In this sense, my working mechanism and capabilities made a great impression on my accomplishments. I assure all the concerned authorities of the University that I will show my utmost efforts and demonstrate my learned expertise which will surely make breakthroughs.

Undoubtedly, Pokhara University is the leading university of Nepal, especially for management education. Management of every activity we carry out is vitally essential to live a successful life. The successes and failures of any organizations depend on the quality of managerial stewardship. Moreover, the University has shown its benchmark after launching a 4-years BBA program in semester system. The MBA course of Pokhara University is the gold-standard that adheres to preparing students to follow, practice and adopt recent global trends. In fact, the management course is the benchmark of Pokhara University.

Recent data demonstrates that around 80% of students in Nepal study management courses and only 20 % of them pursue science course. In this regard, to be honored as the expert of the subject committee of management is really a matter of honor yet a strenuous task. I assure all the stakeholders that I will contribute honesty to bring about the time-demanded and need-based transformation in management education.

The first meeting of subject committee has completed. I think the Dean and Chairperson may have concrete action plan in this regard. I personally, would like to endorse the following things for further achievement in management sphere. Firstly, we should work in operation level, particularly in maintaining the academic calendar and focusing on its delivery. Secondly, the syllabi of the course are to be modified and updated as per changing paradigms. Thirdly, new programs should be introduced by designing the syllabuses linking them with technology. The main priority should be given to Agro Management, Tourism Management, ICT Management including BBA ICT, MBA ICT, and so on. The management course of Pokhara University should be made a leading course in Asia by linking it with the technology.

Since Pokhara University has recently recruited new VC, Registrar and Dean, how the University will carry its journey forward now?

My entailment in Pokhara University has been from 1998 AD and I have been working keeping in touch with most Deans, Registrars and VCs since its establishment. I don’t like to give comment on the activities of formerly retired officials, but I have found that the present team is setting an example of perfect stewardship. The present team seems more visionary, more dynamic, more cooperative, and more judicious having an adequate leading capacity. They have been working with true spirit of sincerity in collaboration with the entire team. After their arrival, the disturbed exam schedules due to the Covid-19 pandemic took a right track. They initiated a virtual way of evaluation and proved that online exams can also be conducted fairly. Later, other universities also followed the same trend of evaluation system. Similarly, the problem of D+ obtaining students had loomed over the University policy for a long time which was solved with the consent of all the concerned. Maintaining consent amid all these circumstances are possible due to their able leadership capabilities and quick decision-making power. Other equally appreciating tasks of the University administration are: proper monitoring, impartial evaluation and guidance. We, private sector, are encouraged too without any bias between constituent and affiliated colleges. They have treated all the constituents and affiliated colleges as a separable organ of Pokhara University with impartial etiquette. It is a welcoming and galvanizing task of the University for all of us.

You are the senior vice president of OPEN. To what extent are you expecting to have cooperation with the University for the University’s further achievements?

I believe the fact “Alone we cannot, together we can”. It is a fact that as long as the University carries on the same unbiased spirit of guiding them well, its affiliated and constituent colleges can make further progress. So, we are extending the cooperation to the University since we have a common concern for the progress and prosperity of the University and its associates. In addition, we are working on to establish an international resource center with a 12-crore cost investment of the University under my leadership. I think, we will accomplish the task within two years, and our plan will be solidified.

Based on your experience, what should be done to upgrade the University’s academic stature?

I think, we must bring a transformation in Nepalese education system from the most underprivileged groups of children and inculcate good moral, ethical and nationalistic feeling from their childhood. It is extremely necessary to prepare curricula based on our eastern culture and focus should be given on nationalistic feeling and production-based education, i.e., linking education with labor. Other entities, such as family education, yoga, computer education and Sanskrit education should be promoted and introduced from the school level. Similarly, we should design the curricula at the University linking them with technology and national production, such as agro engineering, IT medical, IT management and so on.  Proactive and ethical education is the prime requisite in today’s world. However, influence of party politics on educational institution from school level to the university level should be avoided and the University should be established as an immaculate center for academic excellence.

The coronavirus pandemic has coerced us to comply with online teaching once again after we reinstated it in the aftermath of the first wave of the pandemic. However, we are not sure that the pandemic will disappear soon. What are your plans to go ahead amid such unforeseen pandemic and epidemic crises that may reappear in the future?

I believe every problem appears with a concrete solution. The Covid-19   pandemic has severely affected every sphere of our life, particularly education and tourism related sectors. It has also brought the opportunity along with the problem. Due to the pandemic, our education system entered into the digital system. Now, even the parents and little kids got well-practiced and trained for online education and distance learning. It taught us a lesson to adopt an alternative way to carry on our regular action due to which we introduced online and distance learning as an alternative to physical teaching and learning activities. It is the paradigm shift in education system in Nepal. So, the government should provide us basic pre-requisites, such as electricity and internet facilities which should be more reliable, affordable, and accessible by the general public living in every swathe of the nation. If the government can fulfill all these pre-requisites easily, we can go either ways of learning: virtual or physical.

Oxford College of Engineering and Management has been acknowledged with many international awards and recognitions. What are the benchmarks of the college for attaining such meritorious awards and what is your epiphany after receiving such accolades?

Receiving an international award is really a great honor not only for me but also for the nation. We have been awarded many international awards and recognition for demonstrating academic excellence, and there are many more awards that we are going to receive shortly. It is due to our ever-lasting efforts, devotion and strong determination to accomplishing our aim and objectives.

More importantly, such meritorious awards have enabled us to be more honest, more responsible and more optimistic about our duties and responsibilities. It is obvious that the entire world sees and evaluates the good deeds. However, the award has not only brought about more challenges to maintain the legacy also it has inspired us to do better in the days to come.

Oxford College offers engineering and management programs. And the same programs are offered by your contemporaries as well. How do you corroborate your claim to be distinctive from them in terms of the programs you offer, and why should the career hopefuls pursue management education here?

Oxford College of Engineering and Management imparts moral and ethical lessons besides course content. We boost morale of our students which is identical to getting ripe fruits in the desert. If we work hard with confident and positive thoughts, there is nothing that can dwindle the winning mojo of students. Besides, we disseminate research-oriented education and practical approach to harnessing life-changing skills. We are running a college for first time that imparts engineering education, which is due to the inspiration from receiving international awards.

Do you have anything to say at last? What message would you like to convey to ten-plus-two graduates?

First of all, I would like to express my deepest thanks to College Readers team for giving me a space in your esteemed publication which is an opportunity for me to share our vision, mission and attainments with our valued students, parents and well-wishers. Similarly, I convey my message to parents and students to choose a suitable course and college that fulfills their educational quest. Oxford College is excitedly looking forward to welcoming you for engineering and management education inculcating ethical, moral and spiritual values that will add appealing etiquettes to your life that you always live with excitements and marvels.

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