Monday, February 7, 2011

Court Order In Defence Of TU

The Supreme Court the other day quashed the writ filed by the student organisations, demanding the revocation of Tribhuvan University’s decision to hike tuition fees. The bench of the justices of the apex court reasoned that Tribhuvan University is an autonomous body privileged to fix the fees to be levied on the students. It would be in order to mention that the university had hiked the fees by as much as five fold at all its levels and faculties almost one-and-a-half years ago, citing resource crunch. The TU decision was opposed vehemently by the students, and the student unions worked in concert to mobilise opinion against the steep rise of the fees. However, the university refused to relent under the pressure mounted by the students and argued that the decision to revise the fee structure was timely and in conformity with the rationale of meeting the much needed expenses and costs. The students then resorted to litigation to compel the university to reverse its decision. But the court came in defence of the university and dismissed the writ filed on behalf of the students.

Since Tribhuvan University is obviously in a financial crisis, its decision to escalate the fee is defendable. However, it needs to be pointed out that TU has the built-in penchant for irrational expenditure and less than optimum use of resources. It has a bloated administrative size and a large contingent of teaching staff who are paid but without monitoring their performance. Many TU teachers are underworked, and the TU authority seems least bothered about ensuring that its staff perform and deliver results. There is crass politicisation in the hiring and appointment of both teaching and non-teaching staff, as a result the quality and competitiveness of the education imparted in the TU campuses have been severely compromised.

TU needs to reform itself and demonstrate capacity to produce quality results to justify the need for additional resources. While the rationale of the TU fee hike cannot be faulted, as shown by the Court decision, too, the need of the day is to carry out sweeping institutional and structural reforms within it to deliver results. TU is the public-funded seat of learning, and it feeds on tax payers’ money. It should, thus, be accountable to the people, and the only way it can serve the people is by increasing the quality of education imparted in its campuses and faculties.
source:Rising Nepal:Editorial