With new controversies rising, Tribhuvan University is becoming centre of anomaliesCases of irregularities, one after another, are tarnishing the image of the country’s oldest varsity
Last week, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority filed a corruption case against around a dozen senior officials from Tribhuvan University.
They have been charged with manipulating marks of some candidates who had taken exams for jobs in the university. The anti-graft agency said the officials in question had increased the marks obtained by them, who are said to have close relations with the officials, to ensure they got the job, depriving the deserving candidates of the opportunity.
A day before the commission filed the corruption case, senior officials of the university admitted before a House committee that an official at the Office of the Controller of Examinations was involved in increasing the obtained marks of a master’s student on several occasions to ensure that he got a degree in three subjects.
These are the latest examples of how anomalies have grown in the country’s premier institution, which is losing its sheen and earning disrepute.
“You get what you are seeing today when politics rules the roost in academic institutions,” says Kedar Bhakta Mathema, who served as the vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University for four years from 1991.
“The top leadership of the universities is picked on the basis of political sharing,” Mathema told the Post. “Such appointees enjoy political patronage. This practice, which
has been going on for quite some time, only promotes impunity.”
Despite widespread criticism for plagiarism, Tirtha Khaniya, the current vice-chancellor of the university, who is also a political appointee, has continued his job.
Ferit Kilickaya, an associate professor at Middle East Technical University and Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Turkey has accused Khaniya of lifting a section of his article for a paper published in a journal by the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association.
Education experts say they do not have much hope for a university whose vice-chancellor himself faces plagiarism charges.
Professors at the university say they were shocked to hear about the recent developments but were yet to decide on the steps to be taken.
“Our attention has been drawn by these incidents,” said Yogendra Badbariya, former president of the Tribhuvan University Teachers Association. “I am sure our friends will raise voice against such malpractices.”
The university teachers are currently busy with the general convention of their association and are focused on strategies to ensure victory for their panels.
The university teachers, who are supposed to give direction to the society, spent the whole day last Thursday debating membership issues. Ways to improve the university did not figure in their meeting.
Their convention, initially scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli the same afternoon, was cancelled after the teachers failed to agree on membership issues.
“University teachers have turned into cadres of political parties,” said a professor at Nepal Law Campus who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his colleagues are also part of university politics. “What changes can you expect from them?”
Established in 1959, Tribhuvaun University once was an exemplary institution.
But over the years, the university has turned into a hotbed of political powerplay instead of it evolving as a centre of academic activities.
Professors, both current and former, say the university these days is run not by academicians but by those who are picked by the politicians.
The recent incidents show that the university, which has around 85 percent enrolment of university students in the country, has become the centre of anomalies, they say.
“The professors who have a crucial role to play in guiding the society in the right direction are themselves in the wrong direction,” Mathema, who is remembered for introducing significant reform measures in the university, told the Post. “It’s sad to see that professors at the university have maintained an eerie silence even as the image of the institution deteriorates by the day.”