Update 003: Initiative for Open University of Nepal

Dear Supporters of Initiative for Open University of Nepal (OUN):

In our last update, we had covered progress made in OUN initiative until the beginning of December 2010. Today, we are proud to say that the momentum continued or even gathered further momentum in the meantime. The following are the recent achievements that we would like to inform you about.

  1. The Cabinet Meeting of Government of Nepal held on January 28, 2011 in Kathmandu approved the Umbrella University Act 2067. Following this development, the bill will be tabled in the Parliament of Nepal for approval. The parliamentary approval will make this bill an Act, which shall make a legal provision for establishing an Open University in Nepal. The OUN Team thanks all ministers, ministry officials, NRN officials, Ambassadors and others who helped raise the urgency of the matter. Now that this bill is heading to the parliament, we are in need of all suggestions for improvements that can be incorporated during its parliamentary deliberations.
  2. The Ministry of Education, Government of Nepal has allocated office space for the office of the Secretariat for OUN initiative. It is expected that this office will be furnished and be in operation by February 10, 2010. Dr. Pramod Dhakal, Member-Secretary of the Steering Committee will be heading this office in Kathmandu. Consequently, the address of correspondence for OUN matter has now changed to: Open University of Nepal Initiative Secretariat, Ministry of Education, Keshal Mahal, Kathmandu, Nepal.
  3. On January 31, 2011, Athabasca University, a principal collaborator in the OUN initiative and our mentor on development of open and distance institution, has been awarded UNESCO/COL Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER). As the OER Chair, Dr. Rory McGreal, who is also Associate Vice-President of AU, will be responsible for promoting the use of OERs at the institutional, national and international levels, particularly in the developing world. Dr. Arbind Mainali and Mr. Mohanath Acharya, members Nepalese Canadian Society of Edmonton (NeCaSE), represented Nepali Diaspora in the UNESCO/COL Chair announcement ceremony organized in Edmonton in presence of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Government of Alberta.

  4. On January 11, 2011, Dr. Pramod Dhakal, Member-Secretary of the OUN Initiative Steering Committee, left Canada for Nepal to establish OUNI Secretariat in Kathmandu and to advance necessary legal, legislative, and execution agendas in Nepal. He is now operating from the Ministry of Education, Nepal. He handed over his other day to day activities as CFFN Executive Director to other CFFN executives.
  5. On January 07, 2011, a daylong planning meeting for OUN initiative was held in Ottawa, Canada. This meeting was jointly organized by Athabasca University, CFFN, and NRN-Canada. Divided into nine sessions, this meeting was filled with planning ideas and produced more than 80 pages long proceedings. This meeting was participated by a team of 34 attendees including Nepal Embassy team of Ambassador Dr. Bhoj Raj Ghimire and Minister Councilor Mr. Tara P Pokharel, 7 member Athabasca University team led by its President Dr. Frits Pannekoek, NRN-Canada team led by President Naba Raj Gurung, CFFN team Deputy-Director Dr. Govinda Dahal, Pilot Program lead Dr. Shiva Gautam, CFFN Advisor Mr. Terry Curtis, NRNA ICC representatives, and Steering Committee members Hon. Dr. David Kilgour, Dr. Mohamed Ally, Dr. Ambika Adhikari, Dr. Drona Rasali, Dr. Ishara Mahat, Dr. Kalidas Subedi, Dr. Mahabir Pun, Dr. Raju Adhikari, and Member-Secretary of the Steering Committee Dr. Pramod Dhakal.
  6. A high level meeting between Director Generals of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) officials and Vice President of Athabasca University, Ambassador of Nepal to Canada, and OUN Steering Committee was held on January 6, 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. This meeting participated by Ambassador Dr. Bhoj Raj Ghimire, Dr. Naresh Singh, Mr. Michael Jay, Mr. Sajjad Rahman, Mr. Stephem Potter, Dr. Pamela Walsh, and Dr. Pramod Dhakal, was very fruitful in understanding CIDA policies and in establishing areas of cooperation and modalities of cooperation between participating entities with regards to OUN initiative.
  7. On the first week of January, 2011, a team of scholars of CFFN deliberated on past statements made on vision, mission, goals, and values by OUN initiative and prepared a set of recommendations for the planning meeting of January 07, 2011. The recommendations are placed at the end of this update. We are actively seeking suggestions and inputs from all concerned individuals. Your suggestions may be sent to OUN Secretariat at ounsecretariat@gmail.com.
  8. Through a series of deliberation in December, 2010, CFFN has formed a number of teams in support of OUN initiative. These teams will collaborate with OUNI, Athabasca University, NRN-Canada and NRNA in advancing the research and cooperation agenda for OUN in Canada. The teams are led by Dr. Govinda Dahal.
  9. The fund-raising campaign for OUN organized by NRN-Oceania, mentioned in the last update, achieved exemplary success. This program organized on December 11, 2010 in Sydney, Australia received pledges exceeding $18,000. With this the Diaspora Nepalese pledge has exceeded $140,000. However, we have not actively engaged in fundraising in the last two months because we are addressing some higher priority tasks at the moment. However, OUN Resource Mobilization Committee led by Dr. Ambika Adhikari is to actively engage in fundraising any time soon. We encourage all OUN supporters to come and develop OUN Guilds in countries around the world and lead fundraising activities.
  10. Advisors and members of OUN Academic Committee actively interacted with each other in discussing the proposed academic programs for the Phase I of the OUN. The suggestions made during the discussion forum will be considered in finalizing the programs in consultation with Athabasca University.
  11. An “Initiative for Open University of Nepal Fundraising Event” is being held in Winnipeg, Canada. This event has been coordinated by Maiya Upreti, Member of the OUN Resource Mobilization Committee, and Chitra Pradhan, NRN-Canada NCC Vice President, in the month of March 2011. Further details about the event will be reported in the next update and through our website openu.cffn.ca.

We look forward to having all your active involvement to make this enormously significant project for Nepal a grand success. We look forward to having your continued collaboration, support and contributions.

Sincerely,

Pramod Dhakal
Member-Secretary, OUNI Steering Committee
with
Ambika Adhikari, Drona Rasali, Raju Adhikari, and Mahabir Pun

Vision, Mission, Goals and Values of OUN

Vision:

  • Ignite the spirit of learning for building a sustainable, intellectual, and prosperous society
  • Harnesses the intellectual potential and excellence of every human being through massification of learning

Slogan:

  • The University for All of Us
  • Let the Light of Knowledge Reach Everyone

Mission:

  • Missions of the Open University of Nepal are to:
    • take university to people’s homes and communities,
    • achieve excellence in delivery, research and innovation in lifelong learning,
    • bring marginalized people into the mainstream of education by removing barriers of distance, time, money, and readiness,
    • connect learners and their learning needs with global sources of knowledge.

Values:

  • Ethical values: These are the values that put limit to our actions and bind our ambitions. They set some boundaries that we would not cross at any cost. These are the values we must live by.
  • Equality: We practice inclusion, fairness and justice, and adhere to the principles of universally accessible public education by removing barriers for all in access to education
  • Honesty and respect: We earn credibility and trust through fair and transparent actions and mutual respect
  • Excellence: We are committed to be accountable to our words and actions and demonstrate excellence in them
  • Green: Our University will be one of the greenest institutions of higher learning in the world
  • Inspirational values: These are the values that give us inner fortitudes to cross all limits and reach new heights not reached before.
  • Learning: We aspire to build a society devoted to lifelong learning with insatiable curiosity
  • Creating: We aspire to create knowledge, skills and technologies, including exploration and utilization of indigenous know-how
  • Collaborating: We actively collaborate to provide best possible education and to innovate for better solutions
  • Quality: Our products, services and people will be internationally known for excellence in credibility, quality and reliability
  • Sharing: We value in translation and transfer of knowledge

Goals:

  • Current Fiscal Year 2011
    • Application for developing business plan – April 2011
    • Secretariat establishment – February 2011
    • Registration of the OUNI – February 2011
    • Website – April 2011
    • Secure Physical Facility – April 2011
    • Pilot Program Launch – October 2011
    • Comprehensive Business Plan – December 2011
  • Short Term (1-3 Years):
    • Completing the Foundation for OUN
    • Development of Comprehensive Business Plan
    • Fulfillment of legislative and administrative requirements
    • Building technological infrastructure for pilot program
    • Collaboration and partnership development
    • Channelization of Diaspora skills and knowledge
    • Pilot testing of currently available pedagogical tools, technologies, and academic programs
    • Accreditation, and exchange mechanisms with other partners
    • Building institutional operations capacity
    • Resource generation and mobilization (source identification, consortium building)
    • Awareness raising and marketing of programs
  • Medium Term (4-7 years):
    • Building nationwide technological infrastructure
    • Launching of fully functional degree awarding university
    • Refinement and redevelopment of methods, tools, technologies and programs based on pilot study outcomes
    • Channelization of Diaspora skills and knowledge
    • Collaboration and partnership development
    • Academic program development and accreditation for the pull fledged offerings
    • Resource mobilization
    • Building institutional operational capacity
    • Awareness raising and marketing of programs
  • Long Term (7 years +)
    • Making a fully sustainable world class university

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