Same old syllabusCollege students are going abroad since they can’t get modern research-based education here
Many renowned universities around the world are focusing on research-based education which provides many opportunities to students and scholars to study or conduct research in-house or in a practical field. They offer a teaching methodology which prioritises soft skills, practical skills and extracurricular activities as opposed to theoretical learning alone. These skills help students to build innovative vision and confidence to rectify any problem. The real meaning of a student is one who studies something, is an attentive observer and can analyse the cases and work on them with their own understanding. These qualities allow students to integrate themselves with an innovative study approach.
With the objective of upgrading the quality of education, many renowned foreign universities have also been providing training to young scholars through regular workshops, guest lectures, field visits and conferences. During these occasions, scholars get continuous support from the faculty and university to carry out their research activities which helps to enrich their personal development besides contributing to the university’s research arena. A research-oriented programme is commonly recognised as an appropriate institutional provision for new university students. With the increasing use of innovative learning approaches, particularly in programmes targeting older students, there is a need to integrate all these systems in universities of Nepal.
Our education system needs to be improved, and we should observe closely why these universities are using such techniques and why the students who graduate from there come up with new concepts and visions for the world. Millions of dollars are being invested in research and development, and many scholarships for local and foreign students are declared annually to attract students from around the world. We can’t doubt the quality of education in our universities, but a theoretical approach only cannot bring any remarkable change in our society. So our education system needs to be upgraded, and the government should also allocate more funding for educational research.
A separate government sub-body must be established to find out which systems around the country need to be amended and a plan should be prepared to boost their efficiency. The plan should be sent to these research universities so that students can observe, analyse and come up with innovative solutions to sort out the problems pointed out by the sub-body. This will not only help to resolve problems but also allow students to learn, get exposure and provide their inputs. We can set an example in the world, and this method is better than expecting foreign assistance in every case.
It is quite obvious that many students from the developing countries go to foreign universities for quality education. This raises a question about the quality and accessibility of our universities. Many prospective students are looking towards foreign universities, but the government is not overly concerned about why this is happening. This is not only because there are fewer opportunities here, but because there is no research-based teaching, investment in innovation and quality education like in foreign universities. Students in the developing countries may be reading as much as students in foreign universities, but our methods and formats of reading are from the old generation which result in no innovations.
In order to bring an innovative approach to teaching and learning in developing countries like Nepal, we must amend the on-going trend and enrich institutions with a new approach that focuses on soft skills, practical approach and extracurricular activities. Universities and technical institutions should not limit themselves as teaching bodies, but also become established as research centres where innovations and inventions happen as required by the country. Upgrading to advanced technology, running student training programmes and building infrastructure as per advancements in the world must be done on a regular basis.
Foreign universities have strong faculty, and the minimum criteria for being a faculty member are also fixed. Some of them are related to experience, exposure and amount of research work done. This is not seen in many institutions in Nepal. By learning from foreign universities, incorporating innovative methods of teaching and learning, reinforcing infrastructure as per need and motivating students to pursue innovation can lift Nepal’s education system to a higher level.
Our education system should follow the saying ‘Think globally, act locally’. Government policies and plans for a new and innovative education system, proper and regular monitoring to ensure the implementation of the specified criteria and workshops, international conferences and seminars for motivating students and providing them hands-on experience and exposure will help to upgrade the quality of the education system. This will encourage students to enrol in domestic institutions besides turning the country into an attractive destination for learning even for foreign students.
Bhattarai is a civil engineer and youth activist