Academicians and Scholars underline need of blended modality of learning

Kathmandu / June 07: Academicians and scholars from Nepal and abroad have underlined the need to give continuity to higher education, despite challenges of COVID-19, through a blended modality of virtual teaching and learning along with in-person campus-education particularly for technical subjects.

Speaking at a webinar on Higher Education Governance after Pandemic organized by Kalpa Academy Center for Governance and Sustainable Development in collaboration with Kantipur City College, on Saturday academicians and scholars from Nepal, Thailand highlighted the need of blended mode of education during challenging situation.

Altogether 117 participants from various streams of higher education in the country and abroad attended the Webinar. Renowned educationist and Former Dean of Kathmandu University Dr. Mana Prasad Wagle presenting a paper on the occasion portrayed the disruption caused by COVID-19 in the current landscape of higher education in Nepal offered by nearly 11 universities and 7 institutions to some 700,000 students. He emphasized the need to develop a sense of solidarity and collaboration among leaders of educational institutions for mitigating the adverse impact of the Corona Virus on the higher education. Dr. Wagle prescribed a road map for higher education in post pandemic period urging all those in positions of governance to be sensitive to continuity of higher education.

Dr. Pralhad Karki, President of Kalpa Academy, initiating the discussion observed: it is time all stakeholders of higher education in Nepal should come together and focus on ways to make higher education and its institutions sustainable in post-pandemic period.

Academician of NAST, PDC of Madan Bhandari University of Science and Technology and Board President of NEGAAS and Goethe Zentrum, Prof Dr-Ing Ramesh Kumar Maskey pointed out the challenges facing online teaching learning in technical fields such as engineering and other sciences. He shed light on the digital divide troubling higher education students and the gap in knowledge, skill and mindset among teachers for undertaking digital mode of delivering higher education.

Prof of Kathmandu University Dr. Manish Pokhrel spoke of the need to get on board all stakeholders of higher education while developing new modality of teaching and learning in post-COVID-times. The online teaching and learning should not be construed as another version of traditional teaching and learning, Dr. Pokhrel remarked and said the pedagogy, curriculum, delivery and evaluation of higher education should be tailored in a different design. A leadership with academic vision can only guide the future of post-pandemic higher education, he opined.

Professor of Kantipur City College – Rama Krishna Regmee who is also a senior journalist of Nepal- moderating the Webinar session observed the deliberations served as stimulus for higher education stakeholders to build resilience for coping with COVID-19-disruptions and emerge as determined to innovate modality of teaching and learning.

Prof of King Mongkuts University -Mr. Khagendra Raj Dhakal of Thailand referred to the survey taken among 30,000 students on disruption in higher education caused by COVID-19 and said students wanted continuity while braving against the pandemic. Mr. Dhakal stressed student –centric approach to delivery of higher education arguing for recognizing the virtual space as important as the physical campus in serving the broad cause of higher education.

Prof of University of Agder -Dr. Devinder Thapa of Norway urged all to take COVID-19-times as a window of opportunity to undertake innovations in higher education. The mindset for this should also be changed accordingly observed, Dr. Thapa.

KCC lecturer Abhas D. Rajopadhyaya who facilitated in the question answer session of Webinar termed the deliberations as enlightening and hoped it would inspire all concerned to take steps to give continuity to higher education in the midst of challenges of Corona Virus.

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