Published Date: 2023-04-11, Tuesday
An interaction program between KU and the Educational Journalist Network Nepal (EJON) was organized at Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSoM) premises on April 10, 2023. The program was held on the topic "Higher Education in Nepal - Prospects and Challenges" and was attended by the Vice Chancellor, Deans and Officials from KU and journalists from EJON.
At the event, Asst. Prof. Brajesh Mishra, Assoc. Director of AESA, presented on KU's status and the critical constraints in higher education. He highlighted the issue of falling enrolments in Nepal's higher education and the increasing number of students pursuing higher education abroad. He provided recent data showing that over forty-four billion rupees exited the Nepali economy in higher education within eight months, and over a hundred and fourteen thousand No Objection Certificates were issued by the Ministry of Education during that time. He also emphasized that despite having a lower population than India, the rate at which Nepali students are leaving the country for higher education abroad is higher than that of India. Mishra urged journalists to promote domestic education and reduce the hype that exists amongst students towards foreign higher education.
Dr. Uddhab Pyakurel, Act. Director of the Vice-Chancellor's Office of Global Engagement, provided highlights of KU's initiatives to address current issues in higher education. He discussed KU's policy stances towards internationalizing higher education, including reserving 10% of seats for foreign nationals and providing accommodation and fee waivers to foreign research fellows. He also highlighted recent agreements between KU and institutions in India as major milestones in internationalizing KU's higher education, such as extending KU's Bachelors in Yogic Science Program in India and introducing a joint Masters’ Degree Program in Energy Systems with IIT Madras.
The event also featured a Q&A session, where the participants had the opportunity to ask questions and share their opinions. The participants actively engaged in the discussion and raised important issues such as the need for collaboration between universities and industries, the increasing cost of higher education, limited job opportunities and the political developments and its impact in the higher education of Nepal.
Prof. Dr. Bhola Thapa, Vice Chancellor, responded to questions raised by journalists during the event. He emphasized the importance of stakeholders understanding the situation of higher education and highlighted the need to match higher education with skill demands. Prof. Thapa discussed KU's recent programs in this regard and KU's policy stance towards providing employment opportunities to its graduates within its own system. He also acknowledged KU's past shortfall in promoting itself to prospective students and stated that KU would increase its promotional efforts going forward. Additionally, Prof. Thapa discussed the increasing problem faced by KU due to rigid and procedural requirements of the Government and Medical Education Commission in granting visas and admissions, which has hampered the attraction of foreign students towards Nepali degrees.
At the end of the interaction program, Prof. Lok Raj Baral, Professor and Honorary Chair of Nepal Center for Contemporary Studies (KU-NCCS), made a brief statement emphasizing the need to restructure society to instill the values and reconstruct the moral fabric of society in order to promote a knowledge-based society. Baral suggested that only by doing so, can the current challenges facing higher education be addressed in a sustainable manner.