TU still has a long way to go for digital transformation

Kathmandu, November 23

Although Tribhuvan University’s efforts to integrate information technology into classrooms sound promising, they are unlikely to take shape anytime soon.

Administrative officials at TU claim that each of the 39 central departments in the university have been provided money for installation of digital boards. They said the university was also planning to provide budget for the same to additional 60 constituent colleges.

Digital boards are like white or black boards used in classrooms. The digital screen of such boards can be used to save texts and pictures written and drawn by teachers and retrieve them when needed. The board also can be connected to the internet and used as audio/visual device if attached with an external CPU.

Similarly, TU has invested Rs 120 million only to make the university premises a free wi-fi zone. It has set up a database centre to store thesis and other research papers, installed digital ID card system in libraries and developed e-libraries.

According to Ridish Kumar Pokharel, executive director at Office of Planning Directorate, TU,  the process of going digital had  started and they were hopeful about it. He said, “Sooner or later we must go fully digital, but the challenges are huge. The biggest challenge is lack of budget, but we are working on it.”

The majority of teachers and students, however, said the TU’s claims sounded like a joke with the departments even lacking simple projectors. They said the university premises no longer remained a free wi-fi zone with routers and other equipment lost last year.

Likewise, despite the TU administrations claim that every central department has been provided budget for digital boards, only the Central Department of Computer Science and Information Technology was found to have one. But that too remains unused.

Assistant professor Sarbin Sayami said the board would be used after the classes resumed.

Professors at various departments of social sciences were hesitant to use the digital board as they doubted its efficacy.  An assistant professor at the department of Sanskrit, who requested anonymity, showed a classroom with three benches. He said, “We would rather be happy if the administration provided us with other amenities and a larger space rather than a digital board.”

Binit Chaudhary, a student of chemistry, said, “It would be great to have digital boards in our classrooms, but we still don’t have projectors. We just hope that our classes are not disrupted due to strikes.”

Pujan Shah, a final year student of hydrology and meteorology, who just took his final year exams said he did not know that a digital library existed in the university.

Basanta Adhikari, a student of geology, said expect for the library card, he did not know about anything digital in the university.