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Student politics ruining quality of govt colleges

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NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, May 4

It is the image of dilapidated buildings, broken windows, worn out furniture and lack of basic infrastructure that one conjures when one thinks of the colleges on the Exhibition Road in Kathmandu.

The unkempt look of these colleges might lead one to think that these colleges lack funds. Surprisingly, these colleges release millions of rupees annually to various student unions only to organize reception and farewell programs.

The 51st report of the Office of the Auditor General (AG) shows that several colleges release millions of rupees to student unions every year. Last year alone, students unions received more than Rs 5.6 million from several constituent colleges under the Tribhuvan University in the Kathmandu Valley.

The Nepal Commerce Campus tops the chart of such colleges releasing huge sums to student unions. The college had released Rs 2.2 million to student unions to organize reception, farewell and other programs.

The Tri-Chandra College released Rs 899,000 to the unions. However, Campus Chief Hari Thapaliya claims that the amount was released under a separate header.

Public Youth Campus, Saraswati Multiple Campus, Sanothimi Campus, Amrit Science Campus, Pulchowk Campus and Public Administration Campus are among others to release amount exceeding the limit.

“Here the tail is wagging the dog,” says former campus chief of Ratna Rajya (RR) Campus Govinda Chandra Pokhrel, while explaining that the student unions exercise full control of the college administration and other financial activities.

Students staging a protest at Tri-chandra College in Kathmandu in this file photo.

Pokharel’s statement hints at the depravity among students unions. The RR Campus since its establishment is one of the institutions, which has produced leftist leaders. Pokhrel added that during his four-year tenure he was allowed to do nothing other than signing documents and releasing money to student unions. “Student unions do not produce the details of expenses. But they exert pressure on the college administration to release budget unconditionally,” Pokhrel said.

After the April movement, students had changed the name of Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus to Nepal Manaviki Campus.

In the upcoming FSU election scheduled for May 28, various student unions are likely to promise construction of proper toilets, garden, managed libraries in the college. However, things are unlikely to improve as the student unions misuse the budget allocated for the upkeep of the college.

“The law does not apply to student unions. They hold college officials hostage for hours if their demands are not fulfilled,” said Pokhrel.

In August last year, the student unions had held the campus chief hostage for the entire night to enroll new students on the last date for admissions. In August 2010, the chiefs of 10 Valley-based colleges had tendered mass resignations to TU VC office following the series of incidents of padlocking colleges and taking the college officials hostage.

Meanwhile, student leaders who initially did not accept the anomalies are not in a position to defend themselves following release of the AG report.
Vice-chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union- Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) Jagrit Rayamajhi said the student leaders must mend their ways to bring student politics on track. However, none of the unions have any intention to put in place the system of checks and balances.

There are several top leaders, who had begun their political career as a student leader. Nepali Congress CA member Gagan Thapa, CPN-UML Lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari and even three-time prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had entered national politics following his successful stint as a student leader.

“Student leaders over the last one-and-a-half decade have failed to play their role,” says UML lawmaker Adhikari who is the former president of FSU of TU Central Campus.

“Junior cadres might accuse me of not giving them space in national politics but in reality they lack integrity required in national level politics,” Adhikari added.

Student unions exist only to take advantage either lawfully or illegally. However, the university authority expresses its inability to regulate the student unions.
Chief of Student Welfare and Sports Council Ganga Bahadur Thapa said that only the particular colleges are authorized to take action against such leaders.

“How can the college officials penalize a leader when they are forced even to hire the part-time teachers recommended by FSU presidents,” says Pokhrel who also once led the umbrella organization of campus chief of TU constituent colleges.

Impact on student enrollment

Campus Amount
Nepal Commerce Campus Rs2.2million 
Tri Chandra Campus Rs899, 000 
Public Youth Campus- Rs864, 000 
Saraswati Multiple Campus Rs452, 000
Sanothimi Campus Rs527, 000
Pulchowk Campus Rs244, 000 
Public Administration Campus Rs261,000
Total Rs5.6million

The amount released by the colleges to student unions in the name of conducting welcome, farewell and interactional program last fiscal year- AG report

The pathetic condition of TU constituent colleges has caused a rapid decline in enrollment of students in the government colleges ultimately benefitting private colleges. A figure shows that the number of private colleges has doubled in recent years.

In the fiscal year 2007/08, there were 420 private colleges affiliated to the Tribhuvan University but this number swelled to 826 by FY 2011/12. But the number of TU constituent colleges remained constant at 60.

Similarly, student enrollment in TU-affiliated private colleges increased to 59 percent from 38 percent in the last five years.

In the fiscal year 2007/08, the total number of students in TU colleges was 272,726 and 62 percent or 167,114 students (pursuing bachelor´s and master´s) were from TU-constituent colleges. But as the number of affiliate colleges reached 826 in 2011/12 and the number of students in these colleges reached 230,066.

More than 400 private colleges are located in the Central Development Region whereas 63 new colleges have opened in the Far-Western Development Region by 2011/12.

 

Source- Republica DailyLink- http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=74108
Published on 2014-05-05 08:00:59
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About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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