By Manoj Kumar Karna
On last 30 November, the service commission of the Tribhuvan University (TU) designed question No. 7 for lecturer competitors in the first paper for Humanities English as “Student’s attraction towards the Faculty of Humanities is largely declining, and the Department of English is not an exception. What are the reasons behind it, and how can it revive its spirit of the past?” The question is very interesting and shameful for only some committed teachers to the profession. We must not forget that we have two varieties of university teachers in TU, viz: the professional and politics doing for post! At least, this is irresistible question for a morally high person in TU. Also it is remarkable that the question is overall for Humanities Faculty people plus Department of English in specified form.
Delhi based the Delhi University (DU) has been recognized as the best university for English studies in 2019 where the graduate, post graduate or specially the doctorate students do not get the easy admission without a full devotion to the studies. My one of the colleagues in my English Department at my campus is an example of not to be selected for doctorate degree there and, who then, enrolled in the TU and has just completed his doctorate. My parallel question arises here to our authorities that why DU has no “seat” for crowd-class and our TU has vacant classrooms in either English Department or, as a whole in the Humanities Faculty? However, it is undeniable that the Humanities of TU or many other universities in Nepal and around the world decline the number of students. To clarify the situation, I invite you to ponder on the two themes/policies how the universities and the respective governments are attempting to increase the student.
Be Liberal (Do all loose) Vs Quality Education
Mostly I have experience of the TU classes in Nepal where the policy is changing dangerously in “how to pass” many students just like the Nepalese Plus Two level whether the student is meritorious and written in the examination or not! For example, the TU has implemented the semester system at Master’s level and in some selective subjects at Bachelor’s level but how many student and teachers are there who are honest to their profession for writing activities in the classroom including thesis and its proposal? I mean very less honest individuals are there. But in most of the cases, the creative writing teachers do not operate laptop and visit the sites and they follow tragically the traditional lecture method even in the writing class! Likewise, the students bring such “available” title and proposal in the market to the department which a teacher has to “accept” by hook or crook under the pressure of majority of the loggerhead students in the name of political wings and leaders. Apparently, such students who believe “to snatch” the degree instead of “passing out” remain irregular, unpunctual and disobedience to the teacher and norms of the department. After passing out, they hold the job position in the government offices or in the private sector or they go to the abroad. The tragedy is even the honest teacher is made “out” from their “company” and such teacher suffers. In such confusion of how to follow the course of studies and texts honestly and fully in the class, the evaluation pattern also “whispers” to examiner “not to be tight” and ignore the purity of language even at Master’s level. That is totally surrendering all the teaching fellows thinking as this is not political transition phase rather the Dark Age for Nepal.
Opposite to this theme is to provide the quality education which needs honesty to the profession from teacher side and the devotion from student’s side. After each five years, generally we have a little bit reformation in the course of study and the changed texts too. Each time during refreshing or seminar course, the teachers are instructed to follow the text with its total “effect” in the class through student-centred approach of method of teaching but after one or two years, the situation will be the same, that is, no drastic changes in increasing the number of the student and passing out those student easily. It is because the teachers are mostly “not to change” themselves first in their behave of teaching and the monitoring of the regulatory body is zero in the classroom for the monitors are only the post for politics and filling up the bio-data. I am sure that many monitors in the TU have themselves remained unpunctual and irregular to the class and have got the post by source and force rather than performance.
Now, the time has come to make the society realize in global competition age that “one has to study” to gain new identity. The teachers must not feel that they come to the class with full preparation in time but their students are whole period asking “May I come in, Sir?” and appearing without professional tools like book and notebook and pen. The personal problem of the student must not hinder the teacher because the teacher has own self several problems due to low salary but increasing the market price as well as he/she is also a social being. The student should learn either he/she will be a devoted candidate but not a burden for society and the country by just “snatching the degree” without knowledge. The student has to realize that no “writing” can be developed without “reading” the “original text” and such citizen can only avoid the plagiarism in the thesis to excel the country marching confidently into the future.
The Reform in Policy
In such light, I do believe that only examining the answer sheet lose or letting the students discuss in the examination room will not add the number of student in English Department or to the Humanities Faculty. Even the plagiarized products of any such university can never contribute to the nation rather will be a “burden” to provide job or to sustain in the job. It is the reason, I would like to urge the government and the authorities of the TU to “determine” the policy and “theme” to produce the human resources first. The government must think about introducing more skilled subjects in the Humanities Faculty like Bachelor’s in the Computer Application (BCA) and so. The job scope should not be narrowed to Humanities students in comparison to Education or Law faculties. Why only the Public Service Commission? Why not teaching without Education faculty? Why not vocational/technical more subjects in Humanities so that the skilled and confident candidates will start own self-help project? Likewise, the authorities of TU have, now, to characterize the university whether it will pay equal attention to all faculties or to one or two any certain faculties? In such case, the government can assign the duty or certain faculties to the other universities. Most of the stake holders have the experience that some university authorities “waste” the time and money to form a new department to provide the job for vested interest by “ignoring” the upliftment of the existing faculties in the TU. The result is, for example, the world is today of cultural history but in Nepal’s TU the Culture and History departments have near about zero student, however, many other Humanities departments are in the same condition.
(The writer is the lecturer at PatanMultiple Campus, Lalitpur, TU.)