KATHMANDU – Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has opined that the higher education in Nepal is challenging.
Addressing a conference of university vice-chancellors on ‘Uniformity in the Standard of Higher Education and Internationalization’ organized in Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchok today, he said attention should be paid in the development of the physical and digital infrastructures required for providing higher education.
“On the one hand there is a need of making huge investments required for physical and digital infrastructures, skilled human resources and creating employment opportunities for providing quality technical and vocational higher education, and the state has not been able to make adequate investments for the same, while on the other hand there is the tendency of capable youths, who have been readied for entering university education after completing higher education with the nation’s investment, going abroad, leaving the country,” PM Dahal said.
Stating that the lack of adequate number of students enrolling in universities amidst the increasing number of those opening universities has invited a crisis in Nepal, he called upon all the universities fully running on government grants should take this challenge or crisis as an opportunity. According to the Prime Minister, the initiative for bringing the counterparts of all universities at one place is a new initiation for us.
“Today’s programme will be specially helpful in preparing for the conference of the Vice-Chancellors of more than 250 universities affiliated to the Association of Indian Universities- north-eastern region, which the Kathmandu University is hosting next month, and in forging Nepal’s national viewpoint to be presented in the conference,” he said.
Reminding that the university education programmes the world over have entered the age of unimaginable research, investigation and innovation at present, he said classes are held in the laboratories on subjects ranging from space science, nano-technology, quantum physics, quantum computing, genetic engineering, information-technology, big data analytics to human psychology and the benefits of yoga and meditation.
“Nepal needed to transform itself into this competition. We will be in a situation of only complaining of our youths leaving the country in their thousands for higher studies if we do not make efforts for raising the standard of higher education to world-class,” the PM asserted.
He also reminded on the occasion that it is the common responsibility of the state, intellectual circle and educational institutions and all to change this situation.
Stating that there seemed improbability for equal competition in each sectors, he advised to give priorities to studies on Yoga science, naturopathy, mountain ecology and climate change in higher studies curricula.
Similarly, Buddhist education, oriental sculpture and philosophy are areas of comparative benefits for us and the nation could take an advantage through the internationalization of such academic areas.
According to the Prime Minister, efforts to connect entrepreneurship and ‘start-up ecosystem’, to education system, government policy and the potential areas of investment are yet to yield tangible results hindering job opportunities.
He took time to say that the government decision to give an authority to determine standards for equivalency to higher education to the University Grants Commission is itself a significant endevour to highlight the Commission’s role internationally. As the Prime Minister said, an integrated calendar of higher education has been implemented.
He pressed an idea for collaboration among universities in determining the curriculum, the examinations system, and establishment of labs and publications of research-based journals for maximum utilisation of available resources.
The PM also said, “There is essential to prepare policy-level and structural infrastructure to materialize the concept of developing Nepal into a hub for higher education.”
He viewed that the provision serving the Prime Minister as an ex-officio Chancellor of all universities is impractical and its alternative should be sought without any political intervention towards that end.
The head of the government also stressed that there should be clear policies for measuring and monitoring of quality and education standards of universities being established at the province-level before the matter turns challenging. He urged universities to adapt regional and global changes in higher education studies.
He advised the leadership at the various levels in universities to think and act seriously to enhance the quality of education.