Higher Education in Nepal: Issues and challenges

Higher education has great importance in the development of a country. But unfortunately, its importance is yet to be realized in developing countries like Nepal. For over two decades, Nepal have been working to uplift her educational standard by providing quality higher education to their citizens but there are many obstacles and hurdles that are emerging. These challenges of quantity, equity, quality, require proper procedure to address in the best manner in the future.

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Education is a basic need of every society. Today education has become necessary for everyone’s life. Survival without education is becoming difficult. A better education system can enhance the social, scientific, and technological improvement of a country. The human resource development of a country depends upon the quality of education imparted in country. Higher education caters to the education in the colleges and universities. It is academically consider suitable to present distinctive feature of two stages for the purpose of clarity of concepts and avoiding duplication. Higher education is admittedly a separate stage quite distinct from primary, secondary, elementary, and higher secondary stage.

Higher education is recognized today as a capital investment and is of paramount importance for economic and social development of the country. Institutions of higher education have the primary responsibility for equipping individuals with advanced knowledge and skills required for positions of responsibility in government, business, and other professions. Quality higher education is a source of great potential for the socio economic and cultural development of the country. The nation can be transformed into a developed nation within the life time of a single generation.”  Factors such as the distinctive nature of higher education institutions, international mobility of students, and teacher’s accessibility of computer based learning pursuit of research and scholarship, globalization of economy, and emerging challenges of the 21st century have a direct impact on the future development of higher education.

The purpose of higher education is not simply to impart knowledge in certain branches of knowledge; it has deeper meaning and objectives. The purpose may be multidimensional and may be termed as personal, social, economical, and cultural. Education and particularly higher education cannot be divorced from its milieu and social context. Religious, moral, historical, and cultural ethos permeates through the fabric of the educational system of a country. Public expectations about access to higher education direct concern about role that universities can play in innovation and economic development.

Challenges in Higher Education
Nepal is facing a critical period in the history, and on that account, everybody concerned with education has a responsibility for knowing what s/he is trying to do in bring up the next generation and why s/he is trying to do it. Higher education is faced with very severe challenges in the shape of various economic, social, political, and moral changes, and its future depends on the response made by its people to these challenges.

The problems  plaguing  the educational  system  of  Nepal are multidimensional like population explosion, lack of resources, non participation  of  the private  sector,  scarcity of qualified man power,  inconsistency in   the policies of various regimes, political instability, inefficient educational management system, wastage of resources, and poor implementation of policies and programme etc. The major challenges in higher education in Nepal are as below:

> Quantity: Despite the constraints of resources, the quantitative expansion has been highly spectacular after the restoration of democracy. The institutions have not only been multiplied, the student enrolments at colleges and universities have registered exceptionally high rate of growth. In spite of quality control as well as consolidation, it will continue to grow constantly for a long time to come. The quantitative expansion is evident due to increasing aspiration of the people and social, economical, and political forces influencing the development of higher education. After the restoration of democracy, the role of higher education has been very well recognized in the development of science and technology, as well as various arenas of human advancement.

> Equity: The philosophy of social justice is very much akin to the principle of equity. It is a welcome development over the concept of inherent inequality which was sought to be explained by biological differences among individuals.The philosophy of equality of men being applied to political process, distribution of property, and productive resources is viewed as the source of inequities in society. This approach helped the development of capabilities among men through equal distribution of higher educational opportunities both in quality and quantity. The growing numbers of colleges and universities have provided access to higher education to the people in various parts and sections of Nepal. But the enrolments of students’ especially female students are relatively very small.

> Quality: Development of society not only depends upon quantity of goods and services produced, but also on their quality.It again leads to quality of life of the people and the quality of the society in general. It is rightly said that the philosophical basis of quality is the innate characteristics of a human being to attain a higher standard and the need of excellence for attaining a higher stage in the development. The scope of the idea of quality is severely limited by two widely prevailing views. On the one hand quality is a selective phenomenon and only few can attain it and on the other hand quality for quality sake or with regards to specific area rather than quality as mutually exclusive and emphasize selectively at the expense of equity.

> Student Unrest: Among the challenges of higher education is the vital role of addressing students’ unrest. The condition of higher education in universities and campuses is not satisfactory in the eyes of students. Lack of physical and educational facilities is bringing much hindrance in the way of development. Teachers are less motivated to do certain research work. Most teachers are not competent, and they are teaching in higher education institutions. They have limited knowledge about subject matter they taught and many of them have no clear idea about the subject. They feel it difficult to indulge in research work due to lack of knowledge about research methodologies and training.

The most important problems of higher education in Nepal is the political involvement of students. It is found that most students with backgrounds in humanities and social sciences, and management rather than in engineering technology, science, and medicine get involved in political activities. Therefore social or academic background is an important factor in determining the attitude of the students toward social economic and political issues. The university students should learn to think about possible solutions to this fast changing world. So in order to achieve this, the students at the university level need to get much deeper knowledge about the citizenship role in society and the new opportunities that open to the student due to economic development and technological advancement.

> Emotional Integration: Education can play a vital role in strengthening emotional integration. It is felt that education should not aim at imparting knowledge but should develop all aspects of a student’s personality. It should broaden the outlook, foster the feeling of oneness, nationalism, a spirit of sacrifice, and tolerance so that narrow group interests are submerged in the largest interest of country. Students, the future citizens of the country, should be trained in democracy,  its  value and  ideals  so  that  they will  have sense of  justice  which  is  conducive for the development of national  integration especially in the particular situation of developing countries  which  are striving  to  build  up a structure of democratic living towards the prosperous, modern and just Nepal.

> Aministrative Reform:In the recent years, it is convinced that increasing attention to the problems of university administration should be given. It is noticed that despite the resources available for university expansion, they have not been able to obtain the best possible results. Further they have also begun to realize that much of this is due to lack of proper administration and political influence in administrations.Social and cultural factors, which are often ignored, are as significant as any of the purely technical factors in the formulation and implementation of administration policy. The linkages between the policy and these factors are neither casual nor limited to the contemporary period so the university administration clearly demonstrates that the success or failure of university administrative reforms hinges on the presence and absence of certain variables like; strong commitment and determined leadership; appropriate political environment; supportive social environment; types and nature of reform agents; favourable bureaucratic attitude towards education.

> Faculty: The current size of present faculty is very small according to the general international standard. The teacher/student ratio is very small even according to many third world countries standards. The quality of university education at the campuses has decreased because of the exiting faculty. Many present faculty members are teaching courses which are not their own specialization. Most of the teachers are appointed by political influence. Many faculty members in most of universities are just master degree holders with little or no practical knowledge and higher education experiences.

The salary, financial rewards and benefits for the faculty is very low according to the rising cost of living in Nepal. There is no real plan or set of rules for teaching evaluation or teaching effectiveness. Therefore appropriate action should be taken to provide an attractive and competitive faculty salary; reasonable teaching and research assignments; and fringe benefits to attract top ranking educators.

> Educational Policies: The faculty should have primary responsibilities for determining the educational policies of the institution. If this responsibility is not conferred and defined by the character of the institution, it should be expressed in legislation of the governing board. Educational polices include such fundamental matters as the subject matter and methods of instruction, facilities and support for the research work of faculty members and students, standards for admission of students, etc. The faculty should also actively participate in decisions made on other matters that may directly affect the educational policies for which it is primarily responsible. These matters include major changes in the size of the student body, significant alteration in the academic calendar, establishment of new colleges and universities or division, the provision of extension services to the community, and assumption by the institution of research.

> Academic Freedom: The right of academic freedom must be recognized in order to enable the faculty members, researchers, and students to carry on their roles. There should be the freedom of universities in making professional appointments, tenure research, salary scales, and all academic decision. Academic freedom and university autonomy are sometimes regarded as synonymous, but they are two quite different concepts, although they overlap at many points. Unfortunately a university may find it difficult to earn the academic freedom or autonomy and retain it in a new state where most, if not all, the cost of university education is a direct charge on the government.

> Courses and Curricula: The courses and curricula are not designed in accordance with the standard of higher education of the present day. It is seen that so many important and modern courses required for higher education are not taught at all. The curricula are not written in detail and are left to the professors personal likes, dislikes, interests or experience. The basic science courses are not designed well to fit the need of the students, and they are not well organized, or correctly supervised by the department. Generally speaking, there are not enough well equipped faculty and administration offices, classrooms, or engineering, science, and other laboratories for the growing student body and faculty members.

> Unemployment: While education cannot directly reduce unemployment, except by requiring more teachers, a reform of the educational system could help alleviate its impact especially on young people. In the sense of employment, the planners of higher education are handicapped in the assessment of the actual labour market needs for skills in various sectors of the economy.

> Budgeting and Financing: Central to all the foregoing is a new concept of budgeting and financing at the higher level. The conventional system of an annual budget is probably the most confusing and least understood. The concern here is with the budget as an instrument of academic planning which may promote the special aims of each college and constitute a practical means by which all university purpose may be realized ideally it must not only insure financial solvency of the university, but should also place responsibility and commensurate authority where it may be exercised most.

> Population Explosion: The fast growing population in Nepal is another problem by causing over crowding in the higher educational institution because the number of higher level institutions is deficient. The demand for the quantitative expansion of education at all levels remains one of the primary concerns because of the continuous population expansion.

Suggestions to meet the Challenges
Stress is laid on the need for improving the quality of education at every stage so that a proper foundation can be laid for advanced study in science, engineering, agriculture, and those other areas which are most closely allied to the national economic development and reconstruction of the nation as a whole. To begin from the top without reforming the lower stages is against the law of nature; it is against the law of evolutionary progress. Before any restrictions are imposed on the higher education, the earlier stages should be improved so as to produce better students for the higher stage. A critical point to be considered by educational planner is the adaptation of a multidimensional, flexible, and dynamic education system, which serves people according to their ability and aptitude and is responsive to their economic, social political and cultural needs. The new system of higher education should be flexible enough to offer a variety of courses, formal and non formal, full time and part time, correspondence and media based to fit every individual as well as the economic needs of the country.

2011-06-27 | Tara Prasad Bhusal

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Respected sir/madam, Kindly help me in presentation of inventions. The main business of the applicant (O.P.Mishra) is to design the devices as per the need of time. With the grace of God, I have proved the truthfulness of my quotations many times. I am ready to discuss on present challenges. Some of my designs are life saving systems. How do I work? Construction of one scientific device may need many experts from many fields like Electronic, Mechanical, Chemical and other engineering. Services for the specific conditions are provided by the Industries/manufactures/experts of the concerned field. I like to work with universities because Universities are source of knowledge and their approvals would possibly be helpful to get fund from the concerned departments (Govt) to construct the models of inventions. I feel, if I am given a chance to present an invention as per my method, some good devices/life saving systems useful to mankind would exist. Most of times I need to confirm the possibility of constructions. In other words, I need to confirm the possibility of constructions before presentation of an invention. I clearly feel, that most of my inventions/life saving systems can exist, if my questions are replied. Finalization of my design some time depends upon the answers of the experts. I wish to meet experts in two rounds of talk. In the first round, I would like to meet the experts through 'one-to-one meeting system' to ask my questions. As soon as all questions are replied, the second round of talk will begin and the complete drawing of that device/invention will be disclosed. The disclosure of any project/invention would be possible in/after second round of talk. Experts may take their time to reply but if they reply within 72 hours, the applicant will be highly obliged. Most important request- to avoid any chance of incomplete presentation the disclosure of any idea/invention would not be possible before the right time. In other words, any idea/complete invention would not be disclosed/discussed while asking questions. Presentation of an idea/invention/design would be possible after completion and completion of the same will be possible after collection of all the answers of questions. I hope that you will provide an inventor a chance to present inventions/knowledge as per his own method. I am hopeful of your kind help. Please refer to the following-------- 1-As per my understanding, the best use of science is to save the life of the people. I am hopeful to disclose some life saving systems because of your kind help. 2- I need your quick help because the construction of some good devices/life saving systems are delayed. 3-There is no risk in my inventions because I work as per the answers/knowledge of university. In other words, if an university agrees with my design, there is no risk in construction of the model. If a technical question is replied by an university and the design is based on that question/answer, there will not be any chance of wastage in experimental work. 4-Please decide yourself the way to help me/.If you please agree to grant my request, some good devices/life saving systems would exist. In other words, the content is ready and a container is required. I want to request that I can live simply like a student but I don't want to study a subject at any university. Selecting a subject of study is of no use to me. I have to get my knowledge approved by an university/Govt. I need the help of an university in presentation of invention(s). I can live as a student at any hostel if I am given a chance to work with university. I do neither drink nor smoke and I will cook my pure vegetarian food myself. I am a simple man of non violence nature/friendly nature.I am confident that I would adjust myself easily with people around me. 5- My journey is risk free- I will spend money on my return journey ticket and other living expenses too if the hostel is not available quickly. If I get a chance to live as a student at any hostel, my work will be easy. I will bear my expenses myself even if I am not given hostel (financial support) from the institution. I am confident to prove my skill before I run out of the pocket but it will completely depend upon how long time the university takes to reply questions. If university agrees to reply questions within 72hours, the work will be completed soon. If the questions are replied within 48 hours, it will be counted as best support because applicant would complete his work sooner. I want to discuss my financial condition as it is an important issue. I have little capacity to travel and live on my own for some days. I know that if I prove my words, I will be given support to extend my stay. 6- Most important is your acceptance, if you please grant my request, the journey of beautiful creation will begin. Financial help is second stage, if the project is approved, fund will naturally be provided. 7- I will not occupy any seat at university- I will not attend any class because I don't need to choose a subject for my study so I will not occupy any seat of your institution. May please allow me to visit and work any time because I don’t need to wait for any new batch. My work is different. I will meet teachers/professors of some subjects when they are free. I will take their little time as I will ask questions related to their subjects. I will complete my design after receiving the answers of subject matter experts and the complete drawing of that invention would be disclosed. 8- I am working on non conventional energy. One of my invention has been duly approved by an university in India. I would like to disclose the same at your university. I feel that I can work better in disaster management. I am working on one more very important project (Aircraft Escape System) which if exists, will save travelers during an aircraft crash. The system would be used in every size of aircraft. Protection of travelers during an aircraft crash depends upon situations and in some conditions,I feel sure that the system if fabricated ,will save travelers. 9- I always feel a kind of pressure to represent myself well because I am a tenth passed man. I am 54 years old so I feel another kind of pressure too, I must disclose those life saving systems before I lose my health. Please refer to the following--- a- Please don't mind my degree. I want to request that I can work and I am always ready to prove my words. I accept challenging projects and challenges are always available. I am so sorry that many countries have searched the bottom of the sea but the crashed aircraft of the Malaysian airline is yet to be searched. I want to request very humbly that please let me present a quick search technique if an aircraft falls/crashes into the sea. Let us discuss on how to save the life of people in different possible conditions. b- Once in Rome (Italy) a train driver had fallen from the cabin of a running train. The train was then derailed to stop because there was no any system capable to stop a running (diesel) train from out side in such conditions. I had requested Italian Govt ( Italian Embassy, New Delhi) that the mobile phone can be used to stop a running train from thousand miles away against the wishes of the train driver. As soon as the concerned mobile number will be dialed, the phone which is attached with the system in train will ring. A ring tone sensor will switch on the mechanism which will apply the break of the train or it can block the fuel line too. A system will read the speed of the train and will apply the break accordingly. c- I had requested Spain Govt in reference to recent rail accident in Spain. I had seen on television that the train collapsed on a boundary wall, the train was passing through a bend (turn) of the rail track. The driver was talking on phone during the accident. It can very easily be understood with the video that the much speed of train at the bend of rail track is the cause of accident. I had requested Spain Govt that I can design a system which will reduce the speed of train while passing through bends. d- One hon'ble Minister of U.P. State Govt has been killed recently when his car was hit by a train at unmanned rail crossing. Accidents at unmanned rail crossings take place very often in India. I have suggested many ideas to Indian Railway. Green signal turns into red when the train passes. It is very easy to use a hooter at unmanned rail crossing at the same time. In other words, the system is ready made available with rail department, that system can be used. A siren will start hooting at unmanned rail crossing as soon as the train passes the certain signal. e- I want to request humbly that my quotations should not be taken as a proud. If I fail to represent myself well, people of the world will be deprived of big health

  • Om Prakash Mishra

Respected sir/madam, Kindly help me in presentation of inventions. The main business of the applicant (O.P.Mishra) is to design the devices as per the need of time. With the grace of God, I have proved the truthfulness of my quotations many times. I am ready to discuss on present challenges. Some of my designs are life saving systems. How do I work? Construction of one scientific device may need many experts from many fields like Electronic, Mechanical, Chemical and other engineering. Services for the specific conditions are provided by the Industries/manufactures/experts of the concerned field. I like to work with universities because Universities are source of knowledge and their approvals would possibly be helpful to get fund from the concerned departments (Govt) to construct the models of inventions. I feel, if I am given a chance to present an invention as per my method, some good devices/life saving systems useful to mankind would exist. Most of times I need to confirm the possibility of constructions. In other words, I need to confirm the possibility of constructions before presentation of an invention. I clearly feel, that most of my inventions/life saving systems can exist, if my questions are replied. Finalization of my design some time depends upon the answers of the experts. I wish to meet experts in two rounds of talk. In the first round, I would like to meet the experts through 'one-to-one meeting system' to ask my questions. As soon as all questions are replied, the second round of talk will begin and the complete drawing of that device/invention will be disclosed. The disclosure of any project/invention would be possible in/after second round of talk. Experts may take their time to reply but if they reply within 72 hours, the applicant will be highly obliged. Most important request- to avoid any chance of incomplete presentation the disclosure of any idea/invention would not be possible before the right time. In other words, any idea/complete invention would not be disclosed/discussed while asking questions. Presentation of an idea/invention/design would be possible after completion and completion of the same will be possible after collection of all the answers of questions. I hope that you will provide an inventor a chance to present inventions/knowledge as per his own method. I am hopeful of your kind help. Please refer to the following-------- 1-As per my understanding, the best use of science is to save the life of the people. I am hopeful to disclose some life saving systems because of your kind help. 2- I need your quick help because the construction of some good devices/life saving systems are delayed. 3-There is no risk in my inventions because I work as per the answers/knowledge of university. In other words, if an university agrees with my design, there is no risk in construction of the model. If a technical question is replied by an university and the design is based on that question/answer, there will not be any chance of wastage in experimental work. 4-Please decide yourself the way to help me/.If you please agree to grant my request, some good devices/life saving systems would exist. In other words, the content is ready and a container is required. I want to request that I can live simply like a student but I don't want to study a subject at any university. Selecting a subject of study is of no use to me. I have to get my knowledge approved by an university/Govt. I need the help of an university in presentation of invention(s). I can live as a student at any hostel if I am given a chance to work with university. I do neither drink nor smoke and I will cook my pure vegetarian food myself. I am a simple man of non violence nature/friendly nature.I am confident that I would adjust myself easily with people around me. 5- My journey is risk free- I will spend money on my return journey ticket and other living expenses too if the hostel is not available quickly. If I get a chance to live as a student at any hostel, my work will be easy. I will bear my expenses myself even if I am not given hostel (financial support) from the institution. I am confident to prove my skill before I run out of the pocket but it will completely depend upon how long time the university takes to reply questions. If university agrees to reply questions within 72hours, the work will be completed soon. If the questions are replied within 48 hours, it will be counted as best support because applicant would complete his work sooner. I want to discuss my financial condition as it is an important issue. I have little capacity to travel and live on my own for some days. I know that if I prove my words, I will be given support to extend my stay. 6- Most important is your acceptance, if you please grant my request, the journey of beautiful creation will begin. Financial help is second stage, if the project is approved, fund will naturally be provided. 7- I will not occupy any seat at university- I will not attend any class because I don't need to choose a subject for my study so I will not occupy any seat of your institution. May please allow me to visit and work any time because I don’t need to wait for any new batch. My work is different. I will meet teachers/professors of some subjects when they are free. I will take their little time as I will ask questions related to their subjects. I will complete my design after receiving the answers of subject matter experts and the complete drawing of that invention would be disclosed. 8- I am working on non conventional energy. One of my invention has been duly approved by an university in India. I would like to disclose the same at your university. I feel that I can work better in disaster management. I am working on one more very important project (Aircraft Escape System) which if exists, will save travelers during an aircraft crash. The system would be used in every size of aircraft. Protection of travelers during an aircraft crash depends upon situations and in some conditions,I feel sure that the system if fabricated ,will save travelers. 9- I always feel a kind of pressure to represent myself well because I am a tenth passed man. I am 54 years old so I feel another kind of pressure too, I must disclose those life saving systems before I lose my health. Please refer to the following--- a- Please don't mind my degree. I want to request that I can work and I am always ready to prove my words. I accept challenging projects and challenges are always available. I am so sorry that many countries have searched the bottom of the sea but the crashed aircraft of the Malaysian airline is yet to be searched. I want to request very humbly that please let me present a quick search technique if an aircraft falls/crashes into the sea. Let us discuss on how to save the life of people in different possible conditions. b- Once in Rome (Italy) a train driver had fallen from the cabin of a running train. The train was then derailed to stop because there was no any system capable to stop a running (diesel) train from out side in such conditions. I had requested Italian Govt ( Italian Embassy, New Delhi) that the mobile phone can be used to stop a running train from thousand miles away against the wishes of the train driver. As soon as the concerned mobile number will be dialed, the phone which is attached with the system in train will ring. A ring tone sensor will switch on the mechanism which will apply the break of the train or it can block the fuel line too. A system will read the speed of the train and will apply the break accordingly. c- I had requested Spain Govt in reference to recent rail accident in Spain. I had seen on television that the train collapsed on a boundary wall, the train was passing through a bend (turn) of the rail track. The driver was talking on phone during the accident. It can very easily be understood with the video that the much speed of train at the bend of rail track is the cause of accident. I had requested Spain Govt that I can design a system which will reduce the speed of train while passing through bends. d- One hon'ble Minister of U.P. State Govt has been killed recently when his car was hit by a train at unmanned rail crossing. Accidents at unmanned rail crossings take place very often in India. I have suggested many ideas to Indian Railway. Green signal turns into red when the train passes. It is very easy to use a hooter at unmanned rail crossing at the same time. In other words, the system is ready made available with rail department, that system can be used. A siren will start hooting at unmanned rail crossing as soon as the train passes the certain signal. e- I want to request humbly that my quotations should not be taken as a proud. If I fail to represent myself well, people of the world will be deprived of big health

  • Om Prakash Mishra

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Tara Prasad Bhusal

Mr. Tara Bhusal ( MA and MSC in Economics) is a young economist presently working as a permanent lecturer of economics in Department of Economics Patan Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is a member of Applied Economics subject committee of Pokhara University. He has more than 15 years teaching experience especially in the fields of Econometrics, Mathematical Economics,Environmental economics and Business economics for master level. He has also actively participated as a visiting faculty for Madan Bhandari Memorial college, Dilli Bazaar Kanya Campus, Nobel Academy, Khwopa College and Bageswori College. He has been actively engaged in research activities related to econometric modeling and data analysis in micro and macro level economic issues and published a large numbers of articles in national and international journals and news papers. He is a writer of different books like Basic Econometrics ( for MA and MPhil) and Economics for different levels.

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