Appointed 2 years ago as the rector of Tribhuvan University, Prof. Dr. Sudha Tripathi has been contributing to the development of education sector in Nepal. She is a well-known critic and writer as well. Dr. Tripathi has served TU as professor of Nepali subject.
Colleges Nepal talked with Dr. Tripathi about the education policy, its execution, and role of TU.
ALMOST ALL THE PROGRAMS ARE BEING OPERATED IN SEMESTER SYSTEM BUT NOT SOCIAL SCIENCE. WHY?
We are implementing semester system one by one. We will soon introduce semester system for Social Science as well.
WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO IMPLEMENT SEMESTER SYSTEM IN SOCIAL SCIENCE?
We are working on it. To change the annual system into the semester, we need funds but we don’t have enough funds for that. We are working on what can be done within the budget we have. To transform from annual to semester system we need a lot of changes. However, that does not mean its only limited to updating infrastructures, or well-facilitated classrooms. Yes we need to do that but along with that we need to give first priority to update the curriculum. Semester is not only about breaking yearly system into two semester. Semester based teaching approach requires different teaching methodology. We are working on this transformation by referring national and international context. Along with updating curriculum, focus should also be given to train teachers to adopt semester based teaching approach. So, I have been giving priority to curriculum designing and teachers training.
IN COMPARISON TO OTHER UNIVERSITIES, TU IS DELAYING ON INTRODUCING AND UPDATING NEW PROGRAMS. WHY?
We have introduced few new programs including Peace and Conflict, Social Work, general study and Computer Science. TU runs under Nepal government, but only 40 to 50 percent of expenses are funded by the government. To add new programs, we need buildings, teachers, staffs and other infrastructure. University alone is not able to invest in the new programs.
MANY STUDENTS ARE GOING ABROAD FOR THEIR FURTHER STUDIES. WHAT CAN GOVERNMENT DO TO STOP THEM?
Talking about studying medicine, the government has stated that it is planning to open two medical colleges under TU. Currently IOM has only 72 seats and we haven't been able to increase it. Moreover, government medical colleges cannot directly increase the number of seats until the infrastructure is ready to accommodate it. Instead of promoting students to go abroad for studying medicine, government should encourage private sector investment for running medical colleges if they are capable enough in terms of infrastructure and resources. However, quality can be maintained by the concerned authority such as dean office.
RECENTLY WE HEARD THAT THE ANSWER SHEETS OF PUBLIC YOUTH COLLEGE GOT MISPLACED. HAVE YOU DRAWN ANY PLAN TO CONDUCT THE EXAM IN THE MORE DISCIPLINED MANNER?
Just because answer sheets were lost once, does not mean our examination system is not disciplined. Undoubtedly, it was a big mistake so we should not try to hide it. We should work on correcting the mistakes if any. After the incident, we immediately conducted the examination.
WHAT HAS TU DONE TO GAIN FOREIGN ASSOCIATION AND PARTNERSHIP IN ORDER TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION?
Although it's not as expected but we have been successful in establishing foreign associations. Science, management and education stream is more successful in establishing and conducting exchange programs compared to law.
HAVE YOU DONE ANYTHING TO MAKE EDUCATION MARKET ORIENTED?
It is seen that in the annual system, students were not much focused on the quality of education. This is undoubtedly a wrong practice. We are not being able to produce the graduates as per the demand of the market. And this is because of the old curriculum. So we should focus on designing the new curriculum in a way that it can fulfill the need of the recruiters. To make this happen, we are planning to cooperate with various organizations and we will design curriculum after in depth research and analysis.
WE FREQUENTLY HEAR EDUCATIONISTS SAYING THAT NEPAL CAN BE AN EDUCATIONAL HUB. WHAT STEPS CAN TU TAKE TO MAKE NEPAL AN EDUCATIONAL HUB?
Yes, there are lots of possibilities that Nepal can be an educational hub but it’s very difficult. TU can take initiations but there’s no such environment and support to implement it. Excessive politicization have negatively affected the students, teachers and the system. Despite the problems, protests and interference, TU is running. It’s sad that nobody is concerned about TU and its quality as a whole. Everybody are after their personal benefits and rights. The university can upgrade only with the support from its related bodies and concerned authorities.
LASTLY, WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE FOR THE STUDENTS?
The University needs the support of the students. Their support will definitely take the university to the number one position. We are trying to improve the face of the education in Nepal, let’s work on it together.
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