Gopal Man Shrestha is a Nepalese politician from Nepali Congress party. He was Acting President of Nepali Congress Democratic also. He is a senior Central Working Committee member now. He is currently the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister under Sher Bahadur Deuba lead Government.
Colleges Nepal talked with Hon. Deputy Prime minister and Education Minister about current issues of education in Nepal.
HOW HAS THE GOVERNMENT TAKEN EDUCATION?
The Constitution of Nepal quotes education as the fundamental rights of people. Each individual must benefit from quality education, provided with scholarships and make it mandatory. The secondary level of education should be free of cost for the underprivileged group. Accessibility of higher level education, making education scientific, technical, professional and skill-based, employment friendly, moral and people oriented. One school one library and community-based library should get established. Building human resource for national development education is a must. In a democratic system, public citizen’s ethical and moral right the school’s management must be improvised and impart quality based education is the policy of the government.
COMING TO 2074 B.S., SINCE 2068 B.S. THE INVESTMENT IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR IS DECLINING. WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT SHOWING SELFISHNESS IN FUNDING EDUCATION SECTOR EVERY YEAR?
National Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance determine the budget spent on different sectors. Indeed, for past six years budget’s structure instead of limitations in the budget structure, planned distribution from the scarce resources is the discrepancy area. Today the political scenario is based on stability. The government will focus on the expansion of budget on education and health sectors. Despite the budget is limited on education the size of the budget has definitely increased.
EACH YEAR IF THE BUDGET ON EDUCATION DECREASES THEN HOW “EDUCATION FOR ALL” POLICY BE FULFILLED?
It is not a matter of importance to know the decrease in budget. In the past few years, although the decline in the budget for education is observed, Education for all policy is valid and the government is fully committed on this. With democracy in Nepal, the development of education sector is growing significantly.
During Rana’s rule and autocratic regime, education sector could not flourish. After the restoration of democracy, numerous schools, colleges, and Universities have opened and it is still continuing.
At the present, there has been a considerable development in the education sector of Nepal.
WHERE DID WE COME SHORT IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR, IN POLICY FORMATION OR IN THE IMPLEMENTATION?
We are informed that before 2007B.S the number of educational institutes were very few. Educational institutes, religious institutes were commenced under sole proprietorship and for a community. Post democracy, state and private sectors also started investing in the education sector. Overall, the work in policy formulation for the education sector is positive. If we can forge ahead by making implementation stronger for education, it will be very useful.
IF THE GOVERNMENT IS UNSTABLE THEN WHAT WILL BE THE OVERALL IMPACT ON GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION SECTOR?
Not only in the education sector but also for all round development of a nation, the challenges for timely sanction of policy and directives, lack of regulation at the national level on the issues of schools, teachers and students, Change of government and new people taking the responsibility of Education Minister understanding past incidents and monitoring progress takes time and is also challenging.
FOR THE PROGRESS OF EDUCATION SECTOR, WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION?
As of today, the government of Nepal has classified education on three levels of the hierarchy:
Basic education from class 1 to class 8, Secondary education for class 9 to class 12 and higher level education like bachelors, masters, M.Phil and Ph.D.
Apart from general education, technical education based schools are also operating. In the coming days, our government from the book-based knowledge and higher education has taken a step towards producing the skilled human resource for training in the mid- level which is very useful for national development and international job markets.
YEARLY THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS GO ABROAD FOR MEDICAL STUDY. WHAT ARE THE PLANS OF THE EDUCATION MINISTRY TO RETAIN THEM IN NEPAL?
Since Nepal has entered into the era of globalization and open market, studying abroad for higher education is an important area. To make the MBBS study more organized, the admission examination of all medical colleges throughout the nation must be
centralized. Along with making the MBBS education system more organized we can increase the number of seats in medical colleges that will gradually result in the decrease of number of students flying abroad for further studies.
As this field of education is very sensitive, all the students that come to Nepal after completing MBBS education abroad must pass the merit test that is organized by the medical council. Along with that as per the requirement of the nation, we must establish regional medical colleges in various parts of Nepal to retain students in Nepal.
WHAT SORT OF WORK HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT TO REGULATE THE CONCEPT OF ‘OPEN UNIVERSITIES’?
For higher education, under the 2073 Education Act, there is some work going on for making education accessible to the general public for producing skilled and knowledge based human resource. Appointing faculty heads of University including Vice-President, Registrar is being worked out currently.
IN NEPAL THE PASS PERCENTAGE IS SEEN AS THE MEASUREMENT TOOL OF EDUCATION SECTOR’S DEVELOPMENT, IS THIS CORRECT AN APPROACH?
In some way or the other, we have to measure the outcome. In Nepal and other countries on the basis of pass out ratio, the development of education sector is mapped. This type of tools is not so crucial. Instead of the quantitative approach, quality based education should be the indicator for measurement. For Universities, job placements of their graduates, entrepreneurship and leadership skills should be the indicator of our education system.
NEPAL HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME AN EDUCATION HUB, FOR THIS WHAT KIND OF EDUCATION POLICIES DOES THE EDUCATION MINISTRY HAVE?
Universities of Nepal and foundations should be developed to international requirements and standards. If this can be achieved then nothing can stop Nepal as an educational hub. For this nation should provide more funds for education and focus on infrastructure for enhancing education system. The environment of Nepal, captivating scenery, cultural diversity has potential to make the foreign students’ attraction for us and destination for education.