EDITORIAL: Change policy

The number of students enrolling for master’s degree programmes in various social science disciplines has been witnessing a steady decline over the years. There are more than 10 universities in the country and virtually all of them are being affected by the lack of students taking up liberal sciences. A case that has come to light is that the Central Department of History under the Tribhuvan University has only one student enrolled to study master’s degree in History. Taking into consideration that this department of the university enrolled 545 students to study this subject in the last academic year the reason for this has to be thoroughly probed. Incidentally if classes in  History were to be held the Central Department of History would have 12 lecturers and professors teaching a single student which is indeed very absurd. Similarly subjects like Political Science and Public Administration are rapidly witnessing a decline in students taking up these courses. The figures made available by the Office of Controller of Examination, TU, shows that there were 2,685 students studying Political Science in the University in the academic year 2014-15, 1,418 in 2015-16 and fewer than 400 students in 2016-17.

The reason why fewer students wish to enroll for liberal science subjects is particularly because they do not see a bright future by studying these subjects. Jobs are very hard to come by and those taking up social sciences have fewer opportunities of securing a job after they graduate. Here we must ponder about the need for education. Is higher education solely to facilitate securing jobs? There are many who take up these subjects in order to broaden their horizon. Perhaps we need to overhaul the education policy the country is now struggling with crucial reforms.  The introduction of the semester system, despite obstruction from various quarters, could be attributed for  fewer students taking up social sciences subjects. It is believed that fewer students were taking these courses as they would be required to attend classes and do the assignments compulsorily. Many students want to earn the degrees without putting in too much efforts. The semester system was adopted with good intentions and more importantly  to enhance the quality of education being imparted.

More students are seen joining other streams like management and science where they would be more likely to secure jobs which are scarce and very competitive. It is high time that students realized that they could secure jobs by studying the social sciences too. This involves changes in how one feels about studying social sciences with the belief that the country could do a lot by those taking up these subjects. If we look at it from what is happening in other countries most are being led by those who have studied the social sciences and therefore benefiting from this sort of education which have made them competent leaders. If we look into the future there would be more lucrative jobs for those who have earned degrees in the social sciences too. Undoubtedly, the country would need the services of the social science graduates sooner than later and more students should be taking these courses with opportunities made for them.

Risks of disasters

Risks from natural disasters are gradually outpacing resilience in South and Southwest Asia and have the potential to reverse hard-won development gains in the region, according to a new UN report. Avalanche, snowfall and rain-related disasters have caused considerable damage in South and Southwest Asia, including Nepal. The report said that more than 900 people lost their lives and 41 million people were affected by the natural disasters in 2016/17 alone which also damaged the physical infrastructure. The report said that it is the poorest section of society which is disproportionately affected by such natural disasters.

The report recognizes the devastating and pervasive impacts that natural disasters can have and incorporates the principles of disaster risk resilience as a central tenet of the promise to leave no one behind. In order to address the challenges posed by natural disasters every year all governments in the sub-region must come up with a disaster mitigation policy and the most vulnerable section of society must be prepared to convert the risks into resilience.