आइतबार, ०९ बैशाख २०८१
English शिक्षामा गत साता

VC Selection Tops Media Coverage

The Social Development Committee of Karnali Provincial Assembly decided to ask the Province Government about the cause of abolition of the Education development Directorate.

मंगलबार, ०१ फागुन २०८०

Higher education (HE) was most frequently occuring  news in the Nepali media last week. Selection of the Vice-chancellor (VC) of Tribhuwan University (TU), hacking of TU Examination Control Office’s online service, and disputes in Madhesh and  Gandaki Universities, BP Koirala Health Science Academy among the top HE media coverage last week.

HE got 53  and while school education got  46 percent among education related material in the Newspapers, the Online Media and the Television. News about the management of HE got priority and the selection of VC of TU related material was in focus.

The Selection and Recommendation Committee shortlisted 14 candidates out of  43 applicants was the main issue for the media. The Committee comprises  the Minister for  Education and Science and Technology as the Coordinator. Applicants’ CV, planning and concept notes were evaluated to shortlist the candidates. Candidates regarde as  ‘heavy weight' among applicants such as former VC of the Open University Prof. Dr. Lekhnath Sharma,  VC of the Mid-western University Pro. Dr. Nanda Bdr. Singh, former Registrar and former Chairperson of the  National Examination Board  Prof. Dr. Chandramani Paudel  were not shortlisted. Media gave an opposing voice for  shortlisting former VC of TU Dr Tirtha Khaniya and former VC of Pokhara University  Dr Keshar Jung Baral because of their controversial  background. The media was doubtful about the ex-officio Chancellor of TU Premier  Prachanda keeping his promise of not distributing VCs among  political parties as in the past. Khaniya was accused of plagiarism and affiliated to  Nepali Congress Party of the ruling coalition.  Dr Khaniya was accused of copying texts from the article of a Turkish Professor. And Dr Baral has a case of corruption in court. 

In another news, the shortlisted candidate and current Acting VC of TU Prof Dr Shivalal Bhushal who was appointed for  discharging daily operational duties  was reported appointing assistant deans, department heads, campus chiefs under sharing deals among political parties that have long-term implications. 

The former VCs of TU Kedar Bhakta Mathema, Mahesh Kumar Upadhyaya, Kamal Krishna Joshi and Nabin Jung Shah released a Statement  expressing their concerns in the shortlist and  suggestions for  the appointment of VC and improving TU .  ‘A competent VC would not be enough to improve the situation but the incumbent VC should be able  to select his/her  team independently’. the statement  suggested. They however,  urged on the delayed statement, not to keep this  key position of the university vacant for a long time. 

There were a couple of articles published around TU and the appointment of its VC. One suggested putting an end to the dirty political game and proceeding through the board of trustees.  Another has drawn  the conclusion that  the Higher Education Bill, 2080 got diverted from  National Education Policy, 2076.

In another news related TU, Examination Control Office (ECO) informed that it cannot provide the service online as the system was hacked. It had announced two days ago that the services related to the ECO would be provided  online. The online service was  not in operation since February 2, the day the system was hacked. The news quoted the cyber security expert that the problem occurred because the system was built by a third party and was not tested before it was put in service.

There was news about Karnali Provincial Government abolishing the Education Development Directorate and Human Resource Development Center. These two  are among 28 offices to be abolished by the provincial government. The Social Development Committee of Karnali Provincial Assembly decided to ask the Province Government about the cause of abolition of the Education development Directorate.  

The Itahari Sub-metropolitan City (ISMC) Council made a decision making teachers, civil servants and peoples’ representatives mandatory to send their children to a public school (not to a private school) - the news reported.  There was also news that  the City will implement the same kind of uniform in all the schools in the city. The city has decided to abolish  the practice of some (all private) schools putting neck-ties on and ordered the wearing of the Bhadgaule topi (black Newari styled cap originating in Bhaktapur) as part of  the school uniform. In Itahari sub-metropolis, there are 134 private and 36 public schools with  63 thousand 5 hundred 26 students. 

ISMC is not the first or unique municipality to make bold vows of making public schooling compulsory for public officials. Its implementation is so hard that it is not known to have been implemented anywhere in the country. Both of the above decisions were carried by the media and the single uniform for all was stressed by many while the public schools for all was more important news. It indicates how the media misses to select the issue of importance. 

Because technical education is not connected to the labor market, the market is not able to get necessary human resources, the news published under the heading 'Technical Schools in Every Crossroads not found when looking for Skilled People  Around'. The Gandaki Province Chief of Center of Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) Mr Damoder Devkota is quoted saying  that the technical education is run only to fulfill the quota but not as per market demands.

Agricultural engineering course is being  started from the coming session by the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU). The university has  specialized courses  on Agriculture, Forestry, Animal Sciences and Fisheries so far.  Agriculture Faculty Dean Pro. Dr. Arjun Kumar Shrestha said the permission to be taken for 48 seats in Agricultural Engineering,  the news quoted. 

News, Chhanyanath Rara Municipality announcing  free education for 7 hundred destitute students from 45 schools of the Municipality, was broadcasted. 

A news article published reported about 19 children from 17 households of Majhi settlement in Syangja Galyang-9, near Kaligandaki river were out of school. Parents of these children also did not encourage their children to go school because the school is located far away, the news elaborated. 

An article titled 'Education in Nepal: Economic Growth or Class Discrimination?' compared the educational achievements between economically better-off and worse off families . When 59 percent of students from rich quintiles  passed the 10th grade, only 10 percent from poor quintiles  passed the same. Situation was similar for  8th grade  (basic level) . 91 percent of children from the rich quantile  pass the basic school while only 62 percent from the bottom quantile, the article mentioned. In today's technological era, 37 percent have knowledge of ICT from rich families while only 2 percent from poor. ‘This data illustrates  that education in Nepal is a means  of deepening  division between the economic classes' the article’ argued.

There was news, a private school has supported all the necessary materials including painting of the classrooms, furniture, Television for ECD classes in a school in Tulsipur Sub-metropolis. Other news from last week were, most of the Chepang students of Rastriya Adharbhut Bidyalaya of Ichchha Manakamana Rural Municipality (RM)-2 are regular and improving their learning by being able to stay in the hostel and the mid-day meal helped to make 98 percent of children regular in Bishnu secondary school in Baiteswor RM-7 of Dolakha. 

Duduwa RM of Banke started making local curriculum, Rong RM started parents education program and the children of ten years arm conflict survivors, and children of people's movement martyrs are studying and get nurture in Sahid smriti Aabasiya Vidyalaya, Tulsipur Sub-metropolis-17, Jankatta, are also last week's news.

Three hundred students studying in Nandi Ratri School of Naxal, Kathmandu was published under the heading of 'The World Becomes Different after Learning Reading and Writing'; Triplet sisters who passed 12th grade from Vishwa Niketan Secondary School participated in the unified examination conducted by the Medical Education commission were able to get the scholarship to study nursing, the 13 students who are studying bachelors are  holding a campaign ‘Red Ant’ to help school students to get rid of cyber bullying, were other news from the last week. 

The news of the Provincial Far Western Government announcing paying fees for Mr Rahul Nepali from Gauriganga Municipality-6, Kathautia who won the scholarship to study MBBS but was not able to get admission because he didn't have enough fee to get admission news was published.

School level textbook printing at the final stage’, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Ashok Kumar Rai was quoted  and ‘that the government is ready to give permission to run a Medical College at Triyuga Municipality, Gaighat’ by  other news of the last week.

An article 'Who is the Culprit of Nepali Student's Troubles?' stated many Nepali students who came to Canada facing  problems due to the lack of jobs and  news from the Home Ministry of UK prohibiting foreign students taking dependent relatives from last week were also reported.

In an article from last week titled 'when the parents say they don't want to teach their children' argued about  the problems of superficial perspective on education, old patterned curriculum, teaching learning and evaluation in Nepal.

Another news report presenting a sexually embarrassing dance in an  event at the President Running Shield Competition held at Nilkantha Secondary School causing a dispute between the municipality and the  principal. Filing a case against the Siraha Municipality for transferring the Headteacher? of Sarowor Secondary School at the High Court  disturbing the school's teaching activity was also reported.

Some other last week's news included are: the staff of BP Koirala Health Science Academy return to their work after the agreement  of starting the process of promotion of staff, the students and professors of B.SC CSIT and M.SC. CSIT program of TU  opposing the decision taken by TU Executive Council to run the program on their own. 

Students having go to a bush to pee because the school's toilet don't have a door and water in Janamukhi Primary School in Sindhuli, Law Faculty of Gandaki University assigned coordinator, the controversy  on chief guest for the putting foundation ceremony of Madhesh Agriculture University, a student organization padlocking the university office that  disturbed the teaching, registration of the students, new admission, were reported last week. Other news from last week is that the Students Union  hung the chair of Campus Chief at a tree in SanoThimi Campus, Bhaktapur because no student stayed in the campus's hostel.

Another news about the teachers from Rajbiraj of Kanchanpur Municipality padlocking the Municipality Office because the Municipality didn't give the teachers' salary for three months, was carried by the media.

It is not the only Municipality where teachers have not been paid for months due to disputes between the Municipality and the teachers. It is an ugly image of the neglect of public schools  as most of the children of teachers and political leaders and other influential people go to a private school. There is no intervention from higher levels nor there is any public uproar as most of the children who go to public schools belong to ‘voiceless’ and unorganized section of the society.

Read this analysis in Nepali : विविमा रुमलिएको समय

'Education  Week' is a joint effort to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected  media. The main aim of this effort is to identify, enumerate and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news from the perspective of social justice and creative pedagogies. This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP), has produced this analysis based on the matter  carried  in dailies Kantipur, Gorkhapatra (Nepali) and  The Himalayan Times (English), online  media Onlinekhabar, Setopati and Ratopati and Himalayan TV and Nepal Television between 1 - 10 Feb 2024 (18-27 Magh 2080) - the Editor.