By: Falguni Basnet
The existing industry-academia disconnect in Nepal has been persisting for a long period of time now, and seems to be unresolved, even after rapid urbanization and increasing influence of technology. The universities and colleges in Nepal are not preparing students enough to become the human resources that today’s market needs, and people have even gone to the extent of questioning the adequacy of a Master’s of Business Administration. However, the solutions to this challenge, when given some thought, is not all that complicated. The only thing required to improve the gap between industry and academia, is effective implementation of its solutions.
1. Updating the syllabus
A basic necessity and yet, essential to the education system of Nepal, simply updating the syllabus in a manner that it becomes more applicable to the business or job market today, can go a long way. Industry-specific syllabi that engage students to perform focused and relevant research as well as extra non-credit courses can be a huge help for them to be industry-ready. In a similar manner, although mandatory internships already exists, there is room for them to be designed more seriously. This can provide a great deal of experience for university students and even help them with job prospects later. Finally, occasional guest talks, workshops and networking events can also be organized, so that the experts can help students gain an idea of what it will be like in the industry.
2. Producing and hiring qualified teachers
Proper training and orientation of faculty members is often found to be neglected in Nepal. Along with that, a faculty team that has had some experience in the industry will be able to mentor students in a way that only theoretical knowledge fails to. However, in order to retain faculty members for the long run, they have to be provided with the necessary incentives, such as tenure and a financial compensation that will help to sustain their livelihoods for the long run.
3. Coming up with a professional portfolio
A professional portfolio for keeping track of their progress, reflecting upon what there is to improve, and filing research papers, recommendations and testimonials is essential for professional development of students. A good-looking portfolio will increase employability, this making university-level students ready for the industry, and should be encouraged in all colleges and universities.
4. Self-responsibility by students
The industry-academia gap is not news to many students as well. And for their industry readiness, it is important that they take the responsibility in their own hands. With technology and internet in hand, there isn’t much to hinder students from learning skills necessary for their professional development and networking, and the only thing required is effort and the right attitude from them.