The federal government has issued 'Nepal University Infrastructure Development Board Formation Order-2021' to prepare necessary physical and institutional infrastructure of universities related to liberal arts, research, humanities, sociology, and science.

The formation order published in the Nepal Gazette earlier this week stipulates an eight-member board under the chairmanship of a professor or academician appointed by the Government of Nepal.

Its members include officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, experts in the area of various streams of education and representatives from private sector and social services.

The order paves the way for initiating infrastructure work for universities.

According to the formation order, a Nepali citizen having attained the age of 35 years and obtaining educational qualification of at least bachelor's degree, with 10 years of work experience in the field of education shall be deemed eligible to be appointed chairperson or member of the board. However, any person convicted of corruption, rape, human trafficking, money laundering, misuse of passport, kidnapping and other criminal offences involving moral turpitude shall be disqualified to hold the position of chairperson or member.

Functions, duties and powers of the board are to prepare detailed project report with necessary legal, institutional, physical and human resources for the establishment, operation and management of university; make recommendation to the Government of Nepal for land acquisition to construct physical infrastructure; prepare masterplan of infrastructure; determine the structure and operation framework of the university and colleges, research centres and academic departments under it; develop curricula of the university as per international standards considering the national needs; prepare roster of experts and invite bid for construction of infrastructure.

"Number of employees to be hired for the board shall be determined by it, with the consent of the MoF. Employees shall be hired on contract and may be dismissed at any time if they fail to deliver performance in line with terms and conditions of the service," it reads.

As per the formation order, the chairperson of the board shall act as its chief executive officer and shall enjoy facilities equivalent to vice-chancellor of a central university.

Similarly, the formation order empowers the board to form sub-committees or task forces comprising experts or educationists for facilitation of its functions. The board may also establish relationships with national and international universities for exchange of cooperation.

The board shall have its separate fund to deposit the amount received from the Government of Nepal, national organisations and foreign governments, organisations or individuals. However, the board will have to obtain approval of the MoF to receive any amount from foreign governments or organisations.

Final audit of income and expenditure of the board shall be conducted by the auditor general. The board may also formulate and implement necessary rules, directives and procedures with regard to the university.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.