Houston Program: Invitation

The Houston workshop is organized to bring together some prominent academics and institutional thinkers to deliberate the academic, management, and business aspects of creating an OUN. This workshop will be a part of the 4th NRNA Regional Conference to be held in Houston, TX, USA during May 28-30, 2010. It is organized by the NRN Skills, Knowledge and Innovation Exchange Task Force (SKI) and will take place all day on May 28th.

Background

Nepal has been labouring through a long period of under achievement, while the age of technology, information and knowledge is already knocking its door. Its urban population has already come face to face with the internet and high technology. The population in rural and remote areas has also come to know about the illusive internet and information technology due to tourism, mobility of residents, mass media and efforts of the government and non-governmental organizations.

While the exposure to new technology has brought a surge in demand for higher education, its access for the rural residents, and women and marginalized groups is still severely limited. This is due to the shortage of institutional capacity to meet the demand for quality education. Further, financial and resource constraints within the sub-group make it difficult for them to move to cities where education may be more easily available. Because of the lack of educational opportunities to support decent jobs, most rural young people are taking short-term employment in foreign countries and, are forgoing the chance to obtain higher education.

Lately opportunities have been unfolding in multiple fronts. First, Nepali Diaspora and friends of Nepal have been making efforts to bring improvements in selected schools and colleges through infrastructure, libraries, scholarships, trust funds, and even tutoring programs. Second, many international institutions have made significant advancement in distance learning principals and practices. Third, the information and communication technology (ICT) has not only reached a matured state but also has become affordable to developing countries. However, Nepal has not been able to integrate all those opportunities, innovative technologies and generous contributions to develop a body of formal knowledge, quality education system, accreditation of programs, and flexible access to education.

Believing that an Open University of Nepal (OUN) would be the most appropriate response to address these needs, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) and Canada Foundation for Nepal (CFFN) joined hands in an initiative to support the Government of Nepal (GON) to build an OUN. As the GON had long identified OUN as an excellent means to address the problems of access to higher education, there is an outstanding opportunity for NRNA to collaborate in this initiative.

Houston Workshop

The Houston workshop is organized to bring together some prominent academics and institutional thinkers to deliberate the academic, management, and business aspects of creating an OUN. This workshop will be a part of the 4th NRNA Regional Conference to be held in Houston, TX, USA during May 28-30, 2010. It is organized by the NRN Skills, Knowledge and Innovation Exchange Task Force (SKIE) and will take place all day on May 28th.

The objective of the workshop is to hold deliberations on a proposal for the institution, more specifically on 1) content and academic development, 2) governance, management and administration, and 3) business plan to organize financial and human resources for the proposal. The program is being held in six sessions.

Sessions

  1. Opening and Proposal for Open University of Nepal
  2. Resource Mobilization and Business Plan
  3. Keynote Speech: Developing a New Open University: Lessons from the Past
  4. Content, Academic Development, and Delivery
  5. Governance, Management and Administration
  6. Skills, Knowledge and Innovation Exchange

Program Format

On each topic, there will be an introductory presentation. Some three or four discussants will summarize their written and verbal critiques and provide suggestions. A round table discussion to collect the participant inputs in writings, flip-charts, and recordings of conversations will be done. Any contributions can be made in writing in advance by May 15, 2010, so that the suggestions could be incorporated in the final proposal by the core proponent team for OUN.

This is an academic forum of open format and not a lecture and question–answer type. The speakers will set the theme for the debate, the chair will moderate and keep time, the discussants will critique the presentations and all present will participate in questions and answers.

About the Core Proponent Team

NRN SKI Task Force has taken a number of key initiatives to help Nepal. Promoting mass access to higher education through open and distance learning opportunities is one of those initiatives. A major part of this is the establishment of Open University of Nepal (OUN). Dr. Pramod Dhakal (Lead), Dr. Ambika Adhikari and Dr. Drona Rasali constitute the core proponent team for the proposed OUN.

Registration

Registration Fee:
Students: $50
Canada and USA Participants: $75
International Participants: $100
Invited non-NRN Speakers: no-charge
The registration fee will cover dinner, refreshments, conference materials and ticket to Nepal Cultural Evening on Friday. Registration Portal: Please click here for registration.

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:

Contact

Dr. Pramod Dhakal
Coordinator of the Workshop
Ottawa, Canada
+1-613-596-6692; pdhakal [at] cffn [dot] ca
cffn.ca, openu.cffn.ca, nrn.org.np

Mailing Address:
Dr. Pramod Dhakal
Executive Director
Canada Foundation for Nepal
33 Bellman Drive, Ottawa, ON K2H 8S3 Canada
Phone: +1-613-596-6692

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