Education minister expresses concern over degrading quality of higher education

Bhaktapur, November 23

Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel today expressed serious concern about the standard of higher education in Nepal, which he said was not research-oriented and did not meet international standard.

Speaking at a programme organised by University Grants Commission on the occasion of its 22nd anniversary today, Pokharel said that access and quality of education are a few challenges in higher education.

Stating that there was need to debate issues related to higher education, he said, “We can come to certain conclusions in terms of how to resolve the problems in higher education through extensive debate on the current issues.”

He said that the incumbent government had the responsibility of preparing hundreds of laws and policies and the government was serious about implementing policies related to higher education too.

“Education should be taken as the right of every citizen,” he said adding, “There was need to reform the entire education system to improve the education sector of the country.”

He lamented the closure of schools in different parts of the country due to protests and demonstrations that had violating childrens’ right to education.

Professor Parasar Prasad Koirala, chairperson, UGC, said that the number of higher education institutions are increasing day by day and the government was facing difficulty addressing the demands of such institutions with the limited resources that UGC had.

“There is competition in establishing educational institutions for political interest, which is surely going to affect the quality of education,” he said.

He further stressed the need to merge academic institutions that are running same course and are not very far from each other.

“Technical Education is the need of the hour,” he said adding, “But the affiliations granted to academic institutions by universities should be halted at the earliest to stop the mushrooming of colleges and also to improve the quality of education.”

Prof Bidhya Nath Koirala, member of UGC urged the mapping of higher educational institutions’, stating that the growing number of educational institutions was causing the quality of education in the country to decline.

Members of UGC namely Prof Mahendra Singh, Prof Shivakiran Maharjan and Chirikshova Tamrakar stressed the need of infrastructure development in UGC.

Prof Hridayaratna Bajracharya, adviser at UGC, briefed on the various programmes of the organisation.

Subash Chandra Dhungel, administrative chief at UGC, drew the attention of the education minister towards the post of member secretary that has been lying vacant for the past seven months. “Due to the absence of member secretary in the office, administrative and policy level works have been affected,” he said.