KATHMANDU, May 25: The government has decided to scrap the contact offices in Kathmandu Valley of eight universities. The government has directed the universities to close their liaison offices in the Valley by July 16.
There are 11 universities in the country. Among these, the central offices of three are based in Kathmandu Valley while the other eight are based outside the Valley. The cabinet meeting held on Thursday decided to close the Valley contact offices of all the eight universities, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
“None of the contact offices of universities based outside Kathmandu Valley will operate in the Valley from the new fiscal year that begins July 17,” said Pushpa Raj Dhakal, secretary to Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel. “Minister Pokharel has directed the immediate closure of the contact offices .”
Three universities – Tribhuvan University, the Open University and Kathmandu University – are based in the Valley while Nepal Sanskrit University, Pokhara University, Purbanchal University, Lumbini Buddhist University, Agriculture and Forestry University, Madhya-Paschimanchal University, Sudur-Paschimanchal University and Rajarshi Janak University have their central offices outside Kathmandu Valley.
According to the University Grants Commission (UGC), the act of parliament concerning each university has provisioned that the university will carry out its major functions from its central offices. “However, the universities have carried out such activities from their contact offices in Kathmandu,” said Subash Dhungel, administrator at UGC.
All of the universities, which were established with their orientation toward their own regions, have granted affiliation to private colleges in Kathmandu Valley. The government has not taken any decision regarding these affiliations, said Surya Prasad Gautam, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST). “As the contact offices in Kathmandu were operating as central offices, there was an additional financial burden on the universities,” said Gautam. “The university officials always preferred to stay in Kathmandu although their central offices were outside the Valley.”
However, the vice-chancellors of the universities have criticized the government decision, terming it a cheap popularity bid and an impractical move.
Prof Dr Kul Prasad Koirala, VC of Nepal Sanskrit University, said that the government cannot scrap the contact offices of their universities. “It’s cheap popularity for the government,” said Prof Koirala. “The government should open the UGC offices in all the provinces before taking such a decision,” he added. “We have our Balmiki Campus and its property in Kathmandu. The government has done nothing for us. We are [otherwise] not much interested in staying in Kathmandu.”
Prof Dr Naresh Man Bajracharya, VC of Lumbini Buddhist University, said that the government’s decision was not favorable for the university. “We are not independent like Tribhuvan University. We have to depend on TU for our academic activities,” he said.
Prof Bhushan Shrestha, VC of Sudur-Paschim University, said that the government’s decision will not create an environment helpful for the university.