Tribhuvan University, the oldest and largest varsity of the country, is preparing to shut down the departments that have fewer than 10 students. The decision is prompted by a steady fall in student numbers in different departments over the years.
Enrolment figures in the TU’s central campus and constituent colleges are declining even as the university adopted the semester system a few years ago for improving teaching-learning activities and boosting the quality of education.
Rector Sudha Tripathi said it was not viable to run classes when faculty members outnumber students.
“Some of the programmes have already been closed,” she added. The TU has stopped the Nepali programme at Trichandra College in the Capital while the History department at the central campus, which has only one student, is set to be closed. Records at the university show that enrolment rates at the departments of Urdu, Newari, Home Science, Culture, Hindi, Psychology and Sanskrit have plunged in the last few years. These departments have fewer students than teachers.
Such programmes are run either in the constituent colleges or the central campus. The university has 22 departments at its Kirtipur campus while the total departments including those in the constituent colleges’ number 157. Technical courses such as medicine and engineering have higher numbers of departments compared to non-technical subjects.
Records at the University Grants Commission, the government entity that oversees university education in the country, show that the oldest university is losing students gradually to other universities over the years. In 2007, of the total university students, 90 percent studied at TU. The share fell to 78 percent in 2016 while admissions to Kathmandu University jumped to 4.62 percent from 1.9 during the same period. At Pokhara University, the figures almost tripled to 7.2 percent from 2.4 percent in the span of nine years.
While the TU is losing students to other universities, the numbers in constituent colleges are also dwindling.
The student share of constituent colleges in 2007 was 57 percent; community and private colleges had 22 and 21 percent students, respectively. Nine years later, student numbers at constituent colleges dropped to 30 percent while private colleges saw 14 percent growth. Enrolment in community colleges increased to 33 percent in the period.
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