Nawaraj Pandey, Senior Vice President, HISSAN
Nawaraj Pandey, President of OPEN and Senior Vice President of HISSAN, is not a maiden name in the educational sphere in Nepal. He is the Founder Chairperson/Principal of Nobel College. With the aim of uniting higher educational institutions to disseminate quality education in Nepal, the district committee of HISSAN-Kathmandu was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. Pandey.
Mr. Pandey has been working with a hope to bring private colleges under one roof and ways to expand the horizon. He opines that the 8th National Convention should be the convention of unanimity. He has shared his view with College Readers. Excerpts:
Could you please tell us how you are going to elect the new leaders from the 8th National Convention of HISSAN?
In fact, a convention is to be conducted to search new leadership that can lead the organization smoothly. After getting new leadership, the organization will go smoothly because the new executive committee members will be agile for working. The convention will support to draw the road map for private educational institutions which will enable the leaders to negotiate with the government for the rights of private institutions and security of their investment. And it will subsequently stop students from going to foreign lands in search of higher education, which is a solution to brain-drain.
In order to make private education sector emboldened, we need to choose the leadership unanimously. As HISSAN is an organization of professionals, we do not encourage our fellow members to form panels to exercise politics in our organization. All HISSANists know this is not a good practice which never begets appealing results.
What leadership quality is HISSAN in pursuit of?
HISSAN is looking for such leadership that can strengthen the status of private education sector and can negotiate with the government on various issues. In addition, s/he should be able to draw a road map for the member colleges. We are searching for a candidate who can fulfill all the aforementioned requirements. And there are so many of them in the HISSAN.
What important steps should the incoming senior-most leader take to strengthen stance of HISSAN?
Students have been deprived of studying nursing education due to insurmountable barriers created by the Medical Education Commission, thus obliging them to go to foreign lands for further education. First, HISSAN must work on mitigating such an excruciating predicament. The HISSAN is committed to showing the way and solution to the government to establish new universities and transform the private colleges into university. We have another challenge that we do not have similar mechanism for student’s quota system. Foreign university affiliated institutions in Nepal can take as many students as they can, but Nepalese universities can enroll only for a limited quota, which is not fair. In this regard, HISSAN has to play a significant role to bring uniformity in student enrollment mechanism. The incoming senior-most leader should ensure quality enhancement in both private and public educational institutions by lobbying with the government and the stakeholders.
To what extent is it fair to conduct the national-level convention prior to the provincial conventions?
In my perception, this is not good. It would have been better to conduct the National Convention of Central HISSAN after completing all provincial and district-based conventions. We have made commitments that provincial conventions will be conducted immediately after the completion of the National Convention. As all district conventions have elected new committee unanimously, I am pretty hopeful that we will witness a unanimous decision on selection of committee at provincial level as well.
It is heart-wrenching that we have been observing ten-plus-two graduates visit educational consultants in pursuit of their higher education in foreign swathes. Why do you think it should be stopped to bring positive vibes in those youths who will be convinced to pursue their higher education in Nepal?
That indeed is a deep question. Because the government has not set priorities to quality education, brain-drain remains as an alarming signal of economic depression. A graduate in Nepal has to dillydally in search of job upon graduation since it’s indecisive whether or not s/he gets employment privilege even with appealing qualification. To escape this valley of despairs and depressions, a large number of youths are going abroad in the name of higher education. In countries like the USA and Australia, most graduands do the attendance and leave their college for job as their ultimate goal is to accrue money.
In an average, as many as 40 thousand students go abroad by spending 4 trillion in total. The money is going outside the country recklessly although it comes in the form of remittance, which is a miserable condition to deal with. Our students are capable enough of achieving a milestone and competing with world-class university graduands, but the existing mindset needs to be changed and employment needs to be created. Our students are studying at cutting-edge and top-notch universities of the world, such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc. Commercialized education in overseas countries is like an investment in human resources, for it gives both money and adroit manpower.
On the contrary in Nepal, due to political instability, nepotism, favoritism and political influence, our education system seems to be preparing haranguers instead of intellectuals. Thus, they debate over banishing private educational institutions, which is a disgrace. To abstain from this issue, private institutions should be given deserving respect and grants for their sustainability.
What is our prime role to mitigate such a persisting anomaly?
Our responsibility is to bring this issue into limelight in educational conventions to draw attention of students, teachers and guardians. Our country needs all types of job— be it nurses or doctors or laborers or educationists. All we need to do is to come up with a mechanism to create jobs for such occupations. The ultimate step of the government should be of acknowledging the contributions of private institutions and accept private education as a pathfinder to infinite opportunities. The fountainhead of progress of economic, academic and political sectors in countries like Australia, Canada, South Korea, America, Britain and so on is an exceptional education. So, Nepal must learn such strategies for the assurance of a better future of Nepalese youths without further delay.
Moreover, we should utilize the available resources, money and workforce for product generating industries. All money that comes in the form of remittance ultimately goes back to where it came from in dollars. Thus, our economy is either declining or balanced, we should do research to find ways to increase it.
Will HISSAN consider this as the main concern for a positive transformation?
HISSAN has been trying its best to give convincing results of its progressive endeavors so that students are galvanized to pursue their higher education in Nepal and contribute their learnt expertise to the development of the country. So, we are to hold a discussion on assurance of quality education and provision of job privileges in Nepal during the convention. This could be true we could come up with new ideas when discussed in a national level forum. Including quality assurance, various other issues, viz. group study exchange, finance, human resources, remittance, investment security of private sector will be discussed.
What would you like to say to the HISSANists coming to participate in the 8th National Convention?
I would like to welcome all to the 8th National Convention. As we are also conducting education dialogue on the first day, I request all HISSANists and concerned ones to participate in the conference. The education dialogue is on “Contribution of Private Sector in Strengthening Education in Nepal” to be presented by Dr. Hari Lamsal, from the Ministry of Education, Ramesh Kumar Silwal from private sector; and Prof. Dr. Bidhya Nath Koirala from a circle of critics and the public. The second day observes selection of new team of leaders for the next tenure.
HISSAN is the guardian organization for private institutions in Nepal. All of us should be able to choose the best leader from the convention and should build good camaraderie among the member institutions. In addition, we will keep our personal sentiments and ego aside and choose a capable leader who possesses robust leadership skill, presentation skill, management skill, decision making skill, communication and other soft skills.