Tenth university in the offingThe much talked about Open University—for students who cannot attend regular classes—is in the making with the Legislature-Parliament set to endorse the law to govern it in its next meeting.
The much talked about Open University—for students who cannot attend regular classes—is in the making with the Legislature-Parliament set to endorse the law to govern it in its next meeting.
The Open University Bill, which was set to be tabled in Parliament for endorsement on Friday, was delayed due to an obstruction created by the main opposition Nepali Congress.
The bill was finalised by the parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare two months ago after consultation with lawmakers and the stakeholders. The university supported by the Non-resident Nepali Association (NRNA) will focus on distant and open learning, allowing students to take exams after self study. Students who cannot take regular classes can join courses offered by the country’s newest university.
“Since the bill was finalised unanimously, it’s sure to get endorsed by the next meeting of Parliament,” said Ganesh Man Gurung, a member of the House committee. The next meeting of Parliament is due on Sunday. However, it is not sure if the House business will proceed on the day as the NC is still adamant on continuing with its obstruction unless its demand for providing a lump sum payment of Rs200,000 to the earthquake-displaced families is addressed.
On June 10, 2014, a memorandum was signed between NRNA President Shesh Ghale and Mahashram Sharma, then joint-secretary at the Ministry of Education, pledging NRNA support to the university. The NRNA has agreed to provide necessary support for starting the programme besides delivering technical and technological assistance to set up the university. It will also help in construction of administrative buildings, most likely to be situated in Banepa. “The search for an appropriate site is going on. Hopefully, it will be finalised within a month,” said Gurung.
Education experts have long been demanding an open university alongside a tightened admission process at other universities. Currently, students in Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s oldest varsity with a share of 90 percent of total university students, are enrolled without screening while a large number of them take exams without attending classes.
Its burden is expected to lessen with the Open University, according to Gurung, who also is a former vice-chairman of University Grants Commission, the body that governs the universities.