Interaction with learners

The pitfalls of private education

Recent statistics suggest that the number of students going abroad for higher education has steadily increased. Given the dwindling foreign exchange reserves, leaders in the higher education sector are concerned about how to stop this massive exodus of students to India and other countries and curb the capital flight that is both valuable and avoidable by delivering quality programs locally. Despite an increase in the number of private players in higher education, including those whose programs are attached to a foreign university, the attraction and charm of going abroad continues to grow. It is worth recap and reflect on some of the problems plaguing Nepal’s current private education system.

Most of these observations are based on my own past experiences and interactions with parents, stakeholders and students as a higher education scholar. It is concerning to note that private higher education in Nepal functions more as a business than as a service. In our context, higher education relies heavily on imparting content to learners rather than developing their skills, which reduces the value of education within the current generation. They assimilate the knowledge acquired in the classroom as a substitute for the resources available online. It has also degraded the value and respect of those who provide education. Most of the time, students see no connection between values, morals, the education they receive and its implications in their lives.

They are barely able to reflect and connect to classroom learning and real-life events. As a result, they seem to be dissatisfied with the content, approach and pedagogy, and with life in general, as the knowledge they receive does not always lead them to secure jobs. Today’s learners who represent Generation Y believe that knowledge consumption can occur equally, if not more effectively, on social media platforms. They believe that the traditional teaching method cannot keep pace with advances in technology and knowledge consumption methods available in different digitized formats. It is a well-known fact that private actors in higher education struggle to gather the maximum possible admissions or to fill the sanctioned start of the school year. This has led some of them to compromise the ideal parameters to attract qualitatively superior students.