Higher Education & R&D

Improving higher education teaching and learning, developing R&D and application of innovations

At the higher education level, the system is in its early stage of development with few well established universities. Over 70% of the outputs at the higher education level are still produced through one public university, Tribhuvan University.  Standards of teaching and learning are generally poor and of variable quality; and higher education institutions are unable to resolve them effectively as they are beset with various governance and fiscal challenges.  At Tribhuvan University, over 80% of the students are in ‘general faculties’ and less than 15% study technical disciplines, which are essential for the growth and development of various economic sectors. Research and Development (R&D) activities at Nepali universities is negligible, if any. Worse, the Government’s R&D expenditure is just 0.3 percent of GDP.  Integration of IT/ ICT in teaching is non-existent or weak.  There are a growing number of smaller private institutions offering specific technical education, but the quality of these programs are questionable and an independent and robust accreditation system is lacking. Among those who can afford, many spend significant resources to seek quality education overseas.  According to the Ministry of Education (Nepal) report, some 32,900 students left Nepal to study abroad on ‘self finance’ in 2015/16.  This means a flight of an estimated US$150-400million out of Nepal that year alone.  Most who leave to study, do not return home to resettle. This is a major loss of human capital stock and financial resources, and there is no strategy to stem this flow.

Rapid advances in information and communication technology (ICT) provides new opportunities for teaching and learning, empowering disadvantaged populations and promoting innovations and human well-being. The continuous growth and development of world-class research, teaching, and training institutions coming online around the world provides opportunities for learning and generating professionals, specialists, scientists, researchers and policy makers required by the economy, as well as collaborating for producing new knowledge in support of national priorities. The Center is exploring opportunities for collaboration across these related areas, which are vital for the country and the region as it prepares for the future. The Center will study and help strategize the development of high quality universities and technical institutes that cater to those in Nepal, and the region, thereby helping to stem the flight of human and financial capital out of Nepal.

IIDS/ CHDI is developing a business plan to establish the first School of Public Policy (SPP) in Nepal. IIDS/ CHDI are pleased and grateful for the financial support of the US Government to develop the concept note and business plan for the proposed SPP, which will grant both executive certificates as well as formal MPP degree; the latter under the oversight of and through Kathmandu University.  For more information on the proposed SPP click here.