Nepal - Higher Education
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Prior to the ten-plus-two (or the higher secondary education) system, students would continue their studies at the Proficiency Certificate Level (PCL) at the Tribhuvan University in Nepal and its affiliated colleges after passing the SLC examination. The PCL program is still being run in 2001, but is slated to be phased out because all students were going through the ten-plus-two system of post secondary education.
The first institution of higher education to be established in Nepal was the Tribhuvan Chandra Intermediate College (later renamed Tri-Chandra College) in 1918. The Rana Prime Minister, Chandra Shamsher, was opposed to higher education and saw it as a threat to monarchy. Nonetheless, he yielded to the growing pressure from Nepalese people in the formation of this college and remarked at its inauguration, "With the opening of this college, I have hacked my own leg." The establishment of Tri-Chandra College paved way for higher education in Nepal. Gradually more colleges were built. Two of the reputable colleges were Nepal National College, also known as Shanker Dev Campus, in Kathmandu and Thakur Ram College in Birgunj.
Tribhuvan University was Nepal's first university and was established in 1959. The Queen mother, Kanti Rajyalaxmi Devi Shah, was the first Chancellor of the university. The Academic Council is the supreme academic body of the university and the Board of Studies designs the curricula. Initially, postgraduate courses were offered in some humanities and social sciences and were based on the curricula of Patna University in India that also conducted examinations until 1962. In 1991, only 1.73 percent of the population had acquired a bachelor's degree of which only 0.44 percent were women and 1.29 percent were men.
On December 11, 1991, Kathmandu University was established as a private university. In 1993, the School of Management was established at its campus in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta (IIMC) and the first batch of Master of Business Administration (MBA) students were enrolled. The school of Engineering and School of Science opened in 1994 and offered several undergraduate programs. The School of Education and Arts was established in 1996. In 1997, the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) were launched.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Mahendra Sanskrit University, Purbanchal University, Siddhartha University, and Pokhra University were also established. Many of these are private ventures. In 1998, Tribhuvan University was the largest university with 150,000 students and 62 constituent and 132 affiliated campuses. The costs of tertiary education are very low at Tribhuvan University, while they are very high at the private Kathmandu University.
The Bachelor's level of university education after grade 12 is a three-year duration with yearly examinations. The Bachelor's Degree courses in technical institutes like Engineering and Medicine take four years to complete. The Master's Degree follows the Bachelor's Degree and takes two years with yearly examinations. In the technical arena, only the Institute of Science and Technology and, in some selected fields, the Institute of Engineering offers Master's level programs. The university education also includes a Doctor of Philosophy degree in some disciplines and subject areas.
At the tertiary level, in the 1960s, all programs of vocational education were brought under the umbrella of Tribhuvan University and five technical institutes were formed. They initially offered programs at the PCL level. These institutes were: the Institute of Engineering that focused on civil engineering related training such as road building, drafting, surveying, electrical engineering related training, and mechanical engineering related training; the Institute of Medicine that focused on Ayurvedic related training, nursing, and laboratory technician courses; the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science; the Institute of Forestry; and the Institute of Applied Science and Technology. The Institute of Applied Science and Technology has since been turned into a research center. The other four institutes that started their programs at certificate level now offer Diploma (Bachelor of Technology) and Degree (Master of Technology) and are gradually moving toward autonomous status.