Even after 95 years of its establishment, Tri-Chandra College still stands tall at the center of the capital with the reputation as the country’s oldest institution of higher education. But history alone does not justify an institution’s existence, as the College now looks old and frail. The magnificent college premises which also houses the historic Ghantaghar, the city’s only clock tower, is in need of a major overhaul.
Dirty classrooms, filthy toilets, dusty passageways, haphazardly placed furniture and cracks in the walls with loose-hanging electricity wires characterize the college these days. In addition, apart from the chronic disruption of classes due to political activities, the college does not provide clean drinking water or have sufficient toilets and canteens for over 5,000 students. The sway of the student unions over student admission and other decisions is no secret, although the unions like to blame campus management for all the ills that dog the institution. The college has been (and still remains) one of the major educational institutions where students are more involved in politics than in their studies. Many of today’s well-known names, in politics and other fields, have passed out from the college but hardly anyone seems to care about it well-being. Even those attending the 95th anniversary of the college on Tuesday failed to delve on the actual problems dogging the once-hallowed institution.
Despite lack of proper toilets, basic infrastructure, well-maintained classrooms and canteen, the number of students is growing, as Tri-Chandra College remains among the country’s primary institutions of higher studies in science and humanities. The state of Tri-Chandra College shows the contrasting fate of government-run educational institutions with the increasing number of private institutions with strong economic foundation. Comparably, these privately-run colleges have better facilities than the government-run ones, attracting a large number of students. But not everyone can afford them.
Thousands of students from around the country still depend on government colleges for quality education. The plight of other major government colleges like Amrit Science Campus, Saraswati Campus, Nepal Law Campus, Shankar Dev College, RR College, Nepal Commerce Campus and Public Youth Campus is no different. The bitter fact is: Tribhuwan University has not been able to provide proper facilities to the thousands of students who throng these colleges.
Besides inept management, one of the major reasons for the pathetic state of these government colleges has been the student unions that are more answerable to their mother parties than they are committed to students’ welfare. This has not only disrupted studies time and again, but has also affected the overall management of these colleges. Politics is no doubt a backbone of a conscious society and the colleges are the breeding ground for politicians, but that alone is not what the student unions are for.
The student unions should also focus on contributing to overall improvement of the colleges by putting pressure on government and college management to improve the basic facilities and smoothly run these historic institutions on which tens of thousands of students depend for their bright future