University policy naturally goes with the national education policy, spirit and values. University education is not only relevant to the local context and needs but also should address the world wide university education and research dimensions. In this context, the main functions of university are construction of knowledge and technology through research and expand this knowledge and technology for innovation. Public funding is made in order to accomplish the main functions of university and therefore there needs transparence, integrity and productivity in fund utilization. For this, there is necessity of guideline, direction and monitoring from the side of government in administration of funds. However, it is equally important to impart a full academic independence to the higher education institution in providing education and conducting research to the level that does not hamper the national integration and human civilization. In order to accomplish the above mentioned objectives and ensure the responsibility, accountability and academic freedom, the Nepal Open University shall undertake the following policies and programme in general and being focused on some in the year 2074/75 B.S.
- University Governance Policy
University is a full academic institution which needs ample of academic freedom to the faculty and students in expressing ideas and conducting research for generating new knowledge and technology. In this sense, university governance cannot be fully bureaucratic as it is practiced in government functioning. In order to share power among the units of organization structure as envisaged in Act, the principle of decentralization and autonomy with accountability shall be granted to the respective institutions. As the staffs gain salary from the university, it is mandatory to impart service to the university with full time engagement. All education policies thus will be formulated following the principle of decentralization and autonomy with accountability. The laws and bylaws prepared will ensure the full utilization of the delegated power to the concerned authority with full accountability to undertaken actions by the authority. Being 21st century University, it is assumed that the university will run all administrative functions using e-governance. All administrative structure and organization shall be equipped with e-governance system with competent human resource in e-governance functioning and this competency shall be considered as basic entry requirement for the working staffs. (The university structure and organization and rules and regulation to function the organization is attached in appendix)
2. Education Policy
Nepal Open University Act 2073, Chapter 2 has stated about the establishment of the university “The open university is established in order to provide education and research in different subjects using open education system”. This statement implies that the university education programme must follow the principles, values of open education system and using modern educational technology. According to the open education principles and values, the following policies related to programme identification, implementation, quality insurance, students admission, teaching and learning, evaluation and testing:
Policy of Access
- Run study centres throughout the country and establish study centre aboard taking approval from the government to ensure quality higher education access to mass people.
- Implement flexible admission policy without giving a restricted entry requirement to the students according to the principle of open education so that every person can get admission in any courses when they can get success in the entrance test conducted by the university.
- The university will provide opportunity to take courses to satisfy the entry requirement which are necessary for specific subjects as basic knowledge and competence for learning the advance study.
- Make a provision of credit transfer and accumulation from conventional university so that the students studying in conventional system can pursue their study in Open University and recognize the prior learning experience of the individuals working in different fields assigning credit to this.
- The students studying in the university can get provision of credit transfer and accumulation within the schools and the programmes.
Learning Mode and Management
- The mode of teaching and learning shall be fully online and hybridized. Fully online mode will be applied when there is possibility of the internet facilities to all. However, even in the online courses there shall be some face-to-face hours of interaction.
- The study centre will manage real classes for one or two days for the students in a week who are interested to participate.
- University will establish own Information and communication infrastructure necessary to run university programme. This system will have data centre, e-libraray and e- repository, and Learning Management System. In addition, this centre will run plagiarism detection software and all students’ academic production will be screened through this software before submitting for final evaluation and publication.
- The medium of instruction will be Nepali and English or mixed.
- Ample tutor- student interaction opportunity will be created and ensured using different media and study points will be set up according to students’ accessible place and time under the coordination of state level study centre of the university.
- Mechanism of regular monitoring, feed back to the students’ learning and tutor-students interaction using online system where there is internet facility and where this service is not strong, the state study centre will coordinate and monitor all the activities regularly. A detail guideline will be prepared for this.
- Curriculum will be prepared following the principle and practices of credit based modular curriculum system. The university will specify the credit necessary and the subjects to be studied to acquire the given degree. The curriculum will be organized in modular system and utilize this modules to certificate graduate with certain competencies that can be utilized in their field of employment whenever they do not complete the requirement of the degree they intend to pursue. The degree will be granted whenever they complete the full requirements. A detail guideline will be prepared to run this system.
- Both academic and professional courses are run and these programme will be determined on the basis of the market need survey. University will start programme from any degree level as specified by the university. The market study will be run by the specific Dean’s office or School based on the prospective as well as existing markets of the world of works associating both national and international markets’ needs.
- The university will focus on poor and disadvantaged section of the population to provide professional and vocational education as per their demands with both credit and non-credit programmes. The provision of granting credits to the prior learning experiences and adding some theoretical and practical knowledge and competencies to those students who have been working in a field for many years shall be ensured so that a system of granting degree will be prepared. A guideline will be prepared to implement this system effectively.
- The learning philosophy and teacher students relation differs significantly in open and distance learning compare to conventional mode of higher education. Accepting this fundamental principle, curriculum, learning materials and evaluation methods will be managed accordingly.
- Big mass of youths from Nepal are migrated aboard for employment. Therefore, the curriculum and courses will be prepared according to the international labour markets where they are working. Similarly, there are youth who dropped out to get jobs in order to manage their family and their own life; the education programme will be made to address their needs.
Human Resource Management Policy
- The working hours of the staffs and faculty will be defined according to national and international law. The staffs and faculties who are of permanent tenure need to work at least 8 hours in the given work assignment. The faculty has to work 50% of their hours in teaching and learning facilitation, 40% on students’ project and assignment supervision and guidance, and 10% on administrative and their own research work.
- Full time faculty and staff working in Nepal Open University are not allowed to work in other universities, offices or any other organization. This is strictly prohibited to the staffs that are in fulltime employment tenure of the university.
- University will establish a system of human resource development suitable to the philosophy and practice of open and distance learning and fulfill the required human resources of the university who graduated from this programme in order to ensure quality education services to the students to produce internationally competitive graduates.
- The Basic Resource Centre will be developed with highly competitive human resources on ICT use in education and pedagogy and infrastructure to support all Faculties and Schools and made accountable for continuing development of technology and pedagogy on online and distance education.
- Research fund will be allocated to run action research and conduct research on innovation of ICT enhanced education pedagogy and education technology.
- The employees of the university will be of two types – academic and administrative. They will be fulltime and part-time in work contract. The University is not accountable for capacity development of the part-time work contract faculty and staff and their career path.
Evaluation and Testing Policy
- University will bring into practice the best practices of evaluation and testing system used in other open universities. E-assessment and portfolio based evaluation techniques will be implemented to evaluate students’ learning achievement based on the set competencies.
- A separate but dedicated evaluation and testing unit will be set up in university to conduct evaluation and testing of the students and also to do research for the improvement of evaluation and testing. This unit will listen the complaints of the students related to testing and evaluation.
- Both internal and external evaluation will be implemented to evaluate students learning. Course tutors and professors will run the internal assessment of the students’ learning progress and the final evaluation will be done in a designated examination centre with specified evaluation and testing system in the physical presence of students. The examination management office shall be responsible to select external evaluators. As the university establishes the full online system, online testing will be implemented.
- Students’ evaluation in the terminal examination will not be done by single evaluator but performed by multi-evaluator system for ensuring quality of evaluation.
- A detail guideline for evaluation and testing will be developed and all types of assessments and testing will be made according to this guideline. Open book exam, take home exam and project, student designed and agreed project like assessment system will be used.
Degree Awarding Policy
- Generally, higher education designates the meaning of undergraduate and graduate study in the respective fields. But open universities in the world run different degree programmes such as certificate, diploma, undergraduate and graduate courses. University will award certificate, diploma, undergraduate and graduate level degree in different subject and disciplines. The right to define and explain degree type comes under the jurisdiction of academic council. This degree will be made compatible with the national higher education qualification frameworks and the details of the competencies and the relevant work areas of the graduates will be informed by a booklet for public notice.
- Certificate, diploma, undergraduate and graduate degree shall be defined on the basis of the credits the students have to gain. Certificate and diploma degree will be focused more on professional studies and they are considered eligible to get admission in undergraduate courses after completing secondary education. The certificate and diploma will be designed for the students after undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of professional studies.
Quality Assurance and Accreditation Policy
- A separate qualification authority shall be established in the university to ensure quality of education. To ensure quality, international and national standards shall be considered constructively.
- International collaboration with the universities and other educational institutions will be made for education and research jointly to ensure quality of higher education. A guideline for international and national collaboration will be developed.
- All education programme will be in semester system. Detail guideline for better implementation of semester system for Open University will be developed.
- Publication of article in a peer reviewed international journal is mandatory to participate in final examination of degree awarding on research based study (eg Mphil, PhD).
- Open University shall use the guideline and direction promulgated by UGC or other examination authority established in the country in evaluation of the students. International standards of higher education evaluation framework will be considered in preparing examination.
Funding and Financing Administration Policy
- The target groups of Open University are disadvantaged sections of the population and the establishment of Open University is to address the government social accountability of the producing capable human resource needed for the development of the country. This provision demands huge amount of public funding in higher education.
- University fund will be contributed from the source of income of students’ fee, university production sale income, and other sources of income.
- Single treasury system of accounting will be used in university financing system.
- A separate fund will be established deducting a certain percent of the salary of the staffs and faculty to ensure retirement benefit.
- All academic units will be fully engaged in educational activities rather than involving in financial management. In order to ensure this opportunity to academic leadership, a separate unit of procurement and resource management will be set up at centre to look into this management. All employees’ salary and allowance will be delivered to their personal account from the central financial office using smart solution.
- Fully decentralized administration is practiced. The authorized leadership of the unit will be granted the right of implementing the granted power and authority giving information to the immediate higher authority. But the leadership will be made accountable for the work done under his leadership.
- Salary and allowances to faculty, staffs and other personnel who is working for the university shall be determined by the University Executive Council and approved by University Senate for execution.The employees will not get other additional benefits like meeting allowance, remuneration of examination copy checking etc, but will get appropriate amount of allowance and the salary.
- University fund will be contributed by fund raised through collaboration between and among the business, professional organizations and individual. This collaborative mode of fund raising will be prioritized to strengthen the university fund.
- University financial rules and regulations will strictly follow the Nepal government sanctioned laws and bylaws. But university being an academic institutions for education and research, it established collaboration with other universities and international agencies, in this case it must have a freedom to adopt internationally practice rules and values of fund utilization.
- University will facilitate to professors and researchers in getting research and collaboration project with national and international agencies and universities. Those who are main contributor to the project development will get the full autonomy to run the project within given legal framework. But double salary benefit is strictly prohibited to the faculties and staffs.
- A separate research fund will be established to support teachers and professors to conduct research.
- Transparency and integrity in implementation of public fund is ensured by monitoring and auditing provision.
Quality Certification Policy
- Quality of education is the integrated effect of curriculum, education process and procedure, basic infrastructure, evaluation system, reporting of students’ progress. Therefore, greater attention is paid in all these components in course of developing education programme.
- All terminal examination shall be taken standardized test. Similarly, learning achievement in course of learning shall be examined using competency framework of the given degree level.
- Evaluation will be done by using multiple evaluation schemes such as scores given by the tutors during learning, students involvement in teaching learning activities, participation in online and face-to-face test etc and final score will be awarded to the student averaging of the obtained scores.
- Students’ assessment will be done by close monitoring and supervision by the tutors. Analysis of the reporting of the students’ progress and participation as given by learning management system and plagiarism check software will be utilized to provide the score and reporting for the award of the degree.
- A unit dedicated to testing and evaluation is set up to conduct testing and evaluation of the students and perform researches on testing and evaluation to make the system robust with new methods and tools of testing and assessment.
- The evaluation and testing unit will provide certificate of equivalence to the degree from other universities preparing a guideline. The guideline will provide criteria and procedure of giving certificate of equivalence.
- A separate unit for quality assurance and accreditation will be set up and made accountable for this.
- If university grant commission and other independent institution make a provision of taking quality assurance and accreditation for university programme, this assurance and accreditation will be acquired accordingly.
University Research Policy
- Quality research is the main basis of quality education of the university. University shall follow strictly the guideline of research standards and ethics and professional standards promulgated by University Grant Commission, professional councils and other constitutional bodies. Based upon these guidelines, university will prepare its own research guideline and standard.
- Collaboration with different organizations and agencies shall be made to establish a fund for students research support and allocate specific amount of budge to support students’ research in the field of national priority.
- Collaboration shall be established with industry, profession, business in conducting research and study in their need areas and innovation of technology.
- Research grants will be provided to the applicants who is/are most deserving to conduct the research and contribute new knowledge and technology. This evaluation will be conducted in a blind review and evaluation procedure.
- Autonomy is granted to the professors and researchers who contribute to the development of the research project. A special rule will be made to conduct the research in university through collaboration and independently.
- The full time faculty needs to publish at least one research based article in a peer reviewed international journal. In case of not publishing, the concerned dean may raise question to the continuation of the service in the university.
University Collaboration and Networking Policy
- Establish collaboration and networking with national and international universities in specific subject areas with memoranda of understanding and letter of agreement according to university laws and Nepal laws. University and research centre collaboration shall work jointly to use human resource and other physical resources. Under the academic programme collaboration joint degree awarding and credit transfer system will be developed and implemented.
- Students who want to study in Open University from conventional university desiring to continuing their education, a system of credit transfer will be developed and implemented.
- Resource sharing collaboration with the institutions and organization will be prioritized where there is huge investment and management complexity to decrease the investment level and effective service delivery.
- Implement the policy of collaboration between universities, research centres and other education institutions for teaching learning, supervision, evaluation and research works of the students studying in the university.
- Realizing the contribution made by Non-residential Nepalese(NRN) in the establishment of the university and recognizing the agreement between NRN and Ministry of Education in different years for establishment and implementation of the university taking this as a flagship project, the university will make a provision that can appoint coordinator of the national and international collaboration under the decision of University Executive Council from the 3 personnel referred from NRN to appoint as the director of Coordination Centre of the University for national and international collaboration. This is expected to bring ample use of the Nepalese diaspora for education, research and technology development to contribute economic development of the country.
Physical Resource Management
University Act has mentioned the central office of the university will be located in the place the government of Nepal shall make decision and published in Nepal Rajpatra, the authorized government publication of government decision. The university has no its own land and building to date. There is no physical, educational, and IT infrastructures necessary to run the envisioned distance and online learning programme. The university management needs to work to prepare all these necessary physical and educational resources to run university programme. The long-term and short-term plans for physical resource management are proposed as follows:
- With the purpose of decentralizing the higher education providers, it would be acceptable to take university out of valley, but it is urgently necessary to locate the place where there are facilities such transportation, high-band-with internet facility, student concentrated areas and human resource available to run university programme.
- It is necessary to set up university central office in the initial years in Kathmandu Valley due to the formative years of developing all education programme since the subject experts and technical experts are concentrated in conventional universities. A well-equipped rented house with sufficient space is necessary within Kathmandu Valley.
- If Kathmandu Valley is selected for the central university office, the following are the proposed options:
- Retrofit the Kesair Mahal building where the open university infrastructure committee was located in the past and handed over to the university.
- There are land and buildings under the ownership of Ministry of Education around Sanothimi Bhaktapur and these physical infrastructures needs to be handed over to the university.
- The provincial government needs to be inspired to provide government land to the open university to set up Study Centre in the provinces.
- Until the time the university set up all its infrastructures for central and provincial and other study centres necessary to support students, it shall be made MOU with the institutions which have lab and other necessary infrastructure including human resources to facilitate students’ learning.
- All necessary infrastructure according to the needs of the education programmes will be managed through construction according to the master plan of the overall infrastructure and in different provinces.
- Initially, one basic centre that has all necessary IT facility and learning material production centre will be established in central level but as local demands this services will be distributed in other parts.
Human Resournce Mamangement Programme
Human resource management is a broader concept covers recruitment of the faculty and staffs, professional development opportunity to all staffs and faculty, and facilities. The following programmes will be undertaken:
- Faculties and staffs shall be recruited according to the laws and job induction training and workshop to the new appointee employees shall be provisioned. There will be a special unit to take this responsibility by law.
- University will use its own learning management system and smart solution to run the whole university system. The staffs and faculties will be trained to operate the system with securely and perfectly.
- The education programme, the nature of the curriculum, learning management, assessment everything will be different compare to conventional system. The ways of establishing teacher and students interaction will be different. So a special training cum workshop for lesson, learning management, assessment conduction will be managed to the faculties and the staffs.
- Research, workshop, seminar and conferences shall be arranged for the professional development of the faculties.
Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Set up and Running
Nepal Open University is established in 21st century rapid and cutting edge technology development and innovation in education, so the university must start with well-established modern information communication technology infrastructure. Students when they are in the access of internet must have options to participate in virtual synchronous classes, live interaction with the teachers and colleagues who are in learning groups and teachers must have opportunity to utilize multiple pedagogical approaches to suit the diverse learners. For this the following management will be undertaken:
- Central data centre, media labs and other necessary labs will be set up in central and provincial level.
- Establish e-library and run to provide service to own students as well as other university students
- Establish Learning Management System ie. MOODLE as university LMS and this shall be customized to make it all gadgets friendly.
- Provide necessary IT tools and machines to the faculties and staffs by the university
- Set up centralized smart solution to run all administrative, educational, examination and testing activities of the university. The administration will be made as much as possible a paperless administration.
- The ICT tools and software freely available will be maximized in use so as to make the programme cost friendly to the poor section of the population.
Study Visit and Training
- Open and distance learning based higher education system in Nepal is a new innovation in Nepal a country with verities of culture, language, understanding about education and schooling. People are well experiences and qualified for conventional mode of higher education but novice to the use of ICT in education. So, study visit of the leadership, educators and staffs is necessary to get knowledge on the use of ICT in distance education and possible challenges and lesson learned from the other open universities in the world.
- Sending faculties and staffs to other universities or inviting experts from other universities to run workshop and training in Nepal will be managed to train the faculties and staffs of the university. For this collaboration with other universities will be established.
- Focus will be given in in-house training and workshop in course of working in course development, teaching, learning management, student support etc.
Publication, Storing and Distribution
- University will establish peer-reviewed journals in different fields of study conducted in the university. The research made by the graduates will be published and made public for their use in development work.
- Print and produce all necessary learning materials (electronic and text) to the students for their learning support from university publication unit.
- Archive of old and new publications and production will be prepared, stored in university data centre and make it public for the study and research purpose. But will be sold to earn money to pay authorship and copyright. In doing this, international copyright law and national law both in text and electronic shall be followed.
- University publication will be distributed through e-library.
Education and Training Programmes Related to Profession and Business
- Professional Competence Development Programme: Nepalese community, basically rural village community, now are engaged in economic activities like agriculture, government and non-government service, foreign work and service, and business. Larger contribution is from agriculture and remittance is seen in national economy. People may need to upgrade and update their work competencies in different employment sectors due to change in context, technology and changes seen in business management. Sometime a person needs to shift from his profession to get new ones. In this case they need a new knowledge, skills and competencies. So, based on the need analysis of the people the university develops education and trainng programmes targeting to the workforce.
- In addition, Nepal has traditional indigenous knowledge and technologies related to different professions and production, university will prepare courses on this to modernize and use this indigenous technology.
- Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Modern technical and vocational education and training will be run according national needs and priority targeting people with mediocre aptitude and working people.
- Nepal has just entered into new political setup and local government is autonomous to run their judicial, executive and local parliament functions. There may needs capability development of the concerned personnel in local government level. Targeting this need, university will work in collaboration with the government to design necessary courses in these areas.