by Sagar Aryal
Nepal’s education structure is fairly backward when compared to other countries, although it started its outward growth back in the 1960s. In context of our country, the highest level of education people feel secure with for jobs is considered a Master’s degree, even though people often don’t get the job and salary they expect with respect to their level of study and field of study.
Let’s take myself as an example. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in microbiology but scope of microbiology is much smaller in our country. My seniors are roaming here and there for the specific job of our research-based subject but due to corruption, lack of finance, assistance and manpower, we are unable to conduct any research in our country. We are forced to teach to school-level students after completing our Master’s degree (Graduate Level). After completing my Master’s degree next year, I am also planning to go abroad for my further study (i.e. Ph.D). I am forced to go abroad since there are not many Ph.D study opportunities in our country.
In search of education abroad
Around 0.6 million students pass the exam of HSEB (Grade XII / 10+2) every year. There is a trend of going abroad to countries like USA, UK, Australia, India and other European countries after studying 10+2 for further study. According to the latest data, around 40-50% of students go to a foreign country. India is the top destination due to its proximity to Nepal, similar culture and affordable tuition fees, and is then followed by UK, Australia and the USA. A world-class education system with strong government monitoring, makes India a popular destination for Nepali students pursuing higher education. According to Neeta Yogi, coordinator of Global Education Counselling Centre, which has been managing the 7th Global Career Boutique 2013, most of the students going to India prefer Engineering and IT followed by Management and Nursing. Due to low or no tuition fees, Nepalese students can earn money while studying, too. Students seeking an MBBS degree go to China, Bangladesh and Philippines. In the fiscal year 2012/13, 8,920 students went to USA according to a report ‘Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange’. In the latest year, 2013, European countries like Finland, Norway, Germany, Cyprus and Denmark have become better options for Nepalese students.
What I have been led to ask myself is that among those thousands of students going abroad every year, do we have even a few hundred coming back to our country when they finish their studies? The straightforward answer at this moment is, “No”, according to a few dozen Nepali students abroad. Still, a positive aspect is that many of them may be willing to return to Nepal if the political situation of the country gets better. But, they don’t generally do so unless they find that there is a safe working environment in the country, or at least, the end of political turmoil. Most of students who have gone to the USA don’t come back to Nepal due to the easy and modern lifestyle, while the majority who have gone to India return to Nepal after their study.
Going online in Nepal
A few number of students take online courses from Nepal as well. But due to high tuition fees for online studies with academic degree and credits in the USA and UK, most of the people don’t. Many of
the students take free online courses offered by organization like iversity, edX and Coursera. The most renowned and nearly the only college for Distance Education and Online Studies in Nepal is ICA (International Center for Academics), which was established in 1997 and became the first Partner Institution (PI) of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Nepal. It is also the only educational institution from Nepal to become the member of the Asian Association of Open Universities. It has been providing internationally acclaimed degrees through the ODL Mode of education in Nepal. ICA presently offers 44 different Academic, Value Added and Awareness programs through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode in Management, Humanities & Social Science, Tourism, Computer Science, Journalism and Mass Communication, Education, Rural Development, Health Science, Social Work, Gender and Development Studies, Extension and Development Studies, Continuing Education etc.
In the latest years, Kathmandu University School of Management established the Virtual Classroom. This provides notes and assignments to the students who can directly and easily access the information with the help of internet.