Chandra Luitel

Kathmandu

Established in 1959, Tribhuvan University (TU) is the oldest university of Nepal. TU is named after the late King Tribhuvan and was founded in compliance with the Tribhuvan University Act, 1959. The university stands as a national institute of higher education. Having 61 constituents and 278 affiliated campuses, it is the largest and the only nationwide university of Nepal.

TU has its branches in all districts of Nepal. The central campus covers an area of 167.64 hectares in Kirtipur. There are ample assets of TU in various parts of the country, making it the richest university in the whole of Nepal.

Many intellectuals, ministers, diplomats, etc, of the country have studied in TU. Present prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, ex-minister Mahesh Acharya, the deputy secretary general of UNICEF Kul Chandra Gautam are just a few to name. TU has about 2,01,000 students pursuing higher education.

The chancellor of Tribhuvan University is the King. The present vice-chancellor is professor Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai. Dr Bhattarai is striving to make the university financially sustainable, as it has to depend on budget funded by government, 90 per cent of which comes from the government. He has hopes in the new students, “Every new student is our future. Their vision and enthusiasm is always essential for us.” TU caters to approximately 2,00,000 (including PhD) students through 6,000 teaching; 2,189 administrative; 2,153 technical and 2,720 utility staff. The central office of the university is at Kirtipur, Kathmandu.

Academics: Students enjoy maximum choice of subjects in TU compared to other universities in Nepal. There are 35 departments, five institutes and four faculties in TU. It offers about 150 teaching hours for a subject of 100 marks. Tri Ratna Manandhar, dean of Humanities and Social Science, claims, “The University offers education of an international standard.” Every year, the TU committee updates its curricula. The committee is made up of experts from various fields both national and international sectors.

Teaching: The teaching staff are amongst the best in the country, claims Gunanidhi Nyaupane, campus chief of Nepal Law Campus. He adds, “Most universities in Nepal are dependent on manpower produced from TU.” Deu Man Limbu, a student from eastern Nepal, is of similar opinion, “The quality education of TU is all due to its professors who are world class.”

Academic session starts between January to February each year. A student who has passed Bachelor’s degree from TU or any university recommended by TU are eligible for admission in the Master’s level. Manandhar says, “TU offers a variety of subjects for the students. So, the benefit to students joining TU is that they can pursue studies of their choice.”

Fees: The fees structures vary according to departments. They range from Rs 2,500 to 8,000 per academic session. “The university provides quality education at minimum fees. That’s why it is the university for everyone,” says Navaraj Kanel, professor of Economics.

Krishna Kumari Prasai from Dadeldhura, far west of Nepal is in Master’s final year in physics. She is very happy to get a well-equipped lab facility at a reasonable cost. She says, “I could not have dreamt of pursuing my Master’s studies at such a reasonable cost if TU did not exist.” This is especially true of students who come from weaker economic background.

Tej Prasad Dahal who is doing his Master’s in English has similar opinions about TU. He states, “To have finished a degree in English for around Rs 6,000 (only for the academic charges) is very pleasing.” Moreover, he is proud to be able to attend lectures of international status.

Scholarships: Students from poor economic background are also provided full/ partial scholarship depending upon the financial status and marks scored by the applicant.

Library: TU also holds the prestige of having the largest library in the country, housing 30,648 books on various subjects. Books range from the ancient Vedic era to newly introduced subjects such as Rural Development and Home Science. The library is accessible to all. Students are issued a library card, which is valid for one academic session. Students having valid library cards can borrow books for a duration of one week.

Accommodation: TU central campus also has hostel facilities. Students who come from different parts of the country can apply for accommodation. Accommodation in hostel is provided on merit basis. Students from remote parts of country are given priority. Students having high score in graduation can also apply for accommodation. There are separate hostels for boys and girls. Both hostels can accommodate 275 students each.

Yam Dhakal, a hosteller from Taplejung, says, “Hostel facilities of TU are not only cheap but also of a good standard.” Hostel charges are affordable. Monthly hostel fee is around Rs 600 — 900 per student, which is applicable only for lodging. Students can either share a mess for food or cook themselves. Two students have to share one room. Hostel buildings are well-equipped with all basic necessities.

Other facilities: TU has well-equipped bookstores within the university

premises. Students get all the necessary books and stationeries in these stores. Most books are available in the form of photocopy and hence the price becomes less for students.

Activities: Student and expert exchange programmes are conducted by TU in accordance to the necessity and call from international universities.

By the end of 2002, 59 researchers affiliated with TU, informs Nirmal Man Manandhar, executive director of CNAS (Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies). He is also planning to establish an alumni association by the end of 2004 for foreign researchers and experts affiliated to TU.

VC Bhattarai says, “Students should be pro-active in utilising maximum facilities provided by the university so as to raise TU’s standard.” He adds that TU is changing in accordance with time and situation to keep up with the modern world and modern education system.

With institutional linkages to more than 113 universities and institutes around the world, though TU has faced some problems, it still stands as the best educational institution in the country.