Houston Program: Information for Participants

Introduction to the OUN Initiative

A group of concerned Nepalese Diaspora academics and professionals have been considering that an open and distance education program is the most effective way in taking tertiary education to the rural areas of Nepal. Recently, the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) in alliance with the Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN), has brought forward an initiative to support the Government of Nepal build an Open University of Nepal (OUN). The core proponent team for the OUN, consisting of Dr. Pramod Dhakal (Leader), Dr. Ambika P. Adhikari and Dr. Drona P. Rasali, has led this initiative as a part of NRNA ICC’s Task Force on Skills, Knowledge and Innovation (SKI).

The major goal of the proposed OUN is to close the existing gap in higher education among rural, remote, and marginalized people of Nepal. Its main objectives are to provide continuing education opportunities for teachers and government employees, to offer higher education opportunities for the youth, and to advance a life-skill based education to rural people.

This initiative is at an early stage of work, as NRNA, CFFN and the core proponent team are working to develop a more detailed proposal and documentation, and to establish partnership with the Government of Nepal and other international institutions.

Purpose of the Day-long Program in Houston

A day-long workshop is organized in Houston on May 28, 2010 as a part of the NRNA’s 4th Regional Conference. The purpose of this workshop is to address various issues that are related to the establishment and operation of OUN. More specifically, the workshop should achieve the following two objectives:

  1. Sharing the concept and early plan with the participants, gathering expert views, and collecting feedback on how OUN could be made possible,
  2. Identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat,
  3. Building partnership and forging relationship with
    1. North American and global Nepalese Diaspora, and
    2. the invited experts and their institutions from Canada and the USA,

for a successful planning and execution of this program.We expect that contribution and support from all in developing and implementing this project. In due course of time and in their respective areas, the participants will promote the concept and provide help and support for the successful advancement of the initiative.

Workshop to help in the Development of Proposal Details

The Houston Workshop is divided into several sessions. It will have deliberations from the invited speakers, who will set the stage for strategizing the plan for establishing the Open University of Nepal. Presenters from the Open University’s Proponent team will bring to the floor the conceptual framework of the proposed University and also help in the development of a pre-business plan. Discussants and participants will provide feedback as well as fresh ideas that will serve as inputs useful in validating and refining the conceptual and operational framework of the University.

Expected Achievements of the Workshop

  1. All participants will become aware and learn of the Open University of Nepal initiative as a flagship project of NRNA
  2. Speakers and Presenters will have provided conceptual, academic and operational framework of the University
  3. Discussants and participants will have provided feedback and fresh ideas to supplement and refine the proposed frameworks
  4. Operational insights will have been gathered for the future analysis and implementation
  5. Participants will have discovered an informed opportunity to express interest and commitment, and make contributions in further development and execution of this program.


Instructions and Information for all Participants


Invited Speakers
Invited speakers will bring strategic insights for an Open University of international quality and standards in Nepal. The speakers are renowned personalities in their subjects and know the distance education intimately. We are thankful that they have accepted our invitation to come and speak at this workshop. They are requested to speak in the topic assigned to them within the time limit set by the organizers, and as modified by the session chairs.
Session chairs
Each session chair will be the head of the session who will run it smoothly and successfully in an efficient, dignified and cordial manner. The chair will track the session time and strongly remind each panellist, discussant and commentators to remain within their allotted time. The chair will also control the discussion part of the sessions and invite members of the audience for questions and point to panellists for responses. Depending on the time available, the chair will make brief introduction of the panellists and a closing remark to summarize the main points of the session. Organizers shall provide brief bio of the speakers to the chair. As necessary, a chair may choose to assign the role of introducing the speakers and additional tasks to the designated facilitator. Given the many sessions and a large number of presenters, speakers and discussants, it is imperative and critical that the chair maintains a strict control on the time for each of the participant. A clock-work like running of the sessions is required to successfully complete all session within time.
Presenters will be introduced by the chair, or designated facilitator, entirely at the discretion of the session chair. Presenter will be allotted a strict time frame to make the presentation on the assigned topic (with or without the audio-visual as may be chosen by the presenter). After the presentation, each designated discussant will be given a maximum of three minutes to critique and make queries on any aspect of the presentation. There will be opportunity for comments and questions from the audience during the open forum portion of each session.
Discussants would make analytical comments on the presentation and provide helpful insights and suggestions to the presenter. They would have reviewed the presenter’s paper, notes or presentation material in advance and would have prepared written notes which would be provided to the facilitators at the end of each session. Further, they will listen to the presentation at the workshop and provide constructive suggestions and advice on the proposal and presentation.
Facilitators are the leaders to distil the main ideas of each session of this workshop. They are a team of experienced and senior and accomplished professional leaders, who are charged with the facilitating the proceedings of the workshop and present summaries at the end of the workshop.
The facilitators will implement two specific tasks;

  1. The team will summarize the highlights of each session and present it at the Conclusion and Summary Session towards the end of the workshop. In order to keep track of the proceedings of each session, the team may designate one of its members to specifically observe each session and make note of highlights of the session. Some of the highlights of the session may also be drawn in consultation with the rapporteurs.
    Mr. Naresh Koirala will lead this component and make all assignments of the facilitators for this task.
  2. While the sessions are running, the facilitator team would have run a “silent&” SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis concurrently with the sessions of the workshop. There will be no dedicated session for running SWOT. Each participant will be given four colored meta-cards and will be invited to provide inputs on Strengths (S) in Blue, Weaknesses (W) in Yellow, Opportunities (O) in Green and Threats (T) in Red cards that relate to NRNs’s prospects in establishing an Open University in Nepal. Only one idea is expected in each card. Facilitators will provide extra cards to the participants if asked. By the afternoon, each participant will turn in all the completed cards to the Facilitators’ team members. The team will rapidly scan through the cards to capture the major highlights of the “silent” SWOT analysis, which will be presented during the end-of-the-day summary session of the workshop along with the highlights of the other sessions of the workshop. All cards turned in by the participants will be collected and provided to the Proponent’s team for future detailed analysis.
    Dr. Mahendra Lohani will lead this exercise.
A highly energetic team of rapporteurs will take the notes of detailed proceedings of each session of the day-long workshop event. Rapporteurs may work in turns of two or three to better manage the note taking and record keeping. The Rapporteurs’ team may provide outstanding highlights of the day to the team of facilitators as inputs to their role of summarising workshop proceedings. All notes presentation materials of presenters and discussants will be collected by rapporteurs. After the workshop, the rapporteurs will provide the detailed records and other materials of the proceedings to the proponent team of the OUN, led by Pramod Dhakal.
Mr. Hari Paudel has been requested to coordinate this task.
Media Representatives and Journalists
Media representatives and journalists will greatly help the session in two ways. First, they are requested to make a live streaming broadcast of the sessions so that many more interested individuals who could not make it to the workshop can also watch the programs. Second, they are requested to write and publish stories about the workshop and the session in their media outlets so that the idea of OUN and the news on proceedings of the sessions become available to all interested individuals in North America and worldwide.
The media representatives and journalists will have picture opportunities prior, during and after each session of the workshop. However, the opportunity of interview with any session chair, presenter, discussant or participant of the workshop will be available during the workshop breaks and outside the workshop time mutually convenient to them.
Audience will have opportunities for questions and answers in each session. The timing and extent of the questions and answers sessions will be decided by the chair of the session. Members of the audience are encouraged to be actively engaged in the questions and answer sessions as permitted by the time. What will make this workshop truly successful is the attendance and participation of the audience in the programs.

For further queries on the workshop please contact:
Dr. Pramod Dhakal – 613-596-6692 – pdhakal[at]cffn[dot]ca
Dr. Ambika Adhikari – 480-735-4429 – ambika[at]alum[dot]mit[dot]edu
Dr. Drona Rasali – 306-584-0639 – d_rasali[at]yahoo[dot]ca

This is an NRNA Conference and CFFN is partnering with NRNA in Open University of Nepal initiative. For further information related to the conference, please visit the following websites:

Other Inquiries

Mr. Ratan K. Jha, Secretary General
Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA)
Coordinator 4th Regional NRN Conference
Email: ratanjha [at] gmail [dot] com
URL: http://nrnusa.org

Dr. Hemant Dabadi, Executive Director
Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Secretariat
FNCCI Building
Pachali Shahid Shukra FNCCI Milan Marg, Teku
PO Box 269, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: (+977-1) 4215247/4262061
Fax: (+977-1) 4215247
Email: nrn [at] nrn [dot] org [dot] np
URL: http://www.nrn.org.np

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