By Manoj Kumar Karna
On the 26 December 2018, the Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor of Tribhuvan University (TU) respectively both the sitting Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli and the Minister of Education Girirajmani Pokharel delivered their welcome speech-cum-lectures at different places to address the university teachers on the occasion of the Tribhuvan University Teachers’ Association’s (TUTA’s) general convention. It is normal deeds of these guardians but this article mentions their speech date wise sharply because their delivery was not merely the welcome speech rather a signal from the communist government of interference in the educational affairs. Pokharel had ‘addressed’ the university teachers in such a way that everyone felt threatened regarding the course material and the fair professional duty of the teachers. It was uneasy for even his own political party well-wisher teachers as TUTA is the umbrella organization of all in TU where they were also present. It became irritable for average mass because it was not the senate meeting on education policy and his party’s well-wishers were likely to be elected in the fringe so it was Pokharel’s frustration. The Chancellor was absent to inaugurate the ceremony at the memorial hall of the TU in the afternoon so he had invited all the delegated at dinner in the prime ministerial residence, Baluwatar. In fact the minister and prime ministers’ speech came to be similar at a point when they raised the question on the teaching methodology as per the subject’s nature and the course material. The chancellor demonstrated in that winter night so long as an ‘expert’ that I was to sleep in the meeting hall at Baluwatar. Thanks God that the very education minister noticed the boring situation of all the mass and reminded him that he was getting late to attend the NTV’s regular weekly programme and he winded up! To be precise, the education minister had challenged indirectly that he will change the course material as well as some plan and policies in the sector whereas the prime minister had ‘taught’ us the methodology of geography, history, science and so on.
So, what is our course content?
The two guardians raised the question on the course content because it is heard from many mouths that the course is not the practical one which can fulfill the demand of the citizen. Their concern was also that the course content should be more practical than the theoretical. The writer notices that, except, many subjects in a same stream even do not get course revised periodically. Definitely, the science courses may be updated but other faculties’ courses are not. If one sees the condition of the English, it is fine in TU but it needs the cohesion in other universities as well as from school course too. For example, the course of English in the classes 11 and 12 are about twenty years old and based on lecture rather than writing practice. Automatically, the question arises that why the courses of classes 11 and 12 are not upgraded? Who is responsible? Is there any hidden factor which has held the ‘hands’ of the entire system not to update the course material and textbooks? Or, what else?
Still the question is what about other subjects in different faculties about their upgrading? But the main concern is about course content because our many students do not know to operate the e-mail and internet after plus two degree or bachelor’s degree. Instead of playing with the new advancement of technology, they are afraid of them. It is also well known fact that the government cannot provide the job to all the students and citizen. In such situation, it is quite essential for the university course to have the skillful short term package of the course so that the citizen can start own self-help project for the livelihood. So, vocational education and advanced courses are today’s demand on which the two guardians of TU’s concerning was in their speech. But, I do draw the attention of the reader that the communist government of Nepal’s concern on the course content was something different from such things and were focusing on the those course content which are common in the communist countries and it is the matter of stress in the mass teacher of Nepal. And they were delivering the speech-cum-order on the occasion of TUTA’s convention which is alarming. Its symptom is being seen visibly in the university’s new rule which this communist government is going to formulate as a bill in the parliament of Nepal about terms and conditions of appointing the university authorities and so on.
Is our teaching methodology appropriate?
Automatically, the new course based on practical will demand new methods of teaching like demonstration, experimentation, peer group teaching, question-answer, microteaching and like others with enhanced exercise for successful that merely lecture method of teaching. The columnist has many times focused earlier that the teachers must mentally get ready to enjoy the new methodology and technologies in the class in the changed scenario. So will be our effective presentation of things visually, demonstrative and so on in the classroom. Personally, I think that there are surely many lacks in TU’s classes in the manner of the infra-structure and equipments but again, we have to use our skills maximum on our own. The time has ‘gone’ now to just depend on the lethargic lecture method of teaching. This method will be of short use in the class while dealing theoretical matter. The columnist remembers the 26th Dec. night of 2018 and becomes smiley upon the PM Oli’s methodological instruction of teaching subject wise. However, it was a stigma for dedicated teacher, but was noticeable one that why he needed to ‘guide’ himself the university teachers without his own campus’s formal classes. It became possible because of his experience in other country’s visit and from the possible complains of academically honest personalities or from ill-thought hiving political cadres.
The job of teaching is a challenging one where the teacher has to be always ready to learn new thing. The university should listen to the advice of all the stake holders and it should appoint active, academically sounds and well-experienced authorities to meet the challenges of the course upgrading and of the student’s demands of the twenty-first’s century. The government suggestion must be healthy and not loaded with the party ideology. To direct the teachers to avoid any kind of politics in the profession, the government must check own moral face in the mirror why is the political interference in the appointment of the university authorities. They should first reply that why are they ‘search’ those ‘capable’ candidates only who are either leader in the professional body rather an academician, and politically, geographically and in the family relation very near to the prime minister or ministers?
(The columnist is lecturer at Patan Multiple Campus, Patandhoka, TU)