Nepal’s Higher Education: Women Soaring in Academic Achievement

Nepali universities report a rise in female academic achievers. More women are winning medals across various subjects, with humanities leading the pack. This decade saw a significant increase in female enrollment, from 44% to 55%. Societal changes and increased access to education are believed to be the key factors.

Women Soaring in Academic Achievement

Tribhuvan University (TU) data shows a significant rise in female students achieving top academic positions over the past decade. This trend is evident in the increasing number of gold medals awarded to female graduates at TU’s convocation ceremonies.

In the last decade, 124 female students, from undergraduate to MPhil levels, secured gold medals across various faculties like management, humanities, education, law, and engineering.

The 49th TU convocation (held in Paush 2080) saw a majority of female students receiving gold medals. Narendramani Acharya Dixit Medal winner, Pushparaj Joshi (identified as female in this rewrite), attributed her success to hard work and expressed pride in her achievement.

Shifting Societal Attitudes and Increased Access

Joshi highlights several reasons behind this positive trend. Firstly, there’s a decrease in the number of men pursuing higher education, possibly due to outmigration for better opportunities. Secondly, societal and family mindsets have shifted, with parents encouraging daughters to pursue education beyond grade 12.

The data also reveals a subject-wise trend. Medals awarded in social sciences, particularly humanities, outnumber those in science and technology. Over the past decade, most medals were awarded in humanities (57), followed by management.

A Decade of Progress

The medal distribution records from TU convocation ceremonies (2069 BS – 2080 BS) showcase the rise in female academic excellence. In 2069 BS, only 8 female students received medals across various subjects. This number steadily climbed, reaching 15 in 2071 BS (including medals in science, management, humanities, education, law, and engineering).

The trend continued with fluctuations. While the number dipped to 7 in 2077 BS, it rose again to 11 in 2079 BS and 2080 BS. Medals were awarded in science, management, humanities, education, and law throughout this period.

Breaking Stereotypes and Embracing Opportunities

Sangeeta Rayamazhi, a professor at TU, acknowledges the changing social perspective on women’s education in Nepal. Previously, social sciences were considered a suitable field of study only for daughters-in-law. Now, parents are more supportive of their daughters pursuing higher education, recognizing its potential to enhance financial independence and contribute to the family’s well-being.

However, the time constraints faced by women due to household responsibilities limit their presence in science and technology fields. Despite this, the number of female students is rising in management, law, and other subjects beyond humanities.

Statistics Reflect a Positive Change

The University Grants Commission (UGC) data confirms the surge in female enrollment in higher education. In 2070 BS, women comprised 44% of the total student body (2,05,915 out of 4,58,621). By 2079/80, this percentage had risen significantly to 55.11% (3,19,337 out of 5,79,448).

“This is a positive change,” stated Professor Devraj Adhikari, chairman of UGC. He also noted the increasing number of female students pursuing management degrees.

Educationist Vidyanath Koirala emphasizes the combined effects of increased opportunities for women in higher education due to male outmigration and reservation policies. This, he believes, is contributing to a rise in the number of women not only enrolling in higher education but also excelling in their studies.

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