Tribhuvan University, the oldest university in Nepal, has called for merger applications from its affiliate colleges owing to a decline in student enrollment. The move comes as dozens of colleges struggle to sustain themselves due to low student numbers.

The University Grants Commission has previously warned about the decreasing student numbers and suggested mergers as a solution. In a comment to Aawaaj News, Prof. Dr. Dhurba Kumar Gautam – Director, Office of the Planning Directorate at Tribhuvan University – has stated that merging colleges will benefit the students.

“When colleges decide to form mergers, it is similar to any other mergers we see happening; like banks and private companies. It will create a larger institution whose capacity to intake students will increase, thus making a bigger and more sustainable option for education.”

A report revealed that over 50% of all colleges under 12 different universities in Nepal have fewer than 200 students each. Factors contributing to the decline in student numbers include an increase in students pursuing higher education abroad, a low pass rate in grade 12 examinations, and misconceptions about the quality of education in Nepal.

The students have repeatedly shown concerns about their future, attributing the decline to universities’ failure to follow the academic calendar and excessive politicization.

However, college managers express that many colleges provide quality education at lower costs compared to international counterparts. The university’s call for mergers seeks to address these challenges and ensure the sustainability of educational institutions in Nepal.