Escalate

‘Set up new colleges based on Nepal’s human resource need’

- Binod Ghimire

Dec 20, 2018-

The taste of Nepali students has changed with time. Against earlier trend where education stream received the highest preference of students, their attraction in recent years has shifted towards management. The boom in banking sector, that generated a large number of jobs, was the driving factor for the shift in students’ preference.

The University Grants Commission report shows out of 361,077 enrollments at the university level, 152,555, or over 42 percent, comprised management. Masters in Business Studies and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) are the two management courses taken in the master’s level at present. Though Masters in Commerce (MCom) was introduced by Tribhuvan University in 1960, it was only in 1993 Kathmandu University started MBA degree course.

In recent years, the number of colleges offering MBA degree has increased as well as the number of students. Besides institutions, affiliated to domestic universities, investors compete with each other to offer courses with affiliation to foreign universities. Among the 37 colleges that offer the degree, 16 are affiliated to foreign universities in the USA, the UK, India and Malaysia. 

The increasing numbers of MBA colleges might have increased competition, college managers say but increasing the number of colleges will not help unless students get good quality education. They say there has to be human resource projection in place before granting license to new colleges.

Tribhuvan University Management Dean Dilli Ram Sharma says colleges have opted for collective approach in enrolment against the need of the selective approach. This means students are enrolled without going through proper eligibility test. This is because colleges focus more in filling their enrolment quotas than looking for quality students.

Sharma says there is a trend among students and college operators of taking MBA as just another degree. “One should be very clear, along with knowledge a MBA student must have problem-solving skill once s/he graduates,” he says. “I regret to say not all colleges fulfill this standard.”

After several inspections, Sharma has found the majority of colleges do not have full time faculty that makes it impossible for after-class consultation. The lack of faculty, infrastructure and the environment to learn new skills are the major challenges. “This does not mean there aren’t excellent colleges here. Many colleges are truly doing well,” says Sharma.

 Apex College Principal LP Bhanu Sharma agrees not all institutions offering MBA maintain standards the course demands. Enrolment of inexperienced students is one of the biggest problems with the colleges at present. Unlike any other course, an average working experience of MBA students in Harvard University is 4.8 years, but there is no such criterion here. Therefore, a majority of the enrollee are fresh students. Sharma’s long experience in education shows students do not put in the required effort for the kind of course they enrol.

Students, who did not go through the ethic of hard work at school or bachelors level, do have the tendency to look for a similar environment at MBA level. The other problem is the lack of proper internship opportunities for students. 

Corporate and business houses including banks engage interns for doing photocopy errands or dealing with clients rather than providing them with learning opportunities to develop their job skills.

South Asian Institute of Management Principal Ashok Raj Pandey sees the need of metamorphosis in the entire education system of the country that is currently examination focused.  As a MBA student at Harvard, he dealt with 960 cases during his study, but in Nepal, the picture is entirely different. Many students complete their course without dealing with a few dozen of cases. Therefore, many graduate students just have degrees without skills. 

The other problem is that there is no connection between the industry and the academia in Nepal. Colleges produce graduates with no knowledge of where they would get placement.

Lord Buddha Education Foundation Chairman Pankaj Jalan says the academia has failed to build partnership with the Federation of Nepali Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Nepali Industries and Nepal Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella bodies of business and industrial houses, and vice-versa. This creates uncertainty among the students while the business and industrial houses do not get the kind of graduates they are looking for “The production of graduates should be based on the need of the market, but we have failed to internalise this crucial fact,” says Jalan. The colleges currently produce around 3,500 MBA graduates annually, but with no assurance of jobs. Although some reputable colleges have placement cells and create environment for entrepreneurship, most of the colleges are not bothered about their graduates. 

Therefore, Jalan says it is already late for the government to make projection of the human resources the country needs in the respective fields. He says the establishment of the academic institutions should be based on the projection of the needed human resource. Following pressure from different sectors the Ministry of Education recently has formed a panel led by the education minister to project human resource needed in different sectors. The panel comprises experts from the different fields and has commenced its work in collaboration with the National Planning Commission.

The panel, after evaluating different factors will come up with the number of human resource the country needs in different fields for the next 25 years.

Member secretary of the panel Ram Sharan Sapkota said they are currently analysing existing data. The panel will study the situation of available human resources, the number of graduates produced in different sectors, and jobs prospects in the country among others. He said the study would incorporate every aspect before making the projection. 

Published: 20-12-2018 09:18

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