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Semester system premature for now, say experts



Is the semester system good or bad? The academic circle has been divided over it since the Tribhuvan University (TU) decided to implement semester system at central departments under the TU central campus from February 13 this year.

The proponents of the semester system say its implementation is inevitable to meet the academic calendar better and maintain quality. Those who oppose the system have been portraying it as discriminatory toward poor students. 

“In view of the failure in the past to implement the system, the varsity should have consulted a large circle of people,” said Yogendra Narayan Badbadiya, chairperson of the TU Professors´ Association.

Initially in 1975, the university had introduced the system which did not even last for five years. Badbadiya argues that the university officials have not analyzed the reason for its failure, which could prove damaging yet again. 

To register its dissatisfaction, the Nepal Professors´ Association (NPA), which is aligned to CPN-Maoist, has submitted memorandums at the offices of vice chancellor, rector and registrar of TU to withdraw their decision to implement the semester system.

The NPA Chairperson Jagdish Chandra Bhandari claimed that the TU, under the pressure from donors, is laying the groundwork for forcing students to pay high cost of education. “The World Bank has asked the university to endorse the new concept,” he claimed. 

The organization has threatened to launch protest programs if the decision is not scrapped. While the departments have already modified their courses of study to six months from the previous one-year, the system is set to incorporate a new internal-external evaluation method. 

Under the method, subject teacher will be responsible for 40 marks, out of 100, the remaining marks would be assigned externally.  The Mathematic Central Department has already implemented semester system for two years.

Chief of the department Kedar Nath Uprety says that his experience with the semester system has been good. The quota of 125 students set aside by the department has proved sufficient as 122 students are currently enrolled in second semester and 110 in the first. The department, which is free to set its own fee structure, charges Rs 27,000 per student per semester. 

“We have to conduct practical classes and teachers are to be paid additionally for dictating assignment. The current cost can hardly be compromised,” Uprety said.
As for the failure of semester system in the 70s, educationist Kedar Bhakta Mathema said that the mounting pressure from students on teachers to pass them had led to its collapse.

He fears that same reason could derail the system once again as the politically affiliated student unions have sway over the entire university system.  Similarly, implementation of dual degree system from the same university does no good for the institution, he added.“The system is not bad in itself but the lack of preparation to implement it could prove disastrous,” he added. 

Allowing individual departments to set fees themselves would promote monopoly and make the education expensive, he argued.
“It´s unfair to implement dual cost in education while we have only 13 percent enrollment from among the ideal age group for attending university.”



Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2014-01-15 01:26:40

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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