Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Skill, Knowledge and Innovation Exchange – A Challenge on New Frontier

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 30, 2010


Nepalnews

NRNA has now stepped into Knowledge investment areas in an effort to help transform Nepal to a knowledge based country. NRNA has recognised that Nepal’s prosperity hinges in investment in education, science, technology, and human resources development as much as it does in trade and investment.

BY DR. RAJU ADHIKARI

NRNA (Non-resident Nepali Association) has come a long way since its inception six years ago. It is now recognised for its significant role, commitment and contributions that it has made to Nepal in these short span of six years. Dual citizenship, increased level of remittance back home and uniting the Nepalese communities globally have been the primary tasks that NRNA has been, successful though in a modest way. NRN movement as such, is now ready to embark on new projects that seek to help address Nepal’s long term prosperity. After many discussions and exchanges of ideas, NRNA has now stepped into Knowledge investment areas in an effort to help transform Nepal to a knowledge based country. NRNA has recognised that Nepal’s prosperity hinges in investment in education, science, technology, and human resources development as much as it does in trade and investment.

In the last global conference held in Kathmandu in October, 2009, NRNA had presented its theme paper on “Knowledge Investment: NRN New Option for Nepal” and Distance education. In the conference, NRNA declaration emphasized on the significance of knowledge investment and commitment in this area. Following the declaration, NRN ICC decided, at its 22nd meeting on 20th December 2009, to establish a task force on “Skills, Knowledge and Innovation (SKI) Exchange” and entrusted following members in the task force team Dr Raju Adhikari (Chair) Dr Pramod Dhakal, Dr. Drona Rasali, Dr Ambika P. Adhikari, Dr Kamal Adhikari, Dr Krishna P Sharma- and Tribhuan Shrestha. The Task Force now has been expanded.

The Task force endeavours to achieve its objective by uniting skill and knowledge and by harnessing the capacity and experiences of NRN by working alongside the S&T organisations and professionals in Nepal, through the flagship project scheme in education, S&T, Health and Environment areas.

The 1st TF meeting held on Jan 3, 2010 proposed to launch task force activities in four major theme areas 1) Professional Skills Inventory and Mentoring 2) NRN Open University for education access in remote areas 3) S&T Investment and 4) Health Initiative. The Following projects have been identified under above 4 major themes viz; a) Skills directory b) Professional mentoring program c) Remote education through E-Library initiatives d) Access to higher education for remote areas and disadvantaged people e) Short term skills education f) Science for the People g) Biotechnology growth partnership h) Health/Medical knowledge transfer. TF has sought an expression of interest from all NCC chapters globally to join the TF and STF groups and has sent invitation letters. An outline proposal in the above the above areas have been sent to NCC presidents in all 52 country chapters; seeking an expression of interest and feedback. The TF team has also approached NCC separately on project basis to expedite this process of team building.

The STF team have already commenced the work and project concept proposals have been developed. The team is now engaged in networking with S&T organisations globally and in Nepal to discuss these project proposals and explore possible collaborations and funding. The team is also consulting NCC to develop appropriate mechanism to execute these projects. The TF will submit the quarterly project progress report to NRN ICC and also place in the SKI link (under progress) in NRN website for access to the wider community. The TF/STF team members will also share progress reports at regional meetings, NCC conferences and on any appropriate occasions.

On the eve of NRN 4th Regional Conference in Houston, USA, SKI task force in conjunction with Canada Foundation for Nepal (cffn) had organised a day-long workshop of 28th of May, 2010 titled “Distance Learning and Access to Education in Nepal”. The workshop’s focus was on education, especially the establishment of an Open University in Nepal. The SKI task force strongly believe that such a platform is absolutely necessary to allow education access to rural, remote and marginalized population and skills training through distance education to the disadvantaged and potential migrant population. A number of key note and invited speakers had delivered their presentations and shared their experience and ideas in this session. In another session, the workshop focused discussion in S&T, Health and Environment areas. NRN has now endorsed the establishment of Open University (OU) and Science Foundation (SF) as flagship projects. For the Open University, a Steering Committee (OUSC) comprising of 11 members has been formed to take the recommendation of the workshop for further action. For Science Foundation the formation of committee is in progress. The proceeding of the workshop along with workshop resolution will be published soon.

The SKI is in the process of forming an Advisory committee, comprising of stakeholders in Nepal and from overseas to help forge a strong linkage between NRN and Nepal in order to meet the TF objectives. SKI has already received encouraging reply in this regard. The SKI network and approach are summarised schematically in Figure 1.

SKI Task Force expects following outcomes in due course.

Figure: SKI networking approach

Flagship project proposals in theme areas identified, synthesised and approved for follow up with internal and external sources for possible collaboration and funding

Education flagship project of the Open university launched and educational program commenced

SKI flagship projects in S&T, Health and Environment areas commenced

Strong networking and partnership among NRN community and S&T stakeholders in Nepal established

A comprehensive skills database of NRNs, Nepal professionals and stakeholders prepared and used for SKI purpose

A global NRN program for professional mentoring among Nepalese globally up and running

A road map to establish the NRN Science Foundation (NSF) commenced

SKI website launched

SKI is an ongoing mission and the foundation laid down in the first two years is very critical to the ultimate success of the SKI and achieve the long term objectives. SKI also envisages playing a proactive role on important issues such as climate change and technology transfer and helping Nepal Government in policy formulation.

In the past few months since its inception, the Task force has come a long way and achieved significant milestone in setting the direction and road-map action plan. We have been impressed by the passion, zeal enthusiasm, commitments and innovative ideas of the team members and are confident that this task force is capable of delivering it promises and will play a critical role to help Nepal transformation to a knowledge based nation. NRNSKIT team would like to take this opportunity to convey sincere thanks to NRN ICC president Dev Man Hirachan, Chief Patron Upendra Mahato, patron council members, NRN ICC members, Regional coordinators, NCC Presidents and the community for their initiative and commitment to the TF. SKI would like to invite everyone to join the team and bring along their innovative ideas and experience to help the task force achieve its objectives.

(Dr Adhikari is the chair, Skill Knowledge and Innovation (SKI) Exchange Task Force set up by the NRN Association. )

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