Dr Mani R Banjade
I am delighted to share with friends and the wider community that I decided to be part of a small team to run a higher education college in Nepal. This was a very deliberative decision I made, after spending over five years in the government service, seven years in the world of NGOs and over three years in an international research organisation. This decision also follows four years of doing PhD in Australia – which was indeed a deep dive into the world of higher education, in a university of global reputation.
I do not want to say that everything I did in the past was wrong, and what I am starting now is the only right thing to do. Government organisations are great places to learn how state and society interact and there is also a huge responsibility to take on behalf of the sate. NGOs and specially the small, dynamic and research-oriented ones which I worked with are great places to explore, test and promote alternative ideas for social change. International organisations are great places to learn working across culture and gain global perspectives.
All of these experiences brought more questions to my mind than solutions. After traversing these fields, I felt that I needed to get back to Nepal and do something in the field of higher education in the homeland. My fatigue with international development coincided with the revelation that Nepali youths and families spent billions of rupees every year in higher education abroad. Of course, there is a value in exploring other countries as part of education and possibly migration, a large majority of students leave Nepal mainly because they do not find affordable and good quality education in Nepal. There are quite a few colleges which offer good quality education at home but still there is a huge opportunity to improve the quality and make the education more affordable, with a global outlook so our graduates can find professional jobs anywhere in this globalized world. This is a key social goal that I am committed to achieve through my new college initiative in Nepal.
I also want to frankly share with you my very personal motive behind the college initiative. As a researcher coming from a lower-middle class family in Nepal, I have always had to depend on international donor money for jobs and income. I also thought that I should feel proud if I can offer some teaching and learning services to my fellow community members and then make a living out of that. Living in my own economy is better than relying on others.
Besides, I want to do something that I enjoy. After gaining an advanced formal degree and obtaining diverse experiences of different sorts, I now very keenly look forward to teaching and learning activities at undergraduate and post graduate levels. I am glad that I have been able to be part of NIMS college which provides a range of undergraduate and post graduate courses. I am also keen to demonstrate innovative teaching and learning strategies and practices through research, reflections and experiential learning. This also compliments my other existing initiatives such as promoting agro-forestry entrepreneurship and supporting PhD and Masters’ degree by research programs.
I am keen to roll out real time problem solving works for students as part of learning and achieving their curriculum goals. I am excited to have the support of a group of globally reputed academics from Australia, USA, and the UK to offer me advice and needed support as part of the wider NIMS community.
I am also keen to develop research and teaching collaboration with academic and research institutions across Australia, Europe and the North America. I will also work actively to forge collaboration with institutions in the region of South and South-East Asia. We will soon announce a Journal of Asian Development and Innovation that will showcase the research our faculties and students do.
I very much look forward to your cooperation in this new endeavor. Just drop me a line at my personal email letting me know what you think of my plan and how we can work together.