Academic freedom, the freedom of teachers and students to teach, study, and pursue knowledge and research without unreasonable interference or restriction from law, institutional regulations, or public pressure. Its basic elements include the freedom of teachers to inquire into any subject that evokes their intellectual concern; to present their findings to their students, colleagues, and others; to publish their data and conclusions without control or censorship; and to teach in the manner they consider professionally appropriate. For students, the basic elements include the freedom to study subjects that concern them and to form conclusions for themselves and express their opinions (Encyclopaedia, Britannica).
To talk about academic freedom, i remember a teacher punishing a student in answering a question in different words arrangement as was written by the teacher. I was 10 at the time, when I took the issue to the principle to have the right to answer the question in my own words. I was heard. However, this is not a single point where teacher compel students to memorize their words and try to jail the students in the name of discipline.
The talk to academic freedom in Nepal should be started from the access to school, reaching to school, choosing academics and taking class while the world is talking about the international freedom of academics. Academic Freedom is a far talk in Nepal where there is no basics of academic freedom i.e. freedom of choice in academics. Reports illustrate no formal restriction in Nepal. However, I come to the point there is also no formal academic freedom in Nepal. Government has felt necessity to announce no strike to Dairy Vehicles, but not the academic institution vehicles.
It is however pitiful when the academic institutions, students and teachers themselves go for strike for months disturbing the study schedules and schedules of exam as well. Many of the times a 4 year course takes 6 years to complete because of the strikes and several postponing of the exam schedules. Tribhuvan University is the university where one should always reconfirm if there is strike or not, before having a visit.
No legal restriction in academia does not mean we have no restriction. Social restriction have become more prominent to the context of freedom of choice in academics as well as freedom to study in academic institutions. Academic Institutions are open but the tutor cannot reach the college because of strike. Students cannot reach their college because of strike. Students reach to exam center and notice that the exam has post-pond.
So are we having academic freedom in Nepal?
By Anuj Niroula