Stories By 'Pratyoush Onta'
The end of Rana rule in 1951 was an important rupture in the history of public life in Nepal. In an important essay first published in 1970, the scholar of literature and history Kamal P Malla characterised the 1950s in the following manner:
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History students have been missing in Nepal’s oldest university, Tribhuvan Univesity (TU). Or at least that is what one or another journalist has been telling us in the recent past. On 28 July this year, Rohej Khatiwada published a long story in Naya Patrika on this subject (“Ritindai TriBiko Itihas Vibhag”).
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When I arrived at the campus of Brandeis University (located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, United States) in August 1984 to start my undergraduate education, I knew only one thing about liberal arts education. I had learned, mostly from word-of-mouth from seniors who had been to such colleges in the US, that no matter what I chose to pursue as my major subject of study in college, I would also have the opportunity to study quite a few other subjects as well. Other than having this choice, I knew nothing about the philosophy behind liberal arts education, nor how it was variously organised in different types of higher education institutions in the US.
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Although Nepal’s oldest university Tribhuvan University (TU) was founded in 1959 as a teaching-only university, within some years of its founding, research efforts had already begun there in many different central departments and research institutes. Some of this started happening during the second half of the 1960s when some students opted to do research for their MA and PhD theses. This “transitioning to research” process at TU is incomplete, much like our country’s march towards democracy.
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The earthquake of 25 April 2015 and its aftershocks extensively damaged some of the buildings in the University Campus of Tribhuvan University (TU) in Kirtipur, Kathmandu. The main administrative buildings housing the offices of the top managers of TU, including its Vice Chancellor (VC), were completely ruined. The old building of TU’s Central Library was also wrecked by the quakes.
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I am not a fan of world rankings of universities and I don’t think those interested in reforming higher education in Nepal should be obsessed with such rankings.
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