TU’s problems are so numerous that it is doubtful if the mere formation of a committee and amending a few rules will improve things
For a university with a history of more than sixty years, Tribhuvan University (TU) should have been basking in its glory. Instead, its credibility keeps constantly eroding as it sinks into a morass of anomalies that are both academic and non-academic in nature. Actually, when TU is in the news, it is usually for the wrong reason. In a bid to control these irregularities, the university has decided to form a high-level academic committee, upgrade its technology, and also amend its rules and regulations. TU’s decision comes in the wake of accusations that marks were altered on the mark-sheets at the TU Office of the Controller of Examination, Balkhu to make an ineligible student eligible for a gold medal in MA Economics. The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has booked both the student and an employee at the Balkhu office for their alleged involvement in altering the marks. The CIAA has also filed a corruption case against 10 office-bearers and employees of the TU Service Commission for altering the marks of the job applicants who had sat for the exams for various vacant posts. TU officials, including TU Service Commission chairman, have been found appointing their relatives and family members to the posts of section officer, accounts officer and office assistant.
Though the decision on forming the committee has been taken, TU is yet to decide on its members. Among others, the committee will be mandated to work on improving policy and the copy correction system. A policy amendment to be recommended is expected to put a ban on employees working in the same department for a long period of time so as to prevent them from misusing their office. TU is also thinking of installing new software to help detect any discrepancy in the marks.
TU’s problems are not limited to a sector or two. You see anomalies and irregularities everywhere – in teacher appointment, administration, curriculum development, pedagogy, Office of the Controller of Examination, shrinking land assets – you name it. The problems are so massive that it is doubtful if the mere formation of a committee and amending a few rules will improve things. The brazen misuse of authority by the university’s office-bearers and employees could not have happened without their political connections, which begins with their appointment under the political bhagbandha, or party quota. Take the case of its large grounds, which at one time covered more than 3,600 ropanis of land. That has now shrunk by more than a thousand ropanis, what with large tracts of land having been awarded to non-TU offices and organisations to build anything from police posts and a republic park to the office of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project. It is common knowledge that TU is a playground for the political parties, where the officials, teachers and students affiliated to the different parties promote their party ideology and programmes. Thus the success of the committee and the measures TU takes to curb its anomalies will largely depend on the political will to change for the better. TU is not short of funds. What it must do is concentrate on academic activity like a true university to enhance its credibility.
This year’s monsoon has been delayed by almost one month, causing adverse impact on paddy plantation in the hilly districts, where the plantation should be carried out much earlier than in the Tarai region. Weathermen have said the rainfall this season is also quite erratic. The delay in the monsoon’s arrival is sure to cut rice production, the main crop, which contributes about 20 per cent to the gross domestic product. Last year, the country reaped a bumper rice harvest to the tune of 5.4 million tonnes.
This year, economists have already predicted a lower rice harvest due to the delayed rainfall. Paddy has so far been planted on only around 14 per cent of the land across the country, which is less than what it was the previous year. Meanwhile, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology has issued a flood alert in the major river basins as incessant rains are forecast for the next 48 hours. People should take extra precaution to remain safe from the impending floods. Excessive rainfall in a short period of time may also cause further damage to the crops already planted and other infrastructure. The locals residing on the river banks should remain on high alert throughout the rainy season.
A version of this article appears in print on July 09, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.