KATHMANDU, July 14: The post of member secretary at the University Grants Commission (UGC) has remained vacant for the last 15 months owing to differences over sharing of position among political parties.
“It is a result of the differences among parties on sharing of important posts at government institutions,” said the officials at the Ministry of Education (MoE). “All political parties eye important posts,” they blamed.
The UGC, which is responsible for the promotion and standardization of higher education in Nepal, works in coordination with universities as well as allocates and disburse grants to universities and higher educational institutions.
The government has allocated Rs 8 billion to the UGC for the current fiscal year.
The UGC has been facing hurdles to execute daily activities owing to the absence of member secretary, according to UGC officials. “Every work has been badly affected in the absence of a member-secretary,” they said.
The post has remained vacant since the tenure of then member secretary Bhola Prasad Pokharel expired on May 14, 2015.
The UGC had written to then Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav on May 8, 2015 regarding the vacant post but she took no steps for appointment. During the 22nd anniversary of UGC held on November 23, 2015, erstwhile Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel of the CPN Maoist Center had also pledged to appoint a member secretary to the vacant post within a week.
“However, the assurances have proven hollow,” said Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesperson at the MoE. “It is the job of the government to fulfill the post.”
Other appointments at the UGC have been also been affected due to the delay in
appointment of the member secretary.
The top posts at the UGC are appointed on the basis of posts sharing among political parties. Former member secretary Pokharel was affiliated to the CPN-UML while UGC Chairperson Prof Dr Parashar Prasad Koirala belongs to the Nepali Congress.
It is reported that the CPN-UML-aligned Nepal University Progressive Teachers' Association has been putting pressure by demanding to appoint a candidate close to the party as UGC member secretary.
Lamsal said, “The government should not delay the appointment even if they have to be made on the basis of post sharing among political parties. The cabinet is more responsible than the ministry to begin the process of appointing member secretary by forging an understanding at the political level.”