KATMANDU, July 30: The government's decision to grant affiliation to seven private agricultural colleges and a forestry college has drawn criticism from various quarters including the ruling parties.
The criticism comes after the Agricultural and Forest University granted affiliation to private colleges violating the standards set for granting affiliation to private colleges.
On July 5, the university had granted affiliation to Eastern Agricultural College (Jhapa), Jibika Agricultural Science College (Itahari), Valley Agricultural College (Lalitpur) and Himchhaya Agricultural College (Gaidakot). Similarly, privately-run Siddharth College (Gaidakot), Ramnagar Technical and Management College (Nawalparasi), Gorkha United Public School (Kohalpur) and Bright Mid-western Agricultural and Forestry Science College (Surkhet) have also received affiliations.
Student organizations at the Rampur-based Agriculture and Forestry University have opposed the move saying that that the university's decision to grant affiliations to private colleges contradicts with the government's previous decision to establish 10 state-run colleges across the country.They have accused the government of promoting privatization at a time when voices are being raised to promote government colleges. Contrary to the mandatory provision of having eight bigahas of land, the government has granted affiliation to the private agricultural colleges even as they have nominal land. The colleged granted affiliations recently are said to be having just two bigahas of land.Irked by the government decision, seven student and teachers' unions have been staging protests at the Agricultural and Forest University. Student organizations aligned with the ruling Nepal Communist Party have also joined the protest.
Leaders of the ruling parties are also against the government decision. “When we are heading towards socialism, privatization should not be encouraged,” said Thakur Gaire, a leader of CPN, adding, “It is not a tolerable issue.”
Another CPN leader Lekhnath Neupane also criticized the government move. Neupane accused the government of heading towards the wrong direction while dealing with education, which is defined as a fundamental right of the people in the constitution.
“After medical sector education, mafias have now eyed the agriculture and other sectors,” said Neupane adding, “The government is also assisting them by going against the spirit of the constitution and their commitment made ahead of the elections.”
Currently, there are only four government agricultural colleges that too in a sorry state.
Both the Vice-chancellor and Education Minister, the authorities responsible for granting affiliations are from the ruling Nepal Communist Party. Student unions and a section of leaders from the ruling party have perceived the move as a foul play.