Dismal university versus sharp-witted teachers
The future of Nepal’s oldest university – Tribhuwan University (TU) – looks rather dismal basically due to two reasons: slack administrative rigorousness and deceitful staffers and teachers operating private colleges and institutions avidly. In fact, these deceitful staffers pop in the university building only to sing their attendance to ensure their salary. Let’s have a look what a confidential report prepared by TU monitoring directorate reveals:
-Pramod Acharya: Centre for Investigative Journalism-Nepal
Ramesh Silwal, CEO of Kathmandu-based Golden Gate College in his welcome note on the college’s website writes “, At the outset, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all newcomers to the GoldenGate family. This college is built on the firm belief that an academic Institution of repute should be under the total management and care of academic professionals and we have managed to instill that faith on students and guardians alike during the three years…”
Paradoxically, Silwal’s welcome note on his college website is an evidence of his deceitful act in view of the fact that he receives a monthly salary as a Tribhuwan University (TU) teacher. Regulation related to TU Teachers Employees Service 2050 BS clearly states that a full-time employee under the Tribhuwan University and its affiliates are forbidden to operate or work as management committee members in a private college. However, Silwal, being a lecturer at Tri Chandra College, he has been operating a private college contradicting the TU regulation. Silwal has mocked the directorate’s repeated explanatory letters by not responding to them.
According to a highly-placed source at the TU, the directorate asked Silwal to furnish clarification four times till date (Kartik 2073, Mangsir 2073, Chaitra 2073 and Baisakh 2074) for breaching TU rules, but to no avail. However, responding to TU’s letter on Asar 2073 seeking his opinion, Silwal refuted claims of his direct involvement in a private college. Instead, he said he was merely an “expert and counselor” at the Golden Gate College. Two months later, when TU monitoring team reached his college, Silwal disclosed of being the Chairman, not a CEO. This contradicted to his website welcome message. Interestingly, he is also the Chairman of HISSAN.
In a candid statement, Silwal said his involvement with the Golden Gate College has not had any negative consequence on the Tri Chandra College. “I have taken all classes at the college,” he claimed while accusing the TU of being unnecessarily biased. Saying that he would soon resign from the Tri Chandra College, Silwal added, “Even the current TU Vice-Chancellor (Tirtha Khaniya) too was a Chairman of Advance College of Engineering and Management. Why did the TU Executive Council fail to take action against him?”
Likewise, lecturer of TU-affiliated Tri Chandra College, Lakshya Bahadur KC, who is the Chairman of SAB School, Maitidevi, and founder of NIC College has repeatedly flouted TU directives. KC too has paid no heed to TU directorate’s clarification letters handed over to him five times (Jesth 2073, Bhadra 2073, Kartik 2073, Chaitra 2073 and Baisakh 2074). KC is the former Chairman of PABSON, an organization of private and boarding schools.
He justified his involvement in private education institutions saying, “What’s wrong to contribute my spare time and expertise in the private sector?” Arguing that using his intelligence in a private college would be in favor of Nepal’s education system, KC claimed that he has furnished his clarification to the TU authorities and that he was planning to quit from there.
Krishna Prasad Neupane, lecturer at Saraswoti Multiple College, is another teacher flouting the TU regulation. Responding to TU’s monitoring directorate letter, Neupane explicitly accepted his involvement with Kasthamandap College as its Chairman. However, despite his acceptance, TU authorities have been hesitant to take action against him.
The TU directorate initiated an investigation against Silwal, KC and Neupane after the National Vigilance Center forwarded complaints filed against them at the Center. After the investigation, the directorate entrusted the TU Executive Council to take action against the three for breaching the TU regulations. However, the Council failed to take necessary action against them. TU highly-placed sources said, “They are in a mood to quit the TU only after becoming full-fledged lecturers.”
The TU Regulations 2050 bars any full-time teachers and staffers of working in private educational institutions. Private institutions are not allowed to hire or appoint lecturers without TU’s consent. A substantial number of TU employees have breached the TU regulations by operating private education institutions. Lecturer of Thapathali Multiple College, Manoj Kumar Thapa is one among them who is the founder member of Kathmandu Model Higher Secondary School. He responded to TU directorate’s letter claiming of being only a shareholder of Kathmandu Model Higher Secondary School and Himalaya College of Engineering.
Similarly, Dhruba Raj Shrestha, a lecturer at Patan College worked in BP Memorial Health Institute and Research Center in Dhapasi from Kartik 2068 to Bhadra 2073 without TU’s approval. Shrestha, who also sought TU’s permission to work in Holy Vision Technical College until Asar 2072 flouted the regulation by working at the Kantipur Dental College in Basundhara. In a letter written to the Office of the TU Registrar, he regretted to have worked at the BP Memorial Health Institute and Research Center without TU’s approval. Similar is the story of Jaya Prakash Hamal, lecturer of Amrit Science College, who worked at the Man Mohan Memorial Health Institute and Research Center, Soltee Mode from Mangsir 2070 to Poush 2072 without TU’s permission. In fact, he defied TU authority’s permission to work with the National Health Sciences Academy in Baneswor until Asar 2072 by working with the Man Mohan Research Center. Hamal, in a clarification letter to the TU authorities, accepted to have worked at the Man Mohan Research Center unintentionally and left the work immediately after he received TU’s letter.
Janak Poudel of Saraswoti Multiple College has been working at the Man Mohan Memorial Health and Research Center for the last three years without TU’s approval. Prior to this, he was working with Shankarapur College in Jorpati and BST College in Gongabu. Poudel, in his clarification letter, has stated that he was ignorant about acquiring prior approval from TU to work in private institutions.
Likewise, Bamdev Jha, assistant lecturer of Tri Chandra Multiple College, who has been working in National College of Food and Research Technology since 2066 BS too has expressed ignorance about the TU regulations.
Pradeep Kumar Bhattarai, a lecturer at Padma Kanya Multiple College, who has been working at Tilingtar High School in Dhapasi without TU’s approval, refuted claims of his involvement in any private institution. In his clarification letter, Bhattarai has alleged TU authorities of sending such a discourteous letter when he was retiring soon. He claimed that he was merely a consultant to the school.
It should be recalled that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had on Asar 22, 2074 BS sent a letter asking the TU authority to take action against Pradeep Kumar Bhattarai, Manoj Kumar Thapa, Dhruba Raj Shrestha, Bam Dev Jha, Jaya Prakash Hamal and Janak Poudel. However, no action has been initiated so far.
TU appointee; private job
Dr. Surendra Prasad Singh, assistant professor at Amrit Science College — popularly known as SP Singh — is the Chairman of Pentagon College and Vice Chairman of HISSAN. Acting on a tip-off following complaints at the Viligance Center, a team of TU authorities reached Amrit Science College to handover a letter. However, the administration denied accepting the letter saying that no name with Surendra Prasad Singh worked there. Pentagon College too had the same response bewildering the TU team failing to figure out that Surendra Prasad Singh and S P Singh was the same person. The same Surendra Prasad Singh has written a welcome note on Pentagon College’s website as S P Singh. Currently, he has devoted his time at Pentagon College by taking leave from Amrit Science College.
A case was filed against Dhruba Bhattarai of Tri Chandra College for working at Kathmandu Model College as a Principal. TU authorities received a usual response saying that he was in no way affiliated with Kathmandu Model College. Despite being identified as a founder member on the college website, TU authorities seemed to be ineffectual.
A similar case was filed against Dr. Khom Raj Kharel, assistant professor of Saraswati Multiple College, accusing him being involved at Henryford College in Kalanki. TU team sent an explanation letter, reached the college to monitor and carried out necessary formalities but to no avail. Kharel has been introduced as Chairman in the college website but the TU authorities proved toothless.
Acting on a complaint of working at St. Xavier’s College, the CIAA instructed TU authority to take action against Pitri Bhakta Adhikari of Tri Chandra College. TU authorities initiated the process by sending letters to Adhikari and St. Xavier’s College but received letters denying Adhikari’s involvement in the private college. However, Adhikari is still working at the Tilingtar Higher secondary School, according to the college’s website. The investigation revealed that he is also working at Sagarmatha Engineering College. Similarly, Rameswor Aryal of Tri Chandra College and Kishor Gautam of Balmiki College are the founder members of Kathmandu Model College. The college website shows that Gautam is the director of Himalaya College of Engineering.
Interestingly, Ajay Dhakal, a joint professor at the TU Management Central Department is also one of the founding members of Kathmandu Model Higher Secondary School. Similarly, Bharat Singh Thapa of the same department is the faculty member of Apex College. He claims to be the MBA Coordinator of Apex College.
If the website of Texas International College is to be believed, Bhesh Raj Pokhrel of TU Education Central Department is the Director of that college and CEO of Texas International Education Network. Similarly, Nepali Central Department‘s Prof. Dr. Brataraj Acharya and Prof. Dr. Khagendra Prasad Luitel are the members of Nepali department of Gyan Kunja College. Assistant Professor of Nepali Commerce College, Jitendra Upadhyaya works as a department member at Everest College. He teaches accountancy in Everest College.
Likewise, Dr. Surendra Man Bajracharya of Buddhist Studies Central Department, TU is the member secretary of Lotus Center. The TU administration has notified him not to work without prior consent from TU. Likewise, Dr. Prem Narayan Aryal of TU Education Central Department has been teaching in a private college without TU’s approval. TU authorities have been a mere spectator.
The same tale outside Kathmandu
The TU policy bars any of its full-time teachers and staffers to work in any private educational institutions. Acquiring a compulsory approval to work as part-timer has been regularly flouted by a substantial number of its employees. When it comes to flouting TU regulations, employees outside the Kathmandu Valley are no exception.
Co-professors of Bhairahawa Multiple College, Dr. Sambhu Kumar Gupta, Dr. Shankar Prasad Khanal and Subash Chandra Sriwastav are some of the names who have been defying the TU directives.
Likewise, Assistant Professor of the same college, Pitambar Tiwari and assistant lecturer Keshav Sharma work in a private college. Assistant professor Bhanu Bhakta Sharma Kandel and Surya Bhakta Sigdel of Prithivinarayan College and co-professor Shanta Shakya of Butwal Multiple College of Rupandehi are teaching in private colleges without TU’s approval.
These are just examples. Majority of TU professors have been operating private educational institutions or working as teachers. “The trend is becoming rampant in districts like Chitwan, Biratnagar, and Pokhara where private institutions have mushroomed,” said Bishnu Prasad Khanal, member secretary of TU monitoring directorate adding, “The concerned colleges should take action against such teachers. We alone cannot control the situation.”
Some 1,084 colleges are affiliated to Tribhuwan University throughout the country. Likewise, while there are 60 faculty colleges, 39 are central departments. TU has nine dean offices, four research centers, and other bodies. Some 16 thousand employees, including teachers and staffers, are working in the country’s oldest university. Only a handful of TU teachers have got prior approval to work in private institutions. However, TU authority has been proved to be toothless.
15 years leave
A worthy of note trend is that several full-time professors at the TU have been staying abroad but getting a salary from TU. For instance, Dhiraj Pradhananga, assistant professor at Trichandra College is absent from the college since Poush 2058 BS without any information. He has neither tendered his resignation nor has his leave been approved. “We don’t know his whereabouts,” Tri Chandra Campus Chief, Prof. Pradeep Bahadur Neupane informed adding, “We have heard that he is somewhere in a foreign country. He has not approved his leave either.” According to Neupane, Pradhananga’s salary has been blocked.
The story of an assistant professor of the same college, Kedar Koirala is no different. He has not shown his face for the last 14 years. Likewise, it has been more than 10 years that Tri Chandra College’s assistant professor, Prabin Rai has stopped coming to college without information. However, the administration is least bothered. Similarly, Sunil Kumar Lal Karna of the same college has “disappeared” from Bhadra 2064 BS. According to TU monitoring directorate record, Tri Chandra’s Ambarish Pokhrel has been absent since Mangsir 2064 BS.
The list goes on. Assistant professors of TU Economic Central Department, Ramesh Ghimire, and Dadhiram Adhikari have “disappeared” since Shrawan 2069 BS and Shrawan 2070 respectively. Likewise, assistant professor of TU English Central Department, Rajendra Panthi is absent for more than three years. Member Secretary of TU monitoring directorate, Bishnu Prasad Khanal vowed to take action to these teachers on the basis of their offense.
Forget about teachers and professors, who receive monthly salary without showing their faces, even administrative staffers are no exception. Luvraj Neupane, assistant administrator of Studies of Science and Technology is absent since Poush 2073 BS. He has neither tendered his resignation nor has his leave been approved. Tribhuwan University has been a place of pretenders.
“I don’t know” is the answer!
The TU had formed a monitoring committee in 2058 BS to probe into cases of irregularity and fraudulence of its teachers and employees. However, the committee couldn’t do anything concrete further encouraging irregularities, fraudulence and openly flouting of U regulations and policies. Asked about the relevance of such an inept body, member secretary of monitoring directorate, Bishnu Prasad Khanal said, “Initially, the monitoring committee could not be effective since it had no authority. Now that since it has been a directorate, its function would be efficient.” According to him, the directorate’s function is to monitor on the basis of regular and emergency situation. The committee will recommend action against any educational institution to the TU executive council after monitoring. However, the TU executive council, which has been a political recruitment center, has been remissive to the wrongdoers on the basis of political bias. For instance, it has not been able to take action against Tri Chandra’s assistant professors Silwal and KC, who have been operating private colleges for the last several years. However, TU Registrar, Dilli Raj Upreti rejected this practice outright. Asked about the anomalies with evidence, he said, “I really don’t have any knowledge about it. The monitoring committee might have the answer.”
In fact, TU is responsible for all these offenses since it has proved to be a toothless authority since a majority of the office bearers are appointed on the basis of political affiliation. It has been evident that TU cannot take any action against its staffers, who have been operating private institutions under HISSAN and PABSON.