KATHMANDU, July 4: After a decade-long effort, the parliament has finally paved way for establishing and running open university for the first time in Nepal by endorsing the Nepal Open University bill on Thursday.
The bill will come into effect as an Act, only after 91 days of authentication of the bill by the president. With the enacting of the new law, the government can establish an open university, develop its course and run academic sessions aimed at those students who wish to pursue academic courses without attending any classes.
Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) had lobbied for the establishment of such university in Nepal and has also promised to provide technical and physical assistance to establish an open university.
“With the introduction of this law, a large group of people who were deprived of taking university education will now be able to pursue higher level education even while staying at their homes and giving continuity to their jobs,” lawmaker Umesh Shrestha told Republica.
Nepali diaspora around the globe or within the country or even foreign nationals can pursue academic sessions through the open university pursuing online courses as well as give exams online.
The bill has provisioned that the university can run courses on humanities, law, management, and information technology and education faculties.
Courses has been envisioned to be operated through email, radio, television, postal services, newsletters other internet tools or mass communication mediums.
Likewise, classes can be run at various contact centers or learning centers or direct contact between students and the teachers can be established through any medium. The university can also develop various learning tools related to the courses for the students.
The task of designing the curriculum for the online courses will be given to the proposed university itself. In addition, the university shall determine its course equivalent to other universities abroad. Likewise Nepal Open University bill has proposed that the university can coordinate with other open universities in the SAARC countries.
Having no open university in the country, few colleges in Nepal have been facilitating students to pursue different courses in open universities in India and other countries.
Most of the organizational structure of the open university will be much similar to the other existing universities in Nepal. But the chancellor of the university is proposed to be the education minister and there will be one representative from NRNA in university assembly body.
University assembly, executive council, scholars' and research council, education council and recruitment committee and other faculties have been envisioned in the organizational structure of the university.
The proposed open university can launch its programs by granting affiliation to colleges.
A research center has been proposed for conducting and supporting research on different courses and faculties of the university. Establishing a study center at five different locations of the country has been provisioned in the bill.
Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel while addressing the parliament before the endorsement of the bill on Thursday said that government has introduced the bill to make the education system of the country technology friendly.