KATHMANDU, Sept 4: Nepal Mountain Academy (NMA) is starting a postgraduate degree in adventure tourism studies. Academic advisor to the NMA, Prof Dr Ramesh Bajracharya claimed this to be the first-ever postgraduate course in adventure tourism in the world.
He explained that there are so many diplomas and short-term courses in adventure tourism. “But they aren't post-graduate courses focused on the study of adventure tourism. So our postgraduate course is going to be the first of its kind in the world,” said Bajracharya.
The NMA, a government organization under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, affiliated to the Faculty of Management of Tribhuvan University (TU), had earlier introduced a Bachelor's in Mountain Studies (BMS) course two years ago.
The course targeted both national and international students interested in mountain studies since it was developed as an international course for global mountain studies.
The postgraduate degree is aimed at giving continuity to the students who are already studying the BMS course. However, the college officials said that the postgraduate course will be open to students from any faculty and from any part of the world.
According to the campus chief of Nepal Mountain Academy (NMA), Romnath Gyawali, the postgraduate degree in adventure tourism studies will start by February–March of 2020. “And it's truly the first of its kind in the world,” said Gyawali.
The syllabus of post-graduate studies contains both theoretical and practical aspects that include a designated credit course that requires students to climb a mountain of up to 6,000 meters to learn the technicalities of climbing a mountain and knowing the different features and dynamics of a mountain.
Gyawali claims the academy is currently situated in the capital city Kathmandu but is plans to shift into residential classes soon, in Solukhumbu, on the lap of Mount Everest.
He said they have designed the course with an objective to produce graduates who can understand the key features of mountains such as its geology, anthropology, sociology and the economy of the mountains. Also they aimed at producing entrepreneurs, researchers, mountaineers and professionals. Nepal is known as a country with a high number of the highest peaks in the world.
There are 1,310 peaks in Nepal that are above 6,000 meters. More importantly, eight of the 14 peaks over 8,000 meters in the world are in Nepal. They are are Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Cho Oyu and Annapurna I.
This makes Nepal a perfect location for adventure tourism. However, the lack of authentic research on mountain geology, culture, economy and other technicalities was a major concern for the stakeholders involved in mountaineering and other adventure tourism in Nepal. NMA officials said such factors encouraged them to initiate the course in order to produce the experts on mountain studies, both nationally and internationally.
Himal Pandit, a first batch student of BMS, said that he is getting more than what he had expected when he joined this course. “It has truly been an extraordinary experience. I can already feel like I will pioneer the mountain studies by the end of these four years. A postgraduate degree is a license for us to work as professionals in the field and I believe it is going to be equally fun since we will be shifted to Solukhumbu by the time.”