Political interference cripples Patan Multiple Campus

4 weeks ago 26

Classrooms on campus are expected to have well-maintained structures with proper facilities for sitting and studying. However, the situation is different at the Lalitpur-based Patan Multiple Campus. The classrooms are unmanaged, dirty, and even have big holes in the wall through which a person could enter.

On the right side of the college entrance is a brick wall and four tin-roofed sheds. One of the organisations built the permanent sheds after an earthquake in 2015. Now the sheds have big holes. Students of bachelor’s level are compelled to study in those sheds. 

Despite this, there are still not enough classrooms on campus. Buddhism Studies, Nepal Bhasa, Home Science, and Geography classes are held in the administrative building’s rooms. Some classes are conducted randomly in whichever classrooms are empty, without fixed rooms. As a result, students are often compelled to ask where their classes will be held. 

“The political dispute among teachers, officials and student unions have created such a worst condition in the campus,” says a teacher.   

The 2015 earthquake affected the buildings of the administration, sociology department, and information and technology department. The building of the information and technology department was labelled with a red sticker.

The administration building consists of the offices of the campus chief, assistant campus chief and accounts. It also has seven departments of humanities and social science. 

The second floor of the new building of the economic department has not yet been handed over to the campus due to which students are compelled to study in damaged classrooms. 

Disappointing Campus chief 

Junu Basukala, department head of history and Buddhism study says that she has requested the campus administration several times to renovate the classrooms. 

“The campus administration has said that they will do it next year during the vacation,” says Basukala.  

According to her, the students themselves have vandalised the campus property. There is a complaint that the hole in the permanent shed was made by some drunk student leaders of the All Nepal National Free Students Union (UML). However, the administration has neither investigated nor punished those students nor have they fixed the holes.

Although the one who vandalised classrooms has been identified, campus chief, Laxman Singh Kunwar says that no action can be taken against them. “How can we take action against them? They have connections with powerful people,” says Kunwar.  

He further says, “Whenever I try to do something new on the campus, they either padlock or file a case against me.” The tenure of Kunwar has witnessed 36 padlocks in the campus and he has faced 36 cases.

Patan Multiple Campus has over 10,000 students. The status of the campus is degrading due to the political dispute among teachers, staff and students.  The campus has not been able to renovate its buildings and other properties for a long time. 

The campus’s surroundings are not cleaned regularly. The grasses are totally unmanaged. The torn carpets and construction materials are placed unorganised. Patan Multiple Campus has mainly students and staff unions of Nepali Congress, CPN-UMl and CPN-Maoist (Centre), the dispute between them directly hampers the students and regular activities of the campus.

Tara Sharma, president of the Nepal Student Union, Patan Multiple Campus chapter, says that the campus administration has been unable to provide even basic facilities. He blames the campus chief for halting the process of establishing a canteen and purchasing computers. “The campus does not want to do anything for the students,” says Sharma.

Struggling due to political interference

According to a student, before purchasing computers and operating the canteen, the student unions are pressuring the administration to appoint staff according to an advertisement made by the campus in 2014. In 2014, the campus had advertised vacancies for four contract employees, including two computer assistants, one library assistant, and one office assistant.

The recruitment was halted after a case was filed with the authorities, citing that the positions were intended for the relatives of student leaders. Even now, student unions are putting pressure to appoint employees according to the same advertisements. However, the campus chief is reluctant to do so due to fear of controversy.

Patan Multiple Campus, which holds a history of 70 years of running higher education, is frequently struggling for progress due to political interference. 

Lalit Kumal, President of All Nepal National Free Students Union (UML), Patan Multiple Campus chapter also accepts the political conflict among the administration, student and teacher unions has impeded the development of the campus. 

“Everyone has different vested interests, due to such differences there have been problems,” he says. Assistant campus chief Bishnu Dahal, the national politics also affects the campus. “Quality education cannot be maintained immediately, it takes time. No one is concerned about it,” says Dahal. “Everyone is running behind power and position.”  

President of the Professors Association, Ram KC, says that although teachers, the administration, and students are divided, things would be different if they were held accountable.

“The main problem is none of them are accountable,” says KC. Lecturer at Patan Multiple Campus, Dipendra Sinjapati, says, “Chaos will continue at Patan Multiple Campus until the political associations of teachers, students, and staff are abolished.”

“It is very hard to take action against those who commit mistakes due to their connections with political parties,” he adds.

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