Nepal Open University

Nepal Open University formally established in 2016 in Nepal, with endorsement of Nepal Open University act by the parliament of Nepal.[1][2] This is the premier Open University in Nepal with a legal status on par with other universities in the country.[3] It has its main campus in Lalitpur, Nepal.

Nepal Open University
नेपाल खुल्ला विश्वविद्यालय
TypePublic
Established2016 (2073 B.S.)
ChancellorPrime Minister of Nepal
Vice-ChancellorProf. Lekhanath Sharma PhD.
Location,
CampusLalitpur
Websitenou.edu.np

History of Establishment

The initial formal endeavor of establishing an Open University in Nepal can be traced to 1999, the year when the Government became a signatory of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Consortium to Open and Distance Education.[4] In the Fiscal Year 2008/09, the then Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai in his annual budget speech allocated funding to implement Open University concept in order to provide an opportunity to youths who were deprived of getting education during the conflict period.[5] However, the Nepali government took no concrete action due to the lack of a proper institutional body to initiate implementation of the plan.

Meanwhile, a Canada-based non-profit organization, Canada Forum for Nepal (CFFN) brewing the idea of delivering education to the people living in the economically deprived regions of Nepal since 2007,[6] brought together three North American Nepali Diaspora leaders Dr. Ambika P. Adhikari, Dr. Drona P. Rasali and Dr. Pramod Dhakal and an Australian Nepali Diaspora leader Dr. Raju Adhikari to initiate the issue of establishing Open University in Nepal as one of the prime agenda for the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA)’s International Coordination Council (ICC), which endorsed the Open University of Nepal (OUN) Initiative as its flagship project in 2010.[7][8]

The NRNA commissioned a Task Force to undertake the tasks of OUN Initiative under the leadership of Dr. Pramod Dhakal. The Task Force worked closely with the Nepalese Ambassadors in Canada and the United States of America as the Government of Nepal's representatives for coordination in the initial work. Later, the NRNA signed an agreement with the Nepal's Ministry of Education that provided official mandate of working on the OUN agenda to NRNA. Nepali Diaspora academics around the world rallied behind the OUN initiative, which turned into an important Diaspora project. Later, a series of Memoranda of Understandings were signed between the Government of Nepal and NRNA (2013, 2014 and 2015) and many workshops, webinars and symposia were held in different parts of the world including Canada, US, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and Nepal between 2010 and 2016. The places of these meetings, workshops and symposia included Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Houston, Sydney, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu. Athabasca University (AU), Canada's Open University, located near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, provided technical support, and academic impetus throughout the process of formulating the plan and in the implementation of the program for the OUN. AU's leaders, including its president, vice president and director for distance education travelled to Kathmandu on two occasions and attended several other OUN meetings including in Ottawa, Houston, Sydney and Vancouver. The OUN's original proponents visited the AU, and held several meetings with the AU leaders to understand the working of an open university. Other universities, such as California State University Long Beach in the initiative of Dean Jeet Joshee, and University of Houston also provided technical and moral support in various stage of the development of OUN.[9][10] In the initiative of Dean Joshee, an online library portal for the Open University of Nepal within Merlot platform has been created for open access [11]

In 2011, Dr. Pramod Dhakal moved from Canada to Nepal to work solely on volunteering basis to lead the OUN Initiative. In 2011 and 2012, the OUN Initiative team lobbied with the then Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and several other Nepali leaders and policy makers to establish an interim institutional structure known as Open University Nepal Infrastructure Development Board (OUNIDB) to undertake OUN development activities until the OUN bill was passed by the Nepal's Parliament. Dr. Pramod Dhakal was inducted as NRNA representative to the OUNIDB. He along with and several NRNA leaders and academics met numerous times with the Nepali parliamentarians, ministers, political and academic leaders, and senior level officials to discuss and promote the OUN. This group also intensely lobbied for the passage of the OUN Bill in the Nepali parliament. Dr. Pramod Dhakal worked full-time to move the OUN agenda forward and wrote numerous reports, policy documents, and contributed in the development of drafts of the OUN bill, agreements between NRNA and the Government of Nepal and Athabasca University, and several other background documents.[12][13][14]

In two instances, the legislative bills for OUN were tabled in the Legislature Parliament of Nepal. First one was aborted due to dissolution of the Parliament in May 2012.[15] The second bill was passed by the Parliament on June 30, 2016. In this process, the Himalyan Times, a national daily in Kathmandu underscored the efforts of the NRNA's Open University of Nepal Initiative Task Force as commendable work by working together with the Ministry of Education since 2011 to bring the Bill.[16] Finally, the OUN was established under the Nepal Open University Act 2073, signed by the President of Nepal on July 14, 2016.

Additional documented information:

The factual information materials on various efforts made in the development processes before the passing of the legislation for the Open University are listed below:

I. Formation of the initiative teams

The major NRNA teams formed in the efforts are as follows:[17]

1. Concept precursors: CFFN AGM (May 10, 2008), NRN Canada Conference (June 27, 2009), NRNA Global Conference Kathmandu (October 14, 2009)

2. First Task Force, composed of CFFN and NRNA Regional Representatives for North Americas (December 2009)-Initial Proponents (P. Dhakal, A. Adhikari, D. Rasali)

3. First NRNA Technical Team (February 2010) – Proponents (P. Dhakal, A. Adhikari, D. Rasali, R. Adhikari)

4. OUN Strategic Committee (May 2010)- Proponents and other stakeholders (P. Dhakal, Chair)

5. First NRNA SKI Task Force (post May 2010)- Proponents and other stakeholders (R. Adhikari, Coordinator)

6. Open University of Nepal Steering Committee (October 2010) – diaspora proponents and government representatives (Secretary of MoE, Chair, NRNA President Co-Chair, P.Dhakal, Member-Secretary and full-time office bearer)

7. Strategic Planning Team, Functional Teams, and Working Groups of academics and professionals (January 2011) (P.Dhakal, Coordinator)

8. NRNA OUN Task Force, (December 2013) (P. Dhakal, Chair)

II. Workshops and Meetings

Since the inception of the idea of Nepali diaspora's role in 2009, the following sequence of milestone events were spearheaded by Nepali diaspora leadership for the OUN initiative,[18] aiming to take education opportunities to the grassroots communities, which have otherwise no provision for higher education in regular classroom-based teaching-learning environment.:[19]

1. NRN Delegation to Athabasca University, Canada, December 4, 2009

2. SKI Workshop, Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 2010

3. OUN Workshop at NRNA Regional Conference, Houston, USA, May 28, 2010

4. 1st OUN Planning Meeting, Ottawa, August 9, 2010

5. 2nd OUN Planning Meeting at NRNA Regional Conference, Sydney, Australia, October 7, 2010

6. Signing of Joint Resolution and Interaction between NRNA and MoE, Kathmandu, October 7, 2014

7. Meeting with Canadian representatives on Joint Resolution, Kathmandu, October 8, 2010

8. 3rd OUN Planning Meeting Ottawa, Canada, January 7, 2011

9. Collaboration Meeting at University of Manitoba, Canada, March 4, 2011

10. 4th OUN Planning Meeting, Ottawa, Canada, August 1, 2011

11. OUN Workshop at the 5th NRNA Global Conference, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 11, 2011

12. 1st Workshop on pedagogical model for OUN, January 4, 2012

13. OUN interaction program with California State University, Kathmandu, April 4, 2012

14. NRN-Canada/CFFN Study Tours and Consultations at Athabasca University, May 18, 2012

15. Special Positioning of OUN and National Open Digital Library at National Library Conference in Nepal, December 29–30, 2012

16. Joint Organization and Paper Presentations at IT4D International Conference on eEducation and eHealth, Kathmandu, July 12, 2012

17. Meeting on OUN with Open Universities Australia (OUA), July 17, 2012

18. OUN Workshop on OUN, NRNA Regional Conference, Sydney, Australia, August 1, 2012

19. 2nd Workshop on Pedagogical Model for OUN, Kathmandu, January 4, 2013

20. OUN Workshop, 6th NRNA Global Conference, Kathmandu, October 18, 2013

21. Conference on National Development: Opportunities and challenges for the Diaspora, University of New Mexico, March 11, 2014

22. NRNA OUN Task Force/NRN-Canada/CFFN Open University of Nepal Planning Meeting, BCIT Burnaby Campus, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, August 8, 2014

23. Meeting on Positioning of NRNA Role in OUN with MoE, Kathmandu, October 24, 2014

24. Signing of MoU and Interaction between NRNA and MoE, Kathmandu, May 10, 2014

25. NRNA SKI Workshop on Sydney, Australia, July 19, 2014

26. Joint Meeting on OUN between OUUK, MoE, UGC and NRNA, Kathmandu, July 24, 2014

27. OUN Planning Workshop, NRN-Canada/CFFN, Vancouver, Canada, August 8, 2014

28. Collaboration Meeting: NRNA and California State University, California, August 13, 2014

29. Collaboration Meeting: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Canada, August 19, 2014

30. Collaboration Meeting with President of Athabasca University, Canada, August 21, 2014

31. Interactions with Nepalese Diaspora Communities in Canadian Cities, August 8–30, 2014

32. Collaboration Meeting with Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada, September 3, 2014

33. Workshop on OUN Legislative Initiatives with MPs, NRN Day, Kathmandu, August 10, 2014

34. Theory of Change Workshop on OUN with OU-UK, Kathmandu, November 18, 2014

35. 3rd Workshop on Pedagogical Model for OUN, Kathmandu, January 28, 2015-08-27

36. Collaboration Dialogue between NRNA, MoE and OU-UK, February 3, 2015-08-27

37. Youth & Science Policy: A National Dialogue with SKI, NAST and NBFS, February 13, 2014

38. Interaction on OUN Bill between NRNA and Parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Elderly and Social Welfare, August 6, 2015.

III. Major Memoranda of Understandings and Documents

Since the inception of the idea of Nepali diaspora's role in 2009, several agreements were signed among various key stakeholders of OUN initiative. The following major documents, compiled in the OUN White Paper (Dhakal, 2014), form the bases of initial activities of the OUN to move forward on the steps of its formation:[20]

1. MoU between AU and NRNA-ICC and CFFN, Ottawa, Canada, 25 September 2010.

2. Resolution between MoE, GoN and NRNA, Kathmandu, Nepal, 7 October 2010.

3. MoU between OUNIDB and AU, Sydney, Australia, 31 August 2012.

4. MoU between OUINDB and NRNA-ICC, Sydney, Australia, 31 August 2012.

5. Report on the Meeting between NRNA-ICC and MoE, Kathmandu, 24 November 2013.

6. MoU between NRNA and Ministry of Education on Establishment and Operation of Open University, Kathmandu, May 10, 2014

7. Official Adoption of “A White Paper on Open University of Nepal”, OUNIDB, June 18, 2014

IV. Additional external links:

The original proponents, Dr. Pramod Dhakal, Dr. Ambika P. Adhikari, Dr. Drona Rasali and Dr. Raju Adhikari also published several background documents, presented in many meetings and conferences on the OUN to popularize the project, and create support for the OUNI. The following links include some examples of the publications and presentations:

http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1037&context=nsc_research

http://admin.myrepublica.com/opinion/story/27787/rebuilding-nepal.html

http://nrna.org.np/OUN/papers/OU-053-OUN-Initiative-A-White-Paper.pdf

https://www.nrna.org/Portals/0/pdf/OU-108F-Vision%20for%20Diaspora%20Engagement.pdf

http://nsft.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/SKI-Presentation-NRN-Australia_Workshop_July-192014.pdf

The OUN team spoke on TV, and other media to explain and lobby for the OUN. Some examples are provided in the links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Wx6SVi_bQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ-_ORnUgv0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVZTDUSjHg

The proponent team also organized to release the OUN song to popularize the OUN initiative. Please see the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvIHIrTDy0g

References

  1. "Open University Bill endorsed". Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  2. "House panel endorses open university bill - The Himalayan Times". The Himalayan Times. 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  3. "Nepal Open University". www.nrna.org. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  4. Chouhan Tara (December 2014). "Distance Educations for Computers Undeveloped Country Like in Nepal: Prospects and Challenges" (PDF). International Journal of Information and Education Technology. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  5. Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai (19 September 2008). "Bhattarai Unveils Annual Nepal Budget for 2008/09". Nepal Monitor. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  6. Pramod Dhakal (2007). "Inclusive Education: A Framework for the New Age of Communication". Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN). Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  7. Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A., Rasali, D. (15 December 2015). "A proposal for an Open University of Nepal for providing higher education to the rural and marginalized people". Himalayan Research Papers Archives. Nepal Study Center, New Mexico University. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. Dhakal, P. (20 July 2014). "A White Paper on Open University of Nepal Initiative" (PDF). Open University Infrastructure Development Board, Ministry of Education, Kathmandu. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  9. Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A., Rasali, D. (15 December 2015). "A proposal for an Open University of Nepal for providing higher education to the rural and marginalized people". Himalayan Research Papers Archives. Nepal Study Center, New Mexico University. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Dhakal, P. (20 July 2014). "A White Paper on Open University of Nepal Initiative" (PDF). Open University Infrastructure Development Board, Ministry of Education, Kathmandu. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  11. "Open University of Nepal Library (OUNL) on Merlot". Merlot, California State University. 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  12. Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A., Rasali, D. (15 December 2015). "A proposal for an Open University of Nepal for providing higher education to the rural and marginalized people". Himalayan Research Papers Archives. Nepal Study Center, New Mexico University. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. Dhakal, P. (20 July 2014). "A White Paper on Open University of Nepal Initiative" (PDF). Open University Infrastructure Development Board, Ministry of Education, Kathmandu. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  14. Rasali, D.P., Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A.P., and Adhikari, R. (15 December 2015). "Open University of Nepal: A Global Vision of Higher Education for the Disadvantaged People" (PDF). Proceedings of the 29th Conference of Association of Asian Open Universities (AAOU), Kuala Lumpur, November 29-December 2, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ""CA dissolved; PM proposes fresh election for Nov 22". eKantipur". Web.archive.org (archived from the original on 2 April 2015). 28 May 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. "EDITORIAL: Open University". The Himalayan Times, Kathmandu. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  17. Rasali, D.P., Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A.P., and Adhikari, R. (15 December 2015). "Open University of Nepal: A Global Vision of Higher Education for the Disadvantaged People" (PDF). Proceedings of the 29th Conference of Association of Asian Open Universities (AAOU, Kuala Lumpur, November 29-December 2, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. Rasali, D.P., Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A.P., and Adhikari, R. (15 December 2015). "Open University of Nepal: A Global Vision of Higher Education for the Disadvantaged People" (PDF). Proceedings of the 29th Conference of Association of Asian Open Universities (AAOU, Kuala Lumpur, November 29-December 2, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. Adhikari R, Dhakal, P., Rasali, D.P., Adhikari, A.P, (15 September 2015). "Rebuilding Nepal.: The Open University Initiative (OUI) aims to take education opportunities to the grassroots communities". MyRepubica.com, Nepal Republic Media Private Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. Rasali, D.P., Dhakal, P., Adhikari, A.P., and Adhikari, R. (15 December 2015). "Open University of Nepal: A Global Vision of Higher Education for the Disadvantaged People" (PDF). Proceedings of the 29th Conference of Association of Asian Open Universities (AAOU, Kuala Lumpur, November 29-December 2, 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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