Print Edition - 2017-06-21  |  The Collegian

Branching out

  • The number of colleges offering quality education in the mofussil is on the rise and the nation’s dependency on Kathmandu on the wane
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 21, 2017-

Kathmandu, the Capital and the administrative centre of the country, has undoubtedly been an education hub for students across the nation for decades. Every year it sees an influx of thousands of students who migrate to the Valley, hoping to receive quality higher-level education here. The availability of good academic institutions that command comparatively better infrastructure than the rest of the country has ensured that the Capital remains a prime educational destination for aspiring students from districts far and wide. 

Though the trend of education migration to Kathmandu continues, the steady growth in the number of academic institutions outside the Valley has meant that various other viable options are now available for students in the mofussil. As a result, parents and students, who once saw the Capital as the hub for quality education and a stepping stone for future opportunities, have now increasingly begun opting for educational institutions in their own home districts or regions. 

Today, Metropolises like Chitwan, Pokhara, Biratngar, and the cities like Butwal and Nepalgunj, are gradually becoming major education hubs in their own right. Chitwan, for instance, has in recent years begun attracting its fair share of students from neighbouring districts. Boasting 231 schools offering higher secondary education, including several institutes that offer A Levels, the district today has seen a large influx of students from Nawalparasi, Gorkha, Dhading, Tanahun, Lamjung and Makwanpur. 

In addition to higher secondary education, Chitwan is also home to a government-run multiple college, 22 community and six private colleges that offer education up to the doctorate level. Similarly, with two sought-after medical colleges also located in the district, Chitwan has also evolved into a hub for students—from within the country and abroad—seeking degrees in medicine. For the past five years, Nepal’s only technical university—Agriculture and Forestry University—has been offering different courses in agriculture, animal science and forestry in the district as well. 

“Chitwan is gradually becoming an academic hub. From school to university, students today don’t need migrate for their studies,” says Rama Kant Sapkota, an educational expert. “Furthermore, now that Chitwan has been upgraded to a metropolis by the government, the district will attract more investment, offering even better educational opportunities in the years to come.”

Pokhara, the country’s most popular touristic hub, too is proving to be an excellent alternative for quality education. The beating heart of Province-4, Pokhara, of late, has been attracting thousands of students not just from Kaski but also from districts such as Mustang, Myagdi, Prabat, Syangja, Tanahun, Lamjung and Baglung. A total of 14,000 students enroll each year in the 123 higher secondary schools that Pokhara has on offer. Similarly, the Lake City also boasts 21 colleges affiliated to Tribhuvan, Pokhara and Purbanchal Universities, which offer an array of courses--from core science to commerce and humanities. Like Chitwan, the establishment of two medical colleges has also ensured that the city remains an academic destination for medical students. Similarly, students wanting to pursue an international degree can now enroll into schools offering Cambridge A Levels in Pokhara itself.  According to Ashok Palikhe, former chairman of the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industries, in addition to being a hub for students from neighbouring districts, Pokhara’s unique position as a major tourism destination could open doors for other educational possibilities as well. “A prime touristic zone for the country, Pokhara can evolve into a viable international educational destination as well,” he says, “The city is primed to leverage its popularity to draw international students and those pursuing careers in hospitality and hotel management sectors.”

To the south, the boom Butwal has seen has been equally phenomenal. Apart from growing as a centre for service and manufacturing industries, this major hub for Province-5, has also begun to accrue a reputation for delivering equality education. The districts of Butwal, and the neighbouring Rupandehi, have been known to consistently produce national-level toppers for quite some time, including one of the two students to receive a perfect 4.0 GPA in this year’s SEE examinations. Records at District Education Office show that 88 higher secondary schools are in operation in the district, which enrolls 31, 077 students into grade 11 on average each year. 

Southern cities of Biratnagar and Nepalgunj too have seen veritable educational booms in the past decade. Biratnagar, one of the six metropolises in the country, is undoubtedly the business centre for Province-1, but the historic city has also evolved as a major educational hub for a dozen districts in the Mechi and Koshi regions. Nepalgunj, another historical city, too has long been the business hub for the people from mid-western region. From medical treatment to shopping, this transit town providing vital links to different cities in India has become a preferred destination for students from Rapti, Bheri and Karnali regions. 

With the moffusil growing increasingly diverse in its educational options, expert Basu Dev Kafle believes the dependency on Kathmandu will further decrease with federalism coming into effect in the coming years.

“Each provincial and local government will have to give due emphasis on providing quality education,” he says, “And with a these urban centres already evolving into educational hubs, Kathamandu’s monopoly as the educational centre will wane further in the future. This bodes well not just for students and parents, but the overall development of the country.” 

With the inputs from our district correspondents

Published: 21-06-2017 10:18

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