You pass what’s rhetorically termed ‘Iron Gate’ with fairly flying colors. You then plan ahead for your next goal of shaping your career and enroll in one of the finest colleges affiliated to the most renowned university of Nepal. You dream of having your graduation photo with the brightest of smiles juxtaposed to the ones of your parents and siblings. However holding the convocation certificate in your hand sans any graduation ceremony, the feeling can be rather bitter. Many of the recent graduates from Tribhuvan University share the same sentiments as for the past two years TU hasn’t been able to conduct its graduation ceremony. For many others, graduation ceremony is a memorable event with the black robe and graduation hat full of festivities and proud moments. But for the ones like me and others, it’s been acerb as you are left hunting for photo studio in vain hopes of finding the graduation robe for hire and your photo frame in the family’s graduates’ list is left vacant.
It goes without a doubt that TU is one of the oldest and finest universities of Nepal and has boasted of earning recognition among the elite universities of South Asia. Indeed TU has succeeded in producing fine intellectuals and laureates who are contributing in various sectors of the country but it has still failed to address its management issue. It isn’t much of a surprise however when there is dearth of proper management felt in national level. But it doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to start simplifying everyday tasks that eventually add up to the whole bigger picture of proper management, does it?
It now draws me back to the convocation ceremony reference I made earlier. Considering the current situation of the country where there is hopelessness and helplessness everyway you turn, I was at least content to get hold of my convocation certificate. However the ordeal one has to go through for it is pretty frustrating and suffice to say, anyone who has had to go to TU administration office at Balkhu can completely relate. The first thing that strikes you when you enter the vast TU premises at Balkhu is that there is not even a single information board anywhere in the vicinity. Even if you manage to get direction from ever moody TU staffs, you still find yourself going round in circles because everything looks so similar, every door, every corner, every window looks the same as if you are in a maze. The least you want to do is find your way back to the staff and irk him again asking for detailed direction.
Exasperated, you think, at least they could’ve painted the buildings in different colors to differentiate or at least they could have colored ribbon on the floor leading to respective doors and the staffs just would require telling us to follow the line. Even simpler (discarding rather absurd ones just stated), they could just have number plates on each door and a board at the entrance with the details of different departments and assigned number. Or they could just have arrows with directions! It again doesn’t really take a rocket scientist to solve it but it is definitely enough to drive you towards insanity when you go on in circles in the TU premises trying to land in front of the desired door. Things ‘are’ and ‘can’ be made simple, you end up contemplating.
It’s no wonder for those born in Nepal, queuing up for basic necessities and simple things and eventually for survival is a way of life. If Darwin were to conduct his experiment here in Nepal instead of the Galapagos, he would definitely conclude ‘Survival of the most patient ones’ rather than the ‘fittest’. TU is no exception when it comes to queuing up. Needless to say, when students from all over Nepal from every faculty and every level of education are required to converge at Balkhu for any of their certificates or forms, queues are inevitable. There are lines in front of every window at the TU premises, some refreshingly short, some agonizingly long and some frustratingly goes in circles. Again in an attempt to simplifying things, the banks’ counter at TU, where the queue usually winds up in circles, could at least be distributed in multiple counters instead of a single ‘one’ catering to so many students’ voucher requests. It is really not a rocket science to have a bank counter adjacent to every window distributing forms so that students wouldn’t need to run from one building to another. These, basic things if TU office considered resolving, wouldn’t make every visit to the university office a bitter experience for every student.
I am reminded of one conversation few students ahead of me were having while queuing up for voucher at the bank’s counter. They were discussing why couldn’t TU print the forms in English and why couldn’t they just have those forms online instead of having all of us waste our whole time which could’ve been utilized. Having forms printed in English may be somewhat tangible but going online is really dreaming a utopia at present. Sad but true when the use of computers is so inconspicuous. The administration office at TU, Balkhu, if only had one information board, multiple bank counters and replacement resources during lunch time, to say the least, then we can think of next level of technology that can really ease out all the other tasks. It’s easy to understand drawing parallels to the fact when we are wasting our precious time queuing for basic commodities, when in that very moment, we could’ve been more productive at work and in business. You are compelled to queue up for daily necessities, when you could actually be signing off an important contract or excogitating a bright revolutionizing idea. And there are people who talk about brain drain! However, that’s all together a different story in itself.
Getting back to administration office of TU, if they paid attention to little things that makes every day task easy for both students and TU staffs alike, students wouldn’t have to return anathematizing TU which is a respectable institution of Nepal. And when basic things are in proper place, hopefully the forms will go online and yes of course, they’ll be able to organize the graduation ceremonies in the future.
Published in the Sunday Edition of The Kathmandu Post on 16 March 2008