Professor (Dr) Suresh Raj Sharma is a foremost educationist and founder vice chancellor of Kathmandu University (KU). He is the Coordinator of Kathmandu University School of Law Planning Advisory Committee and the life member of the Board of Trustee of Kathmandu University.
He holds a Doctorate degree of Philosophy from CNAA London. He was the first Executive Director of the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT); Member Secretary in National Education Committee; Member of National Commission for UNESCO; and National Delegate to the SAARC Technical committee on Science and technology. Dr Sharma is also famous as educational administrator. He has made significant contribution on the development of education policy in Nepal. He has published number of books, research papers, articles, secondary school curriculum textbook and many more to his credit.
You have contributed 50 years of your life in the education sector of Nepal, how does it feel looking back?
Back then, we lacked modern education system. TU was the first and only University in Nepal that provided higher education. Since then, we’ve noticed many positive improvements as well as many unsatisfying activities but definitely, improvements are more.
What’s keeping you busy these days?
I retired three years earlier from KU before the designated period. I had plan of building a technical school in my hometown, Sindhuli since number of technical schools in Nepal is very less. Those who are strong economically can go abroad for further education but economically well students are deprived of quality education. So I thought of establishing a technical school.
Is Nepal’s education system & quality far behind compared to other countries?
We can’t say Nepali education sector falls far behind from other countries. It’s a fact that we are not being able to catch up with them as they started long ago than Nepal but Nepal is keeping its track. TU, being the first and only University in Nepal at that time had utmost responsibility to provide quality education, facilities and resources to its students which was little difficult. At that time, students preferred abroad study over unmanaged education system of Nepal. But scenario has changed as government is emphasizing more on education sector since few years which has gradually changed the face of education in Nepal.
Does the quality of education at KU meet International standards?
Politics have less interference in our education system. Form filling and result is always on time. We focus on quality education. The education here is no less than international level education. After graduation, students have found admission in respected colleges in foreign countries, within Nepal also, they are either employed in a reputed organization or have created employment for themselves. More than 80% of graduates are getting jobs after three months of graduation and it’s a matter of proud for us.
6 to 7000 students are currently studying in KU. It’s not possible to exceed numbers for now. Increasing the capacity will only degrade the quality. Quality is more important than adding students. Also, autonomy is important but the proper way of using it is more important. But apart from the situations, we are working on different approaches to develop KU.
How is KU incorporating IT in education?
KU is the first University to introduce courses of information and technology in the country. And Computer Education was first commenced by Kathmandu University. Later on, we thoroughly added computer engineering and other technical courses in our syllabus.
At KU, the students can submit the assignment online. We have been providing different new courses regarding technology. Biotechnology is newly emerged and highly desired among the students. In this way, we will be adding and improving courses as per the need and demand.
You have played a crucial role introducing technical education in Nepal. What were the challenges you faced on the way?
Both need and demand of technical education is rising rapidly in today’s world as it is the only option that fits in the market for the job these days. Realizing this, me and my team decided to work on this. Since people barely knew about information and technology and were not efficient enough to operate the modern machines, we faced lots of hurdles. One of the major challenges was to make people technology friendly.
News related to politics has surfaced time and again in KU. What’s your view on political influence in KU?
KU students are never involved in politics directly rather the external forces are forcing them to get into politics. Since we have tried to provide students with every facility possible there is no reason for students to lock KU. KU is an independent educational institution, so politics is none of its concern. Though sometime news comes out but it’s not because of the students of KU. We are working to establish politics free KU. Politics will not decrease the quality of KU.
What are your Future Plans?
There’s nothing much in my to-do list. I use my time writing books these days. It’s only for my pleasure and not for commercial motive. I have tons of information to share with my readers. It gives me freedom to ink down my wisdom. Besides that, I'm building a technical school in Sindhuli and I'm still willing to contribute in the education sector.