EDITORIAL: Mediocrity and nepotism cannot be allowed to rule at universities

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN) - A university is a place for advancing knowledge and TU must ensure its students get to do so.

A university is a place for advancing knowledge, not just handing out degrees. This is what makes up the fundamental fabric of any institution of higher education. But as the world progresses and while research and innovation have been the hotbeds of universities in other parts of the world, Tribhuvan University, which once served as the place for intellectual and political debate, continues to be crippled by the current authority.

The country’s oldest and largest university, Tribhuvan University, where political appointments are rife, is infamous for its poor management and lack of quality teaching and innovation.

As reported in this paper, Tribhuvan University is becoming a centre of anomalies.

The controversy surrounding the university currently is that many senior officials have been charged with manipulating marks of some candidates who had taken exams for jobs in the university. Among the implicated include the Chairman of the Tribhuvan University Service Commission Chaitanya Prasad Sharma, member Chintamani Pokharel, administrative chief of the commission office Parshuram Koirala and others who have been accused of abusing their positions to appoint the relatives of  university officials to various administrative posts.

The fact that universities play a critical role in structuring societies cannot be overstated. But the concerned authorities have repeatedly failed to understand this. Establishing the university in 1959 as the country’s first institute of higher education under the Tribhuvan University Act served as the starting point to the larger drive that was aimed at modernising education in Nepal. Upon its establishment, being a part of the university ecosystem was a feat in itself. Perhaps, the commitment to excellence and quality education once upon a time earned the university an international reputation, too. Even today, when applying abroad, a degree from the TU carries much more weight than from any other institution of higher education in Nepal. But those tasked to ensure the smooth functioning of TU are slowly letting this hard-earned reputation go to waste.

The latest controversy surrounding TU definitely does not bode well for the future of the university. Therefore, it is important to prevent this iconic institute from undue political interference. What’s more, the university is also no longer attractive to individuals having the intellectual aptitude but without the means or want for any political affiliation. These are worrying trends which need to be addressed immediately.

Education is supposed to a life-transforming experience. The ones trusted with imparting that knowledge must treat it accordingly. Teaching as a profession is more of a creative exploration. Less qualified candidates who are merely the kin of university officials cannot be hired or promoted to the post of professors. Mediocrity cannot be allowed to rule when the sole purpose of attaining higher education is to indulge in creative freedom, to learn and to unlearn.

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  • Editorial: Mediocrity and nepotism cannot be allowed to rule at universities

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