Next Cabinet meet may

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 8:

The next Cabinet meeting is most likely to finalise the draft of ordinance which would give a go-ahead to the establishment of four universities whose costs would be borne by the government.

The ordinance on Rajshree Janak University, University of Agriculture and Forestry, Mid-Western University, and Far-Western University were discussed on yesterday’s meeting. It was sent to the Cabinet by the Ordinance Committee headed by Tek Bahadur Chokyal, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

According to an official at the Education Ministry, the government would have finalised the draft ordinance had there not been any controversy over the appointment of Nepal Rastra Bank governor.

The official said the ordinance was sent to the Cabinet after much delay of the Finance Ministry in sending suggestions. The Finance Ministry said setting up all the universities was not possible in this budget.

“There is no law that requires the Finance Ministry’s suggestion while establishing universities so the draft was sent to the Cabinet without Ministry’ suggestion,” said the official.

Professor Dr Bidur Prasad Upadhyaya, chairman of the University Grant Commission, said his office had suggested that all the four universities should be introduced first as “deemed universities”. He said: “It’s up to the Ordinance Committee whether or not to include UGC’s suggestions in the draft. But the universities will have the same fate as that of the Lumbini Buddhist University if they are set up without proper homework.”

“The UGC has clearly pointed out that the universities should have infrastructure like financial resources, skilled manpower and community participation,” said Upadhyaya.

The ordinance on Information Technology Academy is waiting for the Palace’s approval. Besides these universities, the government has to take financial responsibility of the Lumbini Buddhist University, which has already got government approval through ordinance. At present there are six universities and five are in the final phase of establishment.