Industry-Technology and the Promising Academic-Industry Linkage.The concept of linkage between industry and academic institution is new to Nepal. PU strives for establishing strong outreach activities bringing industry and development agencies’ participation in all its academic, research and development programs.
The Eastern Development Region of Nepal, where the PU is established, is the leading industrial and agricultural region in the country. Through its outreach activities, PU is enticing industries and agriculture centres for joint collaborative research and skill development programs e.g. automation, plant disease control and mitigation, technology, management. The outreach activity also seeks collaboration with development agencies in strengthening the local governance through local skill development in planning, programming and managing the local and natural resources.
Information and Communication Technology Education, especially practical, technical, vocational education is at the heart of PU’s academic programs. The considerable focus on Information and Communication Technology emphasises to relish the development vision of the country. By exploiting the opportunities brought by information and communication technology distance education and e-learning programs can reach each and every door in even the most remote rural areas of the country.
Higher-Educated Instructors Training and Polytechnic Programs.Realising the current shortage of higher-educated instructors in technology and scientific disciplines PU has emphasised on producing post-graduate and doctoral graduates. The programs such as Master in Livestock, Executive Management, Computer Applications, Population, and Rural Development are to address the issue by compensating the low number of such graduates returning from overseas studies.
The vocational training is the key to the successful development of the agriculture and rural country Nepal. The effort of Centre of Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) in Nepal is widely acclaimed, although the centre is constrained by limited number of higher-educated trainers and staff who could be trained in oversees universities. PU plans to complement the efforts of these oversees universities, in their close association, by generating sufficient mass within the country to further enhance the efforts of CTEVT and similar institutions.
PU solicits collaboration to establish an academic program to generate higher-educated (masters and doctoral) graduates in Polytechnic and Vocational fields. In next 10-15 years, PU will produce a critical mass of well-trained professionals to cover polytechnic and vocational training in all the rural remote areas of Nepal which will eventually alleviate unemployment, poverty, insurgency, and degradation of social and cultural values and resources at all levels of society.
Linkage with National Research Centres.PU is manoeuvring to establish a strong official linkage with the agriculture, forest and food research centres of the Eastern Region of Nepal to facilitate the research and development, and capitalise on the vast resources unused by these centres. While PU could help these centres to keep up with their research and development activities, it can greatly benefit from the pool of highly skilled expertise and the excellent but under-utilised lab facilities. Additionally, joint research activities could develop the 545 hectares of university campus land to give direct benefits to over 1000 families in earning their livelihood from within the campus and also to help neighbouring settlements and villages in adopting both indigenous and improved technologies for better earnings and livelihood.
Food Processing and Dairy Technology. New research and study in food processing and dairy technology is the need of the day to further enhance the economic conditions of the region and the country as a whole. The farmers in the eastern region are leading entrepreneurs in food processing and dairy in Nepal, but mostly using age old systems. The cultivation of spices (cardamom, ginger, red-chillies, yellow powder), tea, fibre (jute, lokta), medicinal herbs, fruits and vegetables is widely spread in the region. Similary, the region is widely cultivated with hardwood trees (sishou, sal, teak, sakti-sal etc.) that not only salvages the greenhouse effects but also constitutes the backbone of region’s resources and development. The need is to establish and implement a coordinated multi-agency approach for the sustainability and development of this natural resource.
Capitalising Ecological Diversity.The region’s physical orientation (from 50 masl to over 8000 masl of the Sagarmatha peak) provides a cushion for a host of diverse climatic conditions at different places. This nature’s gift, although lowly enjoyed by the region, needs to be extensively utilised through off-season farming, high-value low-volume crops, modern irrigated cultivation, and high quality seeds production and animal husbandry.
The change from subsistence farming to high-value low-volume crops and promoting eco-tourism, village-tourism, and domestic-religious tourism are the areas where PU has put major emphases. PU will develop local skills in realising these changes in the region and the country in close partnership with national and international development agencies.