Kathmandu University (KU) is one of the oldest universities in Nepal founded in 1991 in accordance with the Kathmandu University Act. It is a public university in the outskirts of Kathmandu valley situated in the hills of Dhulikhel municipality. Its motto is ‘Quality Education for Leadership’ which it has been successfully fulfilling over the years. Today, it is one of the renowned universities in South Asia with thousands of graduates working all across the world. Its output has been found as equally competitive and competent in the field of research, technology, communication, teamwork, leadership and global compatibility as the graduates from globally recognized universities. There is good coordination and cooperation among staff, faculty members and students resulting in peaceful and efficient operations and management within the university and its affiliated institutions.
Talking about the infrastructure, Kathmandu University is known for its well-constructed faculty buildings, laboratories, lecture halls, library, students’ residence and greatly considered availability of necessary amenities. It is spread over a large area of 35518 square meters with transportation facilities for students to travel from their hostels to classrooms and workplaces. There are altogether seven schools and campuses in Dhulikhel, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur associated with Kathmandu University. In addition, it has acquired Dhulikhel hospital to aid medical studies and facilitate students from different faculties with practical knowledge and experience. Recently, Kathmandu University Technical Training Centre has been established with a mission to train students to advance the country’s manufacturing sectors, with a particular focus on automobiles, motorbike, carpentry, welding and machining. The university offers undergraduate, graduate as well as post graduate studies in different fields. There are seven faculties in Kathmandu University – medical science, engineering, law, arts, education, management and science. Students can also learn about any other subject they’re interested in besides their course by joining clubs which include society of music and culture, robotics club, geomatics engineering society, architecture students’ association, model united nations club and others.
The School of Medical Sciences (KUSMS) and the School of Engineering have the highest number of students. They are present in the university premises, unlike other schools that have affiliated colleges around the nation. School of Engineering currently runs undergraduate and graduate-level courses mostly in Electrical and Electronics, Mechanical, Computer, Civil and Geomatics Engineering. It has also recently launched Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Architecture. The School of Science is currently conducting classes in B.Sc. Human Biology, Environmental Science and Engineering, Bio-Technology, and Applied Physics. Chemical Engineering, BSc nursing in Midwifery, and Bachelors in Physiotherapy is the recent addition to the list of the subjects being offered by Kathmandu University to students in Nepal for the first time.
Within a time span of 15 years, Kathmandu University has built not only reasonable infrastructure, but also established a track record of academic excellence. The academic programs of the University are based on a credit-semester system with continuous internal evaluations. The University has adopted a 1 to 10 teacher–student ratio. However, Kathmandu University is very cautious in recruitment of every single faculty or non-teaching staff. The academic calendar of minimum 230 days is strictly adhered to and admission of students is based on merit, based on their score in the previous examination and written and oral entrance tests. Every School has its own Teacher Welfare Society, Student Welfare Council and Staff Welfare Society. The Executive Board is composed of members elected by teachers and students for the welfare of their community. Quality control is strictly followed in all programs of the university. In addition, to continually enhance the educational standard, Kathmandu University has been successfully collaborating with more than fifty universities and institutions of international repute for faculty and students exchange programs, credit transfer and joint research work and exchange information. This has helped Kathmandu University to establish itself well in the world community.
The apex body of the University is the Senate. It comprises University authorities, dignified educationists, government secretaries, donors, mayors of local municipalities, teacher representatives, student representatives, and representatives from affiliated institutions and industries. The Prime Minister, who is the Chancellor of the University, chairs the Senate. The Minister of Education is the Pro-Chancellor. The Executive Council and Academic Council develop internal policies and programs to run the University. The University’s Board of Trustees, which comprises renowned personalities including the founding fathers, is entrusted with the responsibilities of advising long-term plans and generating and managing of resources.
Kathmandu University plans to establish thousands of restricted funds for specific purposes such as named scholarships, students’ financial assistance, support the University’s mission, support the costs of a named facility, research and development, faculty development or as specified by the donor, namely endowment funds. They are considered as a measure of an institution’s long term strength and they are essential for Kathmandu University to remain a leading university in the future. Endowment funds ensure that the future generations will enjoy the excellence of Kathmandu University in the years to come.
The funds consist of institutional and memorial grants along with Kathmandu University’s contribution and they are invested in fixed income instruments. The funds are then used to fund salaries, scholarships and awards to students, research activities, faculty development and university infrastructure. The endowment fund related issues are to be governed by Kathmandu University’s Endowment Fund Establishment and Operations Directives,2019. The directive has set Rs 1 Crores (later reduced to Rs. 2 million in 2021) as a minimum requirement for establishing an endowment fund. The principal of each fund is not expendable and only 50% of the investment earnings may be expended on meeting the purpose of the fund while the other 50% is to be reinvested to maintain the fund’s principal.
Kathmandu university can attain long-term financial sustenance and institutional development with the help of endowment funds. Endowment fund revenue can become a reliable source of revenue for smooth administrative operations of the university. This could help Kathmandu University grow its academic programs, recruit the best faculties, build infrastructure and also strengthen its research and innovation. This could enable the university to fund more scholarships for students as well as faculties, fellowships and various other opportunities for both students and staff. Moreover, it would be an important source of revenue to grow as well as survive difficult situations and crises.
Kathmandu University envisions becoming a world-class university devoted to bringing knowledge and technology to the service of mankind. It is a benchmark for academic excellence and educational infrastructure in Nepal. With over 140 academic programs across 7 schools, Kathmandu University has produced more than 30,000 graduates over the years. It recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. The university is expected to gather more public attention and support and carry on the legacy in the coming decades.