KATHMANDU, Dec 22: Nepal Law Campus which under Tribhuvan University faculty of law that had announced entrance examinations for admissions to its law program has been canceled. It is uncertain as to whether new dates will be released for entrance exams or will there be direct admission for the LLB course.
Student political wings of various parties had demanded that the law college not limit the seats to 300 and make it open and reachable for the general public. The entrance exams which were to be held on the 21st of December stand canceled putting at risk the education of students who were seeking admission to the law school.
There are very few law colleges in Nepal, and after the federal structure that was implemented most of the colleges are centered on Kathmandu, and Nepal Law Campus is one of the premier campuses under Tribhuvan University. Speaking to Reporters Club there are two versions from the administration and the agitating student bodies regarding the intake of students and campus admission.
The administration has maintained a stance of not being able to admit more than 300 students on the campus due to lack of infrastructure and facilities provided which include student-teacher ratio, facilities for spaces, library, and other activities. Nepal Law Campus has to cater to other students of course of B.A.LLB and LLM. Assistant Campus Chief Prof. Nabin Kumar Subba stated to Nepali Reporter “it is not up to us that we decide what to do, we are an educational institution, and our work is to provide education for those who come here to study with the best available resources. The strike will affect the future of those who wish to take up law, and we hope that we reach an agreement soon”.
The assistant campus chief also spoke on the quality of education for the students if it was declared for over 300 students that would strain the resources of the campus. “Tribhuvan University must look into the matter urgently to resolve the issue,” he said.
Similarly speaking to the Assistant Dean of the Campus Prof Gyaneshwor Parajuli, he said “that the matter was being discussed and a committee was also formed regarding the matter. The recommendations of the committee were to provide seats for various law colleges across the country and at par of accommodating students. Nepal Law Campus currently can admit only 300 which is a maximum class size for the announced LLB course”. The assistant dean further warned that randomly increasing numbers for admissions would weaken the quality of education due to the student-teacher ratio and the increasing class size along with the limited space available in the campus”.
(Padlocked office inside Nepal Law Campus)
The agitating student bodies comprise mostly of the ruling party and its coalition. Speaking to the President of the ruling Nepali Communist Party student wing Deepak Thapa is vehement in his stance of the lockdown. “The administration here has admitted numerous students if you look at the intake of the previous years. Why are they keeping a limit which would disallow people from marginalized and economically weaker sections of the society from seeking admission into the law program? Don’t they have a right to education? If you look at the previous year’s this law college has admitted over 1000 students each time, there is no problem as there are different times and classes for the courses along with available faculty. Along with that they also demand a better method of admissions for those seeking entry into the campus. President Thapa of the student wing says that “we have been speaking to the administration regarding our concern of limiting seats which is unnecessary, education is a fundamental right, and unlike previous years the admission has to be open to all. Limiting seats in public institutions like these will hamper the future of the students who are keen on studying law as part of their career”.
A student leader of the same party Surendra Pun says that “this is a ploy to increase private colleges and generate profit. We have been speaking to the administration regarding our demands and we are hopeful that the issue will be resolved soon he said over the phone to Nepali Reporter.
The discussion with both the student leaders revealed that there is indeed a vast monetary difference between public and private institutions, while a three year LLB program costs about Nepalese Rupees (NRs) 25000, a private college can charge anywhere from NRs 350,000 to Nrs 500,000 for the three-year course. The latter would be out of reach for many students who are from the economically weaker sections.
As deliberations continue, the future of those who have applied for the law courses from the previous year remains uncertain. A prolonged crisis of this magnitude would leave thousands of students in jeopardy leading to students having to take up private education or move abroad. The administration and the student bodies, however, are said to come to a decisive conclusion and resume admissions for the coming academic year.
(Photos, compilation and written by Birat Krishna Thapa)