Professor Bhusal is the dean of Tribhuvan University faculty of Humanities and social science. He has been a leading scholar in the field of social science. He holds Ph.D. in Development Economics – (Regional Disparities in the levels of Development in Nepal) He is also the chairman, of Research Committee, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tribhuvan University.
Colleges Nepal talked with Dr. Bhusal about current perspective and status of social science in Nepal.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION OF SOCIAL SCIENCE IN NEPAL?
As the study of mankind and social science sectors are progressing throughout the world, the subjects associated with social science are also gradually progressing in Nepal as well. There are advancements in the different issues related to social science all over the world, and we are trying to bring such advancements in Nepal too.
THESE DAYS, STUDENTS ARE MORE TITLED TOWARDS PURE SCIENCE RATHER THAN SOCIAL SCIENCE? WHY IS THIS CHARM DECLINING?
The question is rising whether the social science has really lost its charm among the students. However, the thing is that Tribhuvan University was known for social science in the past like I’ve said before. There are still many students getting admission for pursuing social science degrees.
However, Tribhuvan University has not made it a compulsion for the students to appear in the classroom for taking the examinations, which is the reason why there are fewer students in the classroom in spite of a large number of students getting admitted in the social science degrees.
REFLECT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HUMANITIES STUDIES TOWARDS SOCIETY.
Other subjects are generally limited to their own field of study. However, the social science is the subject that helps the students to understand the society all over the world. The subjects that are included in the social science helps in creating manpower with higher moral standards. The social science subjects help the students to implement the knowledge learned from the other subjects in the society and it also helps in developing leadership traits in them for carrying out various types of activities in the society and the country.
WHAT COULD BE THE SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS FOR ATTRACTING MORE STUDENTS TO THE FIELD OF SOCIAL SCIENCE?
We can either focus on the quantity or the quality of the students. Recently, the focus has shifted towards producing quality manpower that is sellable in the market. And, we are emphasizing more on quality now rather than quantity. If we can produce some top notch sellable manpower, then it can help in attracting more students in this field.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH THAT IS CARRIED OUT IN THE TU?
Research is an integral part of social science. The huge volumes of research works were done by the students in the past, and the research works are still carried out by the students in the present as well. We have around 35-45 students every year, conducting many research works. In addition to these research works, we are also focusing on publishing journals, columns in the National Daily, and so on.
Due to the scarcity of resources in the recent days, we have not been able to publish a sufficient contents in the newspapers.
However, we are trying to revise this practice once again.
WHAT KINDS OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN HUMANITIES IS UNDERGOING IN TU, HAS HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT BEEN ABLE TO INFLUENCE SOCIAL POLICIES IN NEPAL?
The research works done in the university were playing a crucial role in the past in the development of national plans and policies. But, the arrival of NGOs and INGOs has reduced the importance of research works done at the University for the National Level planning, as the research works done in the university is time-consuming.
ALL OTHER DEGREES IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ARE 4-YEAR. IS THERE ANY PLAN TO MAKE SOCIAL SCIENCE DEGREES, 4-YEAR?
While all other degrees are 4-year, with a single major subject, but the social science degree which is 3-year allows the students to major in two subjects. But the question is whether the students will have the same level of interest in the subject matter or not if it is extended to a 4-year degree.
The recent study done on this topic showed that it would be better to make this degree more qualitative at first. However, all other universities are making social science degrees, 4-year degrees, so we must also think about this issue soon.
ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO CONVERT HUMANITIES DEGREES FROM YEARLY TO SEMESTER BASED SYSTEM?
We have already taken Masters level into semester system partially. We are planning to implement semester based system in colleges outside valley in a progressive manner. After successful implementation of semester based system in Masters level, we are looking forward for possibility of implementing semester system in Bachelors level too.
THERE ARE STILL TRADITIONAL COURSES AND CURRICULUM IN HUMANITIES. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO REVISE THE CURRICULUM TO MAKE IT GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE?
We are thoughtful on this since past few years. Converting from Yearly to Semester System is also a step towards it.
The traditional courses, which we are not being able to revise, we are now consulting related professionals to revise those courses, according to the needs of the market with an aim of producing sellable manpower.
ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTORS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL SCIENCE.
There are some subjects like cultures, archaeology, history, economy, music, arts, which are not in demand in the market, but the government should invest to make its citizens aware of these things. And, we have been telling the government to focus on this issue. Nowadays, Lok Sewa examinations have reduced its importance of these subjects in comparison to the past, and we are now trying to deal with them to increase the importance of these subjects once again.
The students usually think about the jobs associated with the subjects they are studying after the completion of their degree. There is a very less scope in the current market for many subjects that are related to the social science, and the government must think about increasing the opportunities related to the subjects associated with the social science.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF DEAN OF HUMANITIES TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?
The subjects related to the field of social science will always be useful for the students. These subjects do not focus on technical things, but it does help in enhancing the moral standards, leadership skills, and vision of the students.
There is a slight decrease in the demand for the social science students, but this slight decrease is a temporary thing. The hard working students who have completed the degree have been able to get a good job in the market, and there isn’t yet a situation of panic for the social science students in the nation.