The unmatched legacy of engineering qualifications is the glory of the college

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Prof. Toya Narayan Poudel has been involved in engineering education since 1998 AD. He has gained more than 22 years’ long experience in the field of engineering education. After leading for 17 years in this sector, Prof. Poudel entered Himalayan White House International College as department head of Science and Technology in 2017 AD. Currently, he is the Principal at Himalayan Whitehouse International College. He has shared his views with College Readers. Excerpts:

Himalayan Whitehouse International College is a top-notch engineering college in Nepal. To what extent do you think that the objective of college establishment has been fulfilled?

Himalayan Whitehouse College has its own brand and legacy in the field of education. The unmatched legacy of education is the glory of the college. Himalayan Whitehouse College is most probably the first college in Nepal to introduce MBA, EMBA, BBA and IT programs in Nepal. The college consulted and collaborated with Pubanchal University to prepare the curriculum. The leading role of Himalayan Whitehouse College in introducing these courses in Nepal is worthy of accolades. Himalayan Whitehouse College was established with the objective of producing skilled and qualified human resources. In this regard, we are successful in fulfilling the objective of college establishment.

Brain drain has been a serious issue in Nepal. Based on your decade-long experience, who should play a pivotal role in resolving this persisting predicament?

The main role of academic institutions is to produce skilled and qualified human resources, and the government has the prime role to manage and utilize available human resources in a proper way. The government should formulate proper plans and policy in terms of human resource management. The skilled human resources should be provided with proper environment to utilize their knowledge and expertise and should get sufficient facilities.

Human beings need proper facilities; otherwise, in pursuit of such facilities, they might leave their country. We have heard that even birds migrate from one place to another in search of adaptable environment and facilities. So, it is a natural phenomenon that human beings generate desire to leave the country in quest for sophisticated living standards and amenities. Therefore, the government is supposed to be solely responsible for controlling the youths who dillydally in search of opportunities in foreign lands.

Not only this, the government should also create a proper environment and give assurance of a plethora of job landing opportunities to young aspirants as per their capacities as well as convince them to yield entrepreneurship prospects in their native land. In fact, more than 50% of Nepalese graduates leave the country to settle in foreign swathes due to lack of favorable and amicable work environment in Nepal. It is intimidating to see the data of Nepalese youths struggling and striving in international markets. In this regard, the government should prepare such curricula that can prepare job creating human resources rather than job seekers.

In your opinion, to what extent are the universities of Nepal successful in developing curricula owing to growing market demands for skilled human resources?

In my opinion, the curricula do not have drawbacks, but the government policies and programs lack a favorable and supportive environment for utilizing our youths. The government is not able to fully utilize the development budget in an apropos way; as a result, our engineers have remained unemployed. If the government brings inclusive plans and policies for the development of nation, Nepal requires at least 200 thousand civil engineers annually for the next ten years. However, in order to utilize such a large number of engineers the government should spend development budget fully on development activities.

A survey shows that there are as many as 65 thousand registered engineers in Nepal, and out of 65 thousand engineers, about 50% are leaving the country for foreign employment. And out of remaining 32 thousand engineers, only 10 thousand are civil engineers, which portrays that the country has an acute shortage of civil engineers. Thus, the government should bring inclusive plans and policies in preparing as well as accommodating civil engineers in Nepal’s various development projects.

Amid many factors of Nepal’s deteriorating economy, political instability is the main problem. In order to ensure great potentials, there should be political stability and positive mindsets of politicians and policy makers to mitigate the terrifying status of brain drain of youths. Moreover, the government should consider giving importance to the potentials of agricultural development and approach private sectors for cooperation. We are ready for investing in these sectors, but the government should ensure that the market in private sector friendly and is supportive of supplying our products.

In honest words, private education institutions have been successful in producing globally employable human resources, but it’s government that has not been able to utilize them properly for the sake of its development.

Himalayan Whitehouse College offers engineering programs of the Purbanchal University which other universities offer too. In your experience, what are the strengths of the engineering courses of Purbanchal University?

In my experience, engineering courses of all the universities in Nepal have no anomalies since they have similar course contents including similar programs and evaluation frameworks. The only difference we can find is in their teaching and learning activities, which depends on efficiency of teaching faculty. The colleges, which focus on pragmatic orientation, proper evaluation, extra-curricular activities, field work and lab activities, can prepare qualified human resources. Undoubtedly, Himalayan Whitehouse College focuses on practical orientation and ensures that its graduands are guided properly and become independent think-tanks and successful entrepreneurs. Thus, the graduates of Himalayan College are appealingly skilled and qualified.

Along with Himalayan Whitehouse College, its contemporary institutions are offering the qualifications of engineering and management  programs of Purbanchal University. Why should students pursue these courses in your college?

Himalayan Whitehouse College accommodates only selected and optimistic students in its intake program. We observe the quality of students for six months and ensure that they are genuinely qualified candidates for engineering education who will be then galvanized to continue their study. On the contrary, if they are found reluctant or underperforming, we suggest they should join management stream, following our counselling to both parents and students.  

The student dropout rate of engineering faculty is thought to be higher in comparison to other streams. Is engineering a difficult course to study? What are the reasons behind such anomaly?

Engineering itself is not a strenuous subject for genuine and inquisitive students; however, in the context of Nepal, myopic and immature SEE and +2 education policies of the government are really discouraging. In fact, the government policies underpin only the number of students passing the exams with high GPA ignoring the quality assurance which has diminished students’ efficiency base, thus making them feel mediocre before completing their engineering courses.

In your experience, which management course is as globally saleable as civil engineering course?

In my view, selection of a stream for higher study is not a serious matter rather students’ performance determines their quality to be employable in global market. We have testimonials that even the top-most students from Sanskrit education have achieved phenomenal successes in the western countries, such as the USA. Similarly, the graduates with outstanding performance in history have been recruited by the world-class multinational companies. So, the students should be competitive and creative to be saleable in the market no matter which stream they pursue for their higher study.

Could you please highlight the efforts you have made for preparing globally employable human resources?

Till the date, we have produced more than 18 thousand graduates. All of them have showed their outstanding performance in the global market. We develop self-control, self-discipline, laborious quality and creativity in our graduates. Similarly, we provide supplementary skill-enhancing training relating to their courses even for the students who could not complete their course and make them able to survive themselves happily by earning their appealing life’s privileges.

Finally, what would you like to suggest plus two graduates who are in pursuit of their bachelor’s level qualification?

I would like to suggest that ten-plus graduates should complete their bachelor’s degree in their native land. If you want to go to a foreign land for higher study, you’d better go only for master’s degree and above. If students get scholarship privileges for their master’s degree they can embark on it, though. In my view, all the subjects have equal value; so, you can study any subjects with a motive of showing outstanding performance. Similarly, the ones, who go to foreign lands, are advised to return to their native country and utilize their learnt skills in order to serve the nation.

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