Lack of fund hits rebuilding of university propertiesThree years have passed since the devastating earthquake struck the country, but the reconstruction of academic and administrative buildings of the universities and colleges non-starter mainly in the lack of adequate fund.
Three years have passed since the devastating earthquake struck the country, but the reconstruction of academic and administrative buildings of the universities and colleges non-starter mainly in the lack of adequate fund.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake of April 2015 reduced to rubbles 32 university and college buildings, including the main administrative office of Tribhuvan University. In addition, 44 other administrative and academic buildings were severely damaged, while 99 others suffered minor damage. The records at the University Grants Commission, the government entity that oversees university education, show the disaster destroyed 454 classrooms and damaged 1,021 others, hampering the teaching and learning activities in the university and colleges. Among the nine universities, the TU and the Nepal Sanskrit University bore the brunt. Besides, 54 TU-affiliated community colleges were destroyed in the disaster which also left 171 others severely damaged.
Three years on, only two administrative buildings of the TU have been rebuilt while 10 other damaged properties have hardly been repaired. Officials at the UGC say the reconstruction of the university structures have been low on the government’s agenda as it has only released 10 percent of the total required budget.
“Our assessment shows a minimum of Rs8 billion will be required for the reconstruction of infrastructure at the university level,” said Binod Bhattarai, programme and planning officer at the UGC, adding that the government has only released Rs 855 million. He points out the lack of adequate budget as the major hurdle in the reconstruction drive.
Bhattarai said the UGC has hardly been able to allocate Rs20 million for the reconstruction of the community schools.
The government did not allocate any money in the fiscal year 2015/16 for the reconstruction of university infrastructure, while releasing Rs477 million in the fiscal year 2016/17 and Rs380 million for this fiscal year.
The UCG has not released any budget to other institutions due to the lack of adequate budget. Having foreseen the present scenario, the previous TU authority had decided to raise the money on its own to reconstruct its property.
But it could only collect Rs150 million through the ‘Reconstruction Fund’ drive which was not enough to rebuild the main administrative buildings.
Sudha Tripathi, the TU rector, blamed the government for not prioritising the reconstruction of the university facilities.