Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Local college, foreign education

Colleges with foreign affiliation started in the early 2000s with a tremendous rise in the number of students flying abroad for higher studies

Students seeking international degrees had no option but to travel abroad for further studies until domestic educational institutions obtained affiliation from global universities and started providing the same education and degrees in the country.

The trend of establishing colleges with foreign affiliation started in the early 2000s with a tremendous increase in the number of students flying abroad for higher studies. As per the records of the Ministry of Education, there are around 90 academic institutions with international affiliation providing education including A Level courses. Colleges providing bachelor’s and Master’s courses too have increased significantly in the last one decade. Till date, 35 colleges have obtained membership in the International Education Pro-viders Association of Nepal (IEPAN), an umbrella organisation of colleges providing international education at the bachelor’s and Master’s levels. According to IEPAN, there are around 50 colleges in Nepal that are providing university education with foreign affiliation from educational institutions in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Thailand, Mala-ysia, Singapore and India.

Globalization in the academic sector has encouraged college operators in the country to run programmes from globally popular universities. “The attraction of students for courses with foreign affiliation has been rapidly increasing, and this has led to a rise in the number of such colleges,” said IEPAN Chairman Pankaj Jalan. He believes that exposure to international curricula makes students more competent and qualifies them for job options globally. It is also easier for graduates from such colleges to transfer their credits when they move to foreign colleges. Moreover, some of these colleges have arrangements under which half of the course is taught in Nepal and the remaining portion at the foreign universities with which they are affiliated. According to Jalan’s experience, students are most attracted to management followed by hospitality, computer science and information technology.
College operators say that though the fee structure of foreign-affiliated colleges is higher than that of other colleges, it is still very low compared to what it would cost to get the same degree abroad. “Global education at an affordable fee is the main factor behind the increase in the number of colleges with foreign affiliation,” said Binod Bahadur Khatri, principal of Phoenix College. “Unlike our colleges, foreign universities follow the academic calendar strictly and classes and examinations are held at fixed times. This is another reason behind the attraction for such colleges.”

According to college operators, foreign universities keep a close watch on the performance of the colleges to which they have granted affiliation. Officials from these universities visit the colleges twice a year to check the quality of the education being provided. As the qualification of the faculty and the teaching-learning methodology used plays a crucial role in determining the quality of the degrees awarded, these universities have set the criteria for the teachers appointed. The teachers should be competent to deliver the knowledge as demanded by the curricula. Therefore, some of the universities themselves provide training to the teachers. Apart from that, colleges should have the appropriate infrastructure including labs and libraries as specified by the respective universities to get their affiliation.

source: the Kathmandu post,11 Dec 2013