Education under a federal set-upThe Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association Nepal (Hissan) is holding an international conference at Park Village Resort in Budhanilkantha to discuss education policies that suit the new federal set-up.
The Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association Nepal (Hissan) is holding an international conference at Park Village Resort in Budhanilkantha to discuss education policies that suit the new federal set-up. Visiting experts from 15 countries will present 35 research papers during the two-day ‘International Conference on Quality Education in Federal Nepal’, which kicks off today. Professors and officials from 16 universities from Nepal, India, the US, Bangladesh and the Philippines, among others, will participate in the event.
The conference will be a sharing space for national and international educators to discuss the prospects and challenges of an education under the federal set-up. The conference will include discussions on secondary as well as higher education. Prof Dr Bidya Nath Koirala, Central Department of Education Tribhuwan University will present a paper titled School Education in Nepal: Future Dimension, while Prof Dr Yubaraj Sangroula, principal of Kathmandu School of Law will expound upon the challenges of legal education given the context of a newly promulgated constitution and federal structure.
Alongside Nepali experts, the conference will also see a host of international experts, who will present papers that will serve a model to contrast Nepal’s own transition into the federal setup for education. Presenting at the conference will be Prof VG Hegde, Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University, Delhi, India; Prof Alan McNeil, Clinical Legal Studies, USA; and Prof Qin Jie, Head, International Program, Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Chongqing, China, among others.
Alongside the papers presented, the conference will also see a keynote talk delivered by Prof Dr Suresh Raj Sharma, former Vice Chancellor, Kathmandu University.
With the conference kicking off today, The Post sat down with Ramesh Silwal, the chairman of Hissan, for a brief conversation about the conference and the challenges faced by the education system under a federal modality. Excerpts:
What are the areas that the conference will cover, and what will be the outcome of the conference?
Silwal: This conference will be an international gathering where experts will have rigorous discussions on three thematic areas: Teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and social and global engagement. We will be covering discipline-specific issues relating to Science, Technology, Engineering, Health Sciences, Management, Education, Law and Social Science. Along with the education experts, government officials will also be taking part in the conversation so that the key issues will be indentified and a plan will be developed to take the learning of the conference to a policy level. Hopefully, there will be a consensus among the attendees, which will help us layout the future framework of education in this country.
The conference is taking place as the country is gearing to make structural changes to make room for the federal setup. Are there any issues that you have anticipated to be addressed in the conference?
Silwal: Our top priority is to work in accordance with the constitutional provision, which states that everyone has a right to education in their mother tongue. However, there are logistical issues such as manpower and curriculum development that we need to find a way of addressing. So far, we have operated within the central, standarised curriculum, where everyone is learning the same thing. The challenge in front us is to have variation in the curriculum and school setup that will be province specific, while also ensuring that there is a standard maintained throughout the country to judge the caliber of a particular student. Similarly, law education poses a specific challenge because future lawyers will have to deal with an entirely different system of law, for which there is no precedence in Nepal. Therefore, we are looking at international experts from other countries to share their lessons that they learned while setting up a federal system of education.
Can you inform us of the other issues that you are covering at the conference?
Silwal: We want to identify ways of increasing investment in the education sector, along with discussing ways of promoting Nepal as an educational hub for foreign students, as well as retaining Nepali students who are opting to study abroad. This will require us to upgrade our physical infrastructure along with ensuring that we provide quality education on par with global standards. I am also looking forward to see what
else will come up during the conference.