Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Studying conflict management

Conflict and people's aspiration for peace are unavoidable fea tures of human soci ety. As conflict can happen in any place, at any time and in any form, there is not a single way of understanding peace and conflict. To understand this process of conflict, peace and development in national and international context and pursue their career in same direction, some students are pursuing their Master's level on Conflict, Peace and Development Studies (CPDS) at the Department of Conflict, Peace and Development Studies.
Understanding conflict and peace CPDS is the latest programme under Humanities and Social Sciences faculty of Tribhuwan University that started in 2007.

"CPDS is a multi-disciplinary programme designed to develop analytical and practical skills of students to help them examine, research and offer solutions to various aspects of conflict and peace in various context," opined Dr Hem Raj Subedee, programme coordinator of the department.

At present, there is no other institution offering this course in Nepal. And some students seem excited to study peace and con flict. "I am interested in cultural conflict, especially conflict between different groups. I feel this course will help me understand this conflict together with different aspects related to peace process," argued Rajendra Sunchury, a IInd semester student at the department.

International collaboration Currently located at the building of Global College, midBaneshwor, CPDS is a regional Master's level programme funded by Norway. "Getting together with good friends of Nepal and Sri Lanka in Norway, we decided to address peace in a more professional way. As such we developed this curriculum collaboratively," informed Prof Dr Bishal K Sitaula from Norweign University of Life Sciences, who was present as guest lecturer at the department.

Seven students from Nepal and seven students from Sri Lanka under this programme are funded by Norway to pursue their study in CPDS. Situala further informed, "We have a regular students exchange programme between the students here and University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka."There is also exchange of faculties and students between Eastern University, Batticola, Sri Lanka and University of Life Sciences (UMB), in Aas, Norway.

Comparative approach for multi-disciplinary course "CPDS programme has comparative approach as its innovative feature," explained Situala according to whom, the curriculum is designed incorporating cases from conflict and peace processes that happened in Nepal and other places of world.

The students seemed to be satisfied with approach taken by the CPDS programme. "We are studying the Nepali scenario while comaring it in the international context," opined Alka Acharya, another IInd semester student.

Further the students should study different subjects and issues. "The course is a multi-disciplinary one where students can learn about political science, en vironment, security, gender and others. Studying these disci plines will provide students a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena of conflict, peace and development," Sitaula stated.

However one of the students disagreed, "Everything has been put in one discipline and the course is not refined. As a stu dent I feel the course should be more specific addressing the need of our context and time so that we can get better insight of what we are exactly learning about."

Students from diverse sector CPDS that began its classes with 38 students in 2007 now has 50 students in each batch. And according to Subedee, the num ber of applicants is increasing every year. They take in new stu dents once a year. But Subedee informed, "Once we have our own building, we will open ad mission every six months."

The students comprise fresh undergraduates, security sector officers, teachers, development practitioners and seven students from Sri Lanka in each semester."It is fun to study together with people from different sectors, having different interests and ex periences," opined Shanti Bar mashkha, a IInd semester stu dent who is also pursuing her Master's Degree in Economics.

A fresh undergraduate Sunchury however argued, "The course contents are tough and as a fresher, you really need to work hard to meet the level of those who are experienced."Future prospects "I have a dream of becoming an international mediator of conflict," Sunchury said reveal ing his aim.

The faculties too are preparing their students in such a way to make them competent and effi cient. "Besides regular teaching, we hold several workshops, run field laboratories and send stu dents for internship, so that they will not face difficulties and will accomplish their responsibilities with ease once they start work ing," explained Subedee.

However Acharya expressed, "We do not have any specific sec tor to go to and have to search for a job once we complete our course which is sad. However, we have realised that we should cre ate our own opportunities."

Eligibility for admission ·
Bachelor's Degree in any faculty with second division marks ·
Proficiency in written and spoken English ·
Related work, research, and publica tion experience is given priority.
Fee structure (per course) Nepali students: Rs 1,10,000
SAARC countries: Rs 1,48,500 For other students: NRs 1,65,000

source: The Himalayan Times, 6 April 2011