It’s already time. It’s now or never. We have been deprived of a proper extensive research centre for a very long time now, and we are already late to catch-up with the rest of the world.
The election atmosphere has gripped Nepal right now. Local governments will have authorities on their seats soon. This is the time for students in Nepal, with support of student unions and youth councils, to shout out loudest to the concerned authorities, and have their righteous demand fulfilled.
The development of our history was rather unfortunate. At the times we were living in isolation, the western world was already involved in sciences, philosophical reasoning, and exploration. They realised the essence of questioning everything. Meanwhile we were on the medieval system of production, immature in reasoning (too shy to speak against religion), living our life in subsistence and in an unfair society. The words science, inventions, discoveries and research were rather alien to us, and sadly they still are.
Junga Bahadur visited the Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution. But he feared the position he established would wane if Nepalis were educated and aware of the outside world. A great opportunity was missed; Nepal remained isolated to development. Even after introduction to the modern world, we were still incapable of integrating the good sides of the “other world”. There was no proper environment for science and research.
We took our time to establish a proper higher education institution as the Tribhuwan University was established only in 2016 BS. After that we were drawn in other political abysses, and Nepal was kept in darkness to see what’s going around. We were missing something very important.
With these consequent events, we are in the current situation. We are nowhere near educational development, especially in the higher education level. Innovations and discoveries have not been given enough attention. The ability, curiosity and hard work of Nepali students have proved a number of times. From the great contribution of Kumud Dhital and Lujendra Ojha in heart transplant and the discovery of water in Mars, respectively, to school level curiosity driven attempts to make solar and electric cars prove the enthusiasm of Nepali students’ involvement in research. While we should be encouraging such creative minds, these attempts have become feeble due to the inability to provide extensive platform. We are witnessing the death of interest and curiosity.
Even with limited resources, Nepali students have shown their ability time and again. The importance of research cannot be emphasised enough in the rapidly modernizing world. Almost all political parties have made economic progress the top priority, and the need for innovation in a country full of resources only seems obvious. Exploration of ideas and creations, discoveries and inventions can put us in a much better position in the future and research will take us there in a short time.
Taking this notion into consideration, developed countries spend about three percent of their total budget for research and development, while our economy is too weak to support an extensive research centre with international standards. However, it is manageable. With national and international support, the dream of a research centre is feasible. These dreams can be materialized with direct help of International Banks like World Bank, ADB and Angel Investors.
The effort of Dr Mahabir Pun is tremendous in this regard. Students need to demand a research centre with the government. Unavailability of a proper platform has forced capable minds to flee out of the country in search of their unfulfilled curiosities and interests. We can’t expect golden eggs in the coop if we don’t have the ability to keep the golden-egg laying hens. We need a research centre for students to contribute to the scientific and educational development in Nepal, and possibly to the world. Political parties should also be keen on the matter, and stand for it. An international standard extensive research centre is the need of the hour. There should be no compromise on the subject and the demand should be met as soon as possible.
The writer is currently studying Economics at Sussex Coast College, Hastings, UK.