NOU unlikely to come into operation soon

Kathmandu, November 26

Nepal Open University, which was formally established after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari  authenticated the Open University Act on July 14, is unlikely to come into operation anytime soon.

NOU sources said they were yet to design courses, appoint professors, create internet-based curriculum and establish high speed internet hub, among other things, for smooth operation of the varsity. The university currently has only seven staffers, including vice-chancellor, two deans, one IT officer, one registrar and two administrative officers.

NOU has been allocated an annual budget of Rs 100 million, which would be used to cover all expenses of the university.

The university management said they were working to introduce at least one course in the upcoming academic session beginning February 2018. If everything goes as planned, the university is likely to launch a social science subject related to political science.

Open universities are open to people and even those living in far-flung areas and overseas can enrol without having to attend classes regularly.

Unlike traditional universities, they offer reading materials, guidelines and assignments through the internet. Students are asked to complete their assignments and do regular research, but are not required to attend classes. The university will offer undergraduate and graduate courses.  NOU is also working to establish the university as a centre for e-learning. According to the NOU officials, a task force has been formed to design courses for distance learning.

Vice-chancellor of the university Lekhnath Sharma said open university courses are mainly imparted through the internet and hence they were working to develop mobile applications for the purpose. Classes will also be run through e-conference and webinars. Assignments will be provided electronically and audio-visual teaching platform will be created for students. “Despite limited budget and human resources crunch, we are working to make optimum utilisation of our resources to create economic, effective distance teaching-learning environment,” Sharma said.

The university has also started sharing information with American and British universities, “We will also introduce collaborative programmes with reputed western colleges,” VC Sharma said, adding, “The university has also started work on building a data centre required for distance learning.”

The NOU is also planning to collaborate with acclaimed e-learning projects like Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, which offers 1.4 million courses. More than 14 million people around the globe are undertaking the course currently.

NOU is also working to collaborate with National Data Centre for the transformation and storage of information.