Experts meet to deliberate the effective governance and management of Higher Education in Nepal
Forty education experts including representatives from the Ministry of Education, the National Planning Commission, current and former vice chancellors of Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University met to discuss and reflect upon the current situation of higher education and the major concerns that are hindering progress in this field. With an aim to produce a feasible and appropriate solutions to improve current state of higher education in future federal Nepal, the Experts Group meeting was jointly organized by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and the Trailokya Nath Upraity Center for Education at Kathmandu University on 6 and 7 June at Lalitpur. The discussion was held as a part of UNESCO/UNPFN project “Effective delivery of education in a future federal state”.
The main issues on the agenda included quality, financing, and governance in higher education. During the meeting, it was agreed that the various polices adopted by the continually transitioning Nepali governments of the past 70 years have resulted in a system of education that is not on par with the demands of the nation. Over the course of two days, several pertinent papers were presented. Among them, one was the work of Wang Libing, Chief of the Asian Center for Educational Innovation for Development (ACEID), UNESCO Bangkok. His talk focused on a myriad of regional experiences regarding governance and management of higher education in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Professor Suresh Raj Sharma, the founder vice chancellor of Kathmandu University, spoke on the governance of higher education, a similar topic to Hridaya Bajracharya, who, along with governance, included the topic of quality higher education as well. Pushkar Bajracharya and Iswar Prasad Upadhaya delivered analytical assessments on the topic of financing in higher education and the need for formulating clear policy and effective allocation of funds.
Along with these recommendations, several other solutions were proposed in order to instigate change. One of the key suggestions was separation of party politics from system of higher education, and providing a degree of autonomy for this sector. Making higher education accessible to all levels of society, and increasing public spending in rural areas in order to rectify the discrepancy between urban and rural education was also seen to be crucial. Increasing standards of professionalism among those involved in the education sector and promoting a form of education that produces skills useful in the ‘real world’ rather than rote memorization of theories was a third recommendation.
Finally, developing citizens that may provide much-needed internal support and increase the capacity of the country as a whole to adapt as necessary to global changes, and providing a conducive environment for the link between research, policy, teaching, and social learning that encourages ethical perceptiveness and accountability were also included as irrevocable aspects of improving higher education.
The goal of any higher education system is to promote higher learning, increase earnings and quality of life for both men and women, and bring about positive changes in political agency for marginalized groups and peoples. Along with the fact that education is a fundamental right, higher education is a means to develop critical thinking and adapt to the ever-changing choices and opportunities of an increasingly globalized world. Nepal has lost a significant number of its citizenry overseas, and while the capital drain may be mitigated somewhat by remittance, the brain-drain is irreversible unless the country is able to provide a stable and structured platform for higher education.
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