Nepali Higher Education: Facts and Figures
Dr Krishna Prasad Paudel : After the establishment of democracy in Nepal in 2046, the concept of multi-university is adopted by Government of Nepal, the university in Nepal is mushrooming. There are currently 11 universities in Nepal. They are Tribhuvan University, Nepal Sanskrit University, Kathmandu University, Pokhara University, Purbanchal University, Lumbini Bauddha University, Far-Western University, Mid-Western University, Agriculture and forestry University, Nepal Open University, and Rajarshi Janak University.
Besides, there are four medical academies National Academy of Medical Sciences, B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, and Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (Source: University Grants Commission Nepal).
There are total of 1432 community, constituent and private campuses/colleges of these universities. Among the higher educational institutions across the country, 538 are community based (37.57%), 147 are constituent (10.27%) and 747 are private (52.16%) campuses. Tribhuvan University (1141) has the highest number of institutions of higher learning. Likewise, Purvanchal University (116), Pokhara University (67), Kathmandu University (24), Nepal Sanskrit University (18), Mid-Western University (18), University of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (17), Far-Western University (15), Lumbini Buddhist University (9), Nepal Open University (1), Rajarshi Janak University (1), BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (1), National Institute of Medical Sciences (2), Patan Institute of Health Sciences (1) and Karnali Institute of Health Sciences (1). Moreover, there are few colleges which are affiliated to foreign universities.
Further, there are 81 community, 23 affiliated and 92 private educational institutions in Province , 41 community, 9 affiliated and 73 private colleges in Province 2, 170 community, 44 constituent and 407 private colleges in Bagmati Province, 83 community, 16 constituent and 52 private colleges in Gandaki Province, 88 community, 17 constituent and 80 private educational institutions in Lumbini Province, 25 community, 18 constituent and 18 in private colleges in Karnali Province and 50 community, 20 constituent and 25 private colleges in Far Western Province. Province wise: 196 (13.69%) in Province 1, 123 (8.59%) in Province 2, 621 (43.37%) in Bagmati Province, 151 in (10.54%) Gandaki Province, 185 (12.92%) in Lumbini Province, 61 (4.26%) in Karnali Province and 95 (6.63%) in the Far Western Province. The number of the community, constituent and private campuses in different provinces also presented to the figure below.
In terms of the ecological belts 58.73 percent (841) campuses located in Hill, 35.96 percent (515) campuses in the Tarai and 5.31 percent (76) campuses in the Mountain region.
Now, let’s discuss how many students are studying in the different universities of Nepal. According the data of 2018/019 published by University Grants Commission (UGC), 4,41,819 students are studying in higher education. Among them 3,35,543 are studying in the largest and oldest university, Tribhuvan University. Similarly, 30,542 students in Pokhara University, 27,527 in Eastern University, 18,356 in Kathmandu University, 10,113 in Far-Western University, and 7,353 in Mid-Western University. Likewise, Agriculture and Forest Sciences University has 3,871, Nepal Sanskrit University has 3,749, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences has 1,528, Nepal Open University has 955, Patan Institute of Health Sciences has 931, Lumbini Buddhist University has 695, National Academy of Medical Sciences has 447, Rajarshi Janak University has 153 and Karnali Institute of Health Sciences has 56 students. In terms of student load or weightage, Tribhuvan University is 75.95%, Pokhara University is 6.91%, Purvanchal University is 6.23%, Kathmandu University is 4.15% and other universities share 6.67%.
Out of the 441,819 students studying in higher education in Nepal, 229,961 (52.05%) are female and 2,11,858 are male (47.95%). Among the 1,21,091 students who are in community campuses, 78,356 are female and 42,743 males. Similarly, among 159,209 students of constituent campuses 70,767 are female and 88,442 males. And out of 1,61,511 there are 80,338 female and 80,673 male students studying in the private campuses.
If we further segregate the students based on department or school, 2,04,855 (46.37%) are studying in the management, 75,957 (17.19%) in education, 48,433 (10.96%) in humanities and social sciences, 37,026 (8.38%) in science and technology, 29,018 (6.57%) in engineering, 28,252 (6.39%) in medical science, and 18,289 (4.14%) in different stream such as agriculture, Sanskrit, etc.
Out of the 441,819 students 3,94,889 students are studying in undergraduate level. Likewise, there are 224 at the PGD, 43,612 at the postgraduate level, 1,075 at the MPhil level, 2,019 at the PhD.
The highest number of 2,31,197 (52.33%) students are studying in higher education in Bagmati Province. Similarly, Lumbini Province has 50,171 (11.36%), Province 1 has 50,066 (11.33%), Gandaki Province has 39,407 (8.92%), Province 2 has 29,703 (6.72%), Far Western Province has 27,699 (6.27%), and Karnali Province has 13,576 (3.07%). The number of students studying on provincial basis is also presented in the figure 2 below.
Currently, 9,677 (excluding B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences and National Institute of Medical Sciences) faculty members are working in higher educational institutions of Nepal. Among of 9,677 faculty members 846 are professors, 2,345 are associate professors, 5,099 are assistant professors and 1,252 are teaching assistants.
The Constitution of Nepal 2072 has established Nepal as a Federal Democratic Republic country. Now the question arises, how far is the government of Nepal in implementing federalism? Are our state-run higher education institutions adequate for our geography? Why 621 (43.37%) educational institutions were opened in Bagmati Province? The Karnali Province, which has the largest geography in the country, has only 61 (4.26%) educational institutions. Why is there only 123 (8.59) educational institution in Province 2 (the second largest province in terms of population)? It is necessary to analyze all these questions critically and make arrangements for equal access to higher education in all provinces of Nepal. Until education is made accessible to every citizen in an inclusive manner, it is not possible to build an inclusive and socialist-oriented society envisioned by Constitution.
Note: The data was carried out from the report of University Grants Commission Nepal