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Laxman Timilsina: Local government should fill its jobs with local human resource

Laxman Timilsina: Local government should fill its jobs with local human resource

To provide the poor and genuine students access to technical education after their SEE, Pokhara Metropolitan City Office has run an educational academy as Gandaki Polytechnic Institute. It has been expanding access to higher education through a dozen of long- and short-term technical courses including civil engineering, forestry, pharmacy, geo-metrics engineering, industrial training, building construction, automobile and so on. To run this academy, Pokhara Metropolitan City Office annually invests money, labor and attention by providing its inputs in overall development of students. It aims to serve the students, communities, and the region through a quality, market-oriented and demand-based education system. The institute currently has almost 400 students from all over Nepal.

As informed by the Pokhara Metropolitan City Office, the ratio of admission has been increasing in every new educational year since the last couple of years. Smita Adhikari of ApEx talked to Director of Gandaki Polytechnic Institute Laxman Timilsina on the issues of the real value of technical education at the local level.

What do you think is the value of setting up separate educational academies at the local level?

Education is a major base of development. It is that element that supports the creation of the pillars of overall development by shaping the concept of people and making them concerned in their liability in development. So, the Schedule 8 of 2015 Constitution has ensured the local bodies have the right to set the education system in their area. While the right to shape the educational environment goes to the local leaders and stakeholders, it will add value to make the education more productive. It is because local stakeholders are quite familiar with the problems of their area and can identify what type of teaching and learning the people of the area need. Similarly, only the local stakeholders are familiar with the demand of the job market. 

Why the focus on technical education?

While we are not against non-technical education, we should understand that local development needs a large number of skilled manpower to accomplish various technical tasks. Local governments are compelled to hire people from outside countries and districts, as manpower or consultant for the works in their areas. So, Pokhara Metropolitan City aims to fulfill its need of skilled manpower in an easy and economical way. We also want to support other districts too. So, Gandaki Polytechnic Institutes takes students from all over the nation who want to take technical education at a reasonable cost.

What has been the output of the institute so far?

A batch has already passed out in all courses. Eighty percent of the students have joined the job market. The most positive aspect is that those who have not joined the  job market are self-employed. We encourage students to explore new things and identify their working areas. We manage to send them in paid or non-paid internships for jobs as part of their academic curriculum. In some courses we have got the highest score in all over the country too. The admission rate has been growing in every new academic calendar. Every year we have added new technical courses to address the numbers of students willing to work with Pokhara Metropolitan City.

How do you convince the community that an educational academy under the local government is fruitful?

We know that 60 percent of school education in Nepal is occupied by private organizations. Institutions like ours offer a high discount when it comes to the education fees. In comparison to other private institutions, we provide education at a reasonable cost. Likewise, we involve our students in extracurricular activities and inspire them to be confident to face the situations in their life. This year we are giving free education to girls who are talented and sat for their SEE from community schools.

Do you think there are any problems running a local government owned academic institution?

We feel local stakeholders and people representatives including the bureaucracy are very supportive to this endeavor. Nevertheless, the big stakeholders are more biased toward private organizations than the local government-run institutions. So, the lack of encouragement, monitoring and attention from related authorities are the problems that we have been facing.