Many countries in the world are now competing for top quality
education. Both intra-country and inter-country competitions can be seen. Internationally renowned educational institutions are
also worried about maintaining their status and/or for moving still higher. In the course of competition, they attempt to demonstrate themselves having the best quality human resources as faculty members, introducing the newest technology possible as a means to deliver education, investing in education
from variety of sources, providing flexibility of learning to students, making education available to the global community, and making teachers responsible and accountable with full autonomy. The governments also seem to be keen on promoting education as a means
of development. It is not
unusual to hear of raising tuition fees for higher education. In developed countries, the cost for higher
education is increasing but the government support to the universities is decreasing. This means the educational institutions are now trying to support themselves through student fees. In the USA alone, in the past five years, the fee hike in public higher education institutions can be observed to be as high as 24 percent. The situation in United Kingdom is no different.
The cost of “cheap” education even in the United States of America and
United Kingdom is very costly. The job providers
are always on the look
out for graduates from
reputed universities, not
the others. This sees tough competition among the
educational institutions at intra-country level.
Parents always aspire for their children to be enrolled in highly reputed universities. However, not all parents are able to do so. Enrolling in low-cost (cheap) university cannot help reach the moon. This does not, however, mean that
low cost universities have not produced efficient human resources, but they are few in number.
In this context, let us analyze the Nepali universities. The biggest one is Tribhuvan University, which provides education at almost no cost, or rather negligible, to the students besides medical and engineering courses. That is the reason why it is obliged to take up the responsibility of providing the last two years’ school education through its Proficiency Certificate level programs. More than ninety-five percent of the graduates are produced by this university every year in many fields of education. The graduates hardly get employment (less than five percent) in the job market. The students are always in confusion about their goals and future career. The money government spends in this university is consumed by the salary of the teaching and non-teaching staffs, where non-teaching staff outnumber the teaching faculty members. The money they raise from the students barely covers 15 percent of the total Tribhuvan University budget.
Then, how can one expect quality education from
the institution where there is no money to invest in technology and development purposes? That is the reason why Nepali higher education is in chaos. There are other universities too. Purbanchal and Pokhara universities are growing but they are dependant more
on their affiliated colleges than their own constituent strength. All the affiliated colleges charge higher fees to sustain themselves rather than maintain quality. However, there are some exceptions. The graduate employment rate of these universities is not encouraging. Kathmandu University, a non-government kind, provides education to a few.
Its main financial source is the students. The employment rate of Kathmandu University graduates is highly encouraging (ninety-five percent). Nepal Sanskrit University funded by the government is also doing
its ritual function like Tribhuvan University but the contribution of its products are hardly seen in the national context.
Talking about the private colleges in Nepal, affiliated to the established universities, gives a glimpse of
educational quality. Colleges charging low fees (cheap colleges) have not produced competent
human resources as compared to those charging high fees. Now, there is a competition among the private colleges for quality, which is very encouraging. There are colleges providing facilities of video conference to its students, whereas there are also those that sometimes cannot provide even chalks to their teachers. So, the educational
differences are obvious.
The distressing fact is that with cheap education and high politicization, the future of the ninety- five percent of our nation’s future pillars is in dilemma. Neither can they set high goals for their life nor are they trained enough with self-reliant skills. That is the reason why many students these days aspire to go abroad for a better future. Once they go abroad, they again fall victims of cheap education, and end nowhere. Thus, it is the nation’s responsibility to provide quality higher education to its citizens for two major purposes: first, to produce efficient human resources for the development of the country, and second, to prepare the nation’s youths to compete in the modern world.