Country Summary of Higher Education: Nepal

Nepal has been preparing strategic vision for the education sector, including higher education through national commissions.

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Historical background and recent expansion:
The establishment of Tri-Chandra College in 1918, in the public sector, marks the beginning of modern higher education in Nepal. After the advent of democracy in 1951, a number of new colleges (public as well as community) were opened. By 1965 there were 5 public colleges with total enrolment 5,000 and 51 community colleges with a total enrolment of 10,000. The first university in Nepal, Tribhuvan University (TU), was established in 1958. In 1971, all community colleges were nationalized and became part of TU. At present there are six universities i.e. TU, Sanskrit University (SU), Kathmandu University (KU), Purbanchal Univeristy (PURU) and Pokhara University (POKU), Lumbini Buddha University, and two autonomous institution with degree granting authority – BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) and Nepal Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS). The share of private sector, including community (commonly know as public) colleges, in tertiary is around 40%. The funding to all universities are channeled through the University Grants Commission (UGC) (BPKIHS receives grants from the Ministry of Health). There are about 600 campuses in Nepal. About 253,889 students were enrolled in these colleges in 2005/06, of which, 91% were in TU.

Tertiary education system:
The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) is responsible for the education sector in Nepal. But BPKIHS, NAMS report to the Ministry of Health (MOH). Funding and monitoring of higher education is the responsibility of University Grants Commission. Universities in Nepal enjoy significant autonomy. Academic programs of bachelor’s degree and above are regarded as higher education in Nepal. However, universities continue to offer proficiency certificate level (PCL) - programs equivalent to higher secondary education (grades 11 and 12). Duration of bachelor’s program is 3 to 5 years and masters level – 2 years. Universities have constituent and affiliated campuses (colleges). Constituent campuses receive public funding and universities oversee their academic, administrative and financial management. Affiliated campuses do not receive public funding and universities are responsible only for supervision of their academic programs and examinations. In addition to public and private, there are some campuses funded and managed by the communities. Community colleges receive very small amount of financial support for capital costs from the government through the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Quality assurance system: The existing organizational systems looking after the quality of higher education institutions in Nepal are; i) UGC; ii) universities / academies / partially decentralized institutions and programs; iii) six professional councils; and iv) professional societies. Recently, a quality assurance and accreditation council (QAAC) has been established in UGC to look at the issues of quality assurance and accreditation in the country.

Strategic Plan for Tertiary Education: Nepal has been preparing strategic vision for the education sector, including higher education through national commissions. TU has developed its 20 years strategic vision in 2000. Other universities also have developed strategic plans.

Ongoing and planned policy reforms:
These are:
i) decentralization within universities, particularly in TU. TU has adopted Autonomous Institute / Campus Rules in 2006;

 

ii) formula based funding for universities;

 

iii) phase out PCL from universities; and

 

iv) introduction of means tested student financial assistance program which will allow meritorious and needy students from the bottom welfare quintiles could be benefited.

 

Table 1: Higher Education in Nepal: Enrollment, Institutions and Expenditure

 

Enrollment*

 

Total Enrollment

253,886

Girls Enrollment

35%

Community Colleges

31%

Private colleges

9%

Total Public Expenditure on Education**

 

% of GDP

3.81%

% of Govt. Budget

16.80%

Total Public Expenditure on Higher Education

 

% of GDP

0.4%

Number of Higher Education Institutions

 

Universities

6

Institutions

2

Colleges

567

Total

575


* Academic Year 2005/06; ** FY2007/08

Table 2: Region-wise pass % in TU constituent and affiliated colleges

 

College type

Eastern

Central

Valley

Western

Mid- Western

Far- Western

Constituent

26

32

33

31

 

 

Affiliated UGC grant rec.

25

36

42

28

28

33

 

Issues:

 

Access

Access is limited with the gross enrolment ratio of about 6%.

 

Equity

The bottom two quintiles' share in HE is less than 2%. Currently higher

education enrolment is expanding primarily in the private sector. This is likely

to restrict even more the access to higher education for poor segments of the

population.

 

Quality

Barring a few private and public institutions, the quality of education is poor.

The quality assurance and accreditation system is not is place except for a

rudimentary system in place in professional education like engineering and

medicine.

 

Relevance

Collaboration between employers and academic institutions is weak, and so is

the R&D in these institutions. As result, barring few premiere institutions the

relevance of higher education to the job market needs is poor.

 

Financing

Barring a few, public institutions are not sustainable financially. Government

spending in higher education is low - about 7% of public expenditures in

education.

 

Governance

Although Nepal has initiated the process of decentralization as a means of

improving governance, overall the governance of public higher education is

still weak.

 

 

source: Country Summary of Higher Education: Nepal, Worldbank.org

 

2010-12-01 | EducateNepal

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