MESSAGE FROM THE MEMBER SECRETARY
Nepal is in transition from the old socio-political order to a new order of federalism with high anticipation for inclusive democracy, equitable socioeconomic progress and overall development in the country. There is high expectation from higher education that it should lead in developing good understanding among all stakeholders regarding the transition and in generating knowledge and skills of participation in the national endeavor. Access to quality education for all from the school to the university level is one of the foundations on which the understanding, knowledge, and skills of development and participation can be built, more so for achieving inclusive and equitable socioeconomic progress. While the transition also came with the development of new education institutions including new universities and campuses thereby contributing to rapid expansion of access to education including higher education, the challenges of expanding more access to meet the national needs and to catch up with the global trend remains. Besides, there is greater challenge of ensuring quality and making it relevant to the country needs.
The University Grants Commission initially delegated with the responsibility to disburse government grants to universities and maintaining the quality of higher education has expanded its role to reforming the education system and the academic programs, quality assurance and accreditation and support to research development and innovation activities in the higher education institutions. The government has recently adopted the Higher Education Policy 2016 and a unified Higher Education Act is in progress. The UGC has prepared a broad reform framework of National Program for Higher Education Reform and Development (NPHERD) and is currently implementing one of its components as the Higher Education Reforms Project (2014-2020). The overarching objective of the higher education stated in the Higher Education Policy – to produce qualified, competent, internationally competitive and research oriented human resources capable of providing able leadership to various areas of socioeconomic progress of the nation – is the major challenge ahead. These statutory, policy and planning guidelines and undertakings address an array of issues of the higher education including the transformation of the UGC to Higher Education Council in order to enable it to address the challenges. The UGC is intent on giving them final shapes while implementing the programs at hand and finding a consolidated approach to serve the national needs and priorities.
For such a task of immense importance and complexity, strengthening and transforming University Grants Commission in organization, management and innovation capacity is very crucial. The statutory autonomy of the commission, on one hand, and the Good Governance Management and Operation Act 2008 that has brought a paradigm shift in the governance requirement in the country since the time the University Grants Commission Act 1993 was enacted and the University Grants Rules 2003 were brought in force, on the other, provide both an obligation and the opportunity in this regard.
As the Member Secretary of the University Grants Commission, I feel that at this juncture of the transformation of the higher education and the nation it is a humungous responsibility in executing the mandated tasks of UGC of ensuring judicious disbursement of public fund to higher education institutions and programs, of ensuring quality and relevance of higher education, and promoting research and innovation leading to academic excellence. It is equally important now to further pursue the tasks of reform in higher education in the country. I intend to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the tasks are accomplished meeting the aspirations of all stakeholders. I believe and rely on team work of all concerned. I rely on the strength of the Commission and our advisory committees. Constant interaction with the national and international academia and all stakeholders will always provide insights and strengths to us in achieving our ultimate goal of transforming our higher education with universities working as the centers of excellence producing high quality human resource contributing to the social development and economic prosperity of the country.
Prof. Dev Raj Adhikari, PhD
University Grants Commission November 15, 2016
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