Struggle for breath
Tribhuvan University (TU) and the students are at loggerheads once again. This time it is the fee hike announced by TU for the graduate and post graduate level. The TU officials must have expected a backlash from the students concerned, of course channeled through the student unions. The fee hike in question is the ten fold increase that has irked the students. TU may be justified in raising the tuition fees that have remained stagnant for the last 18 years, but the moot point is that the hefty percentage increase has been the contentious issue. And, the student unions have an edge here in that the stiff raise suddenly does not augur well in a scenario when they should have been consulted prior to the said announcement. Moreover, the backdrop for the students’ agitation has the tacit support of their union’s mother political parties. This is another aspect that has played politics with the academic activities which should, in fact, be on the driving seat. It all, however, starts with the political appointments to the posts of the vice chancellor, rector and the registrar, which binds the appointees to toe the respective
party lines. This has proved to be the stumbling block for the university to function in an effective and
efficient manner. Moreover, many students are affiliated to one or the other of the 13 student unions and take this as a political launch platform for a professional career in politics. TU may have the justification for the belated
increase in the tuition fees, but as a university banking mostly on government grants it has to take into consideration the reality that the present day political instability has invited. A piecemeal approach since the last two decades would
not have led to violent reactions as it has done with the recent decision.
TU should have understood that a drastic measure cannot be successful howsoever serious it may be to implement it. This was recently witnessed in its bid to scrap the Proficiency Certificate Level from being a part of the university’s responsibility, but the whole endeavour failed. Now, once again it seems to
have stirred the hornet’s nest. The student unions have the intention of maintaining status quo as far as the fees are concerned. But, the sad fact remains
that the academic activities suffer as a result. Of course, the anomalies within TU should also
come into purview and how unproductive investments are bogging it down.
Now the 13 student unions have submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is also the Chancellor of TU, as regards the TU decision on fee hike which they want revoked immediately. PM Nepal has understood the gravity of the situation, yet he knows that there were serious deliberation among the TU officials before the decision on the fee increase was announced. Here again the prime minister has talked of the middle path, because TU needs the additional funds being generated through the hike while the need is also to pacify the students who can unleash their fury to the utmost level. It is only the government that can intervene to resolve the issue with more incentives to the students in the form of enhanced scholarships for students who cannot afford the increased fees.
A ticket to ride
The taxi drivers are often found cheating their passengers outright. What makes the matter worse is that the passengers do little about it. However, duped passengers can now SMS the numbers of the taxis found fleecing them to the police. But it seems that this service has not been utilized to the full with very few passengers complaining through this convenient method. If they choose, the gulled passengers can phone the police or complain to the traffic police posted on duty. Unless the passengers make use of these facilities to file in their complaints, there is little that can be done about the erring cabbies.
Furthermore, even locals are victims to such taxi drivers not to talk about tourists. The amount of money involved in this kind of swindling is mind boggling. Passengers are often compelled to pay astronomical amounts for commuting even short distances. What more, many of the taxi meters have been tampered with, yet they seem to have evaded the law. Here is hoping that the commuters assert themselves and notify the authorities when they suspect foul play. This would help curb the rogue taxi drivers from their freewheeling days.