EDITORIAL: Rescuing TU
TU should be able to take disciplinary action against teachers, whether they teach at private campuses or not, if they do not do their duty at TU properly
Tribhuvan University has been going downhill for years whether in the quality of teaching, or in keeping academic deadlines, or in maintaining the academic atmosphere necessary for the achievement of its basic objectives, or in managing it properly generally, or even in running the minimum number of days of classes out of 365 days of any year. On the contrary, it has been a playground of party politics – from the students to the employees to the teaching staff, and to its office-bearers. The office-bearers are appointed more on the basis of their affiliation to a particular party or some kind of deal reached between the appointees and the appointing authorities than on consideration of merit. Not surprisingly, the various student unions, the various employees’ unions, and the various teachers’ associations – all belonging to different political parties, owing allegiance to their parties and carrying their agendas, have not hesitated to harm the interests of TU if the interests of their parties are served. As a result, TU has now become something like the community schools compared with the privately-operated schools when it comes to comparing it with other universities and private colleges, with the exceptions of some of its institutes, such the institute of medicine and engineering.
The present warning served by the TU administration to its professors against teaching in private campuses and to private campuses against hiring TU professors has to do with the deteriorating quality of the education provided by TU. Its own campuses are faring badly vis-à-vis the TU-affiliated private campuses. One reason for this is the unchecked way in which TU teachers of various ranks teach at private campuses, while neglecting their duty to it. TU’s rules bar teachers from teaching at private campuses without its permission. In the past too, it served such warnings and action was taken against some of its teachers. However, weak enforcement encouraged many teachers to continue to teach at private campuses. The only difference in its warning this time is that it now warns of action against the guilty private campuses too.
At present, TU’s policy is to grant permission to its teachers to teach at private campuses only if the time schedules of such teachers at private campuses and at TU do not conflict. This measure, if effectively enforced, can help, but to a limited extent. But TU should be able to take disciplinary action against teachers, whether they teach at private campuses or not, if they do not do their duty at TU properly. The halt to the play of party politics at TU must be stopped if TU is to be made a centre of excellence,
appealing to the mass of students. Merit and loyalty to duty must be made the main yardstick of judging anybody for appointment, promotion, or conferring of any better opportunity or privilege. The questions of over staffing and lack of financial discipline prevalent at TU should be fully addressed too if TU is to improve its financial status. There are a number of other issues related to TU’s improvement that also need to be addressed. Whether the new top leadership of TU and government leaders can do all this remains to be seen.
That the country lacks bricks to complete the reconstruction works is something that needs to be addressed. It is estimated that at least four years would be needed for reconstruction works that require around 12 billion pieces of bricks. At present, the nation has around 850 brick kilns with modern technology. This industry is now capable of producing only 2.5 billions bricks every year even if the brick kilns operated without obstruction. However, the ongoing blockade at the border has had an adverse impact on this industry due to shortage of coal to bake the bricks. It is reckoned that around 250,000 to 300,000 workers of the brick kilns are suffering. The kilns have already lost around 1.12 billion rupees. The lack of fuel is also attributed to the closure of 90 per cent of the kilns.
The worst affected are such plants in the interiors of the Madesh due to the difficulty of providing them with raw materials. The plight of the workers of the brick kilns is now very dismal. Moreover, the brick industries would be able to produce only half their annual capacity even if the blockade is lifted now.