Problems have always plagued Tribhuvan University (TU), the oldest university in Nepal. It has issues with its politics, infrastructure, management, background and the list goes on.
Lately, a new problem has appeared: its inns. Most of the hostels for students who come from distant countries are in a sorry state and considered unlivable. Those that are habitable are occupied by those not studying, leaving those in need to seek more expensive options elsewhere.
The weight of the earthquake
There are four blocks each for male and female students. Currently, two of the blocks of Tribhuvan University Girls Hostel are being used by Lalit Kala Campus and Kirtipur Eye Hospital respectively under a temporary contract after the 2015 earthquake. However , no replacement building has been allocated for these occupied blocks. As a result, many genuine students who come to Kathmandu to fulfill their dream of pursuing higher education do not enjoy the facilities of university hostels.
Before the 2015 earthquake, there were 55 students in these two blocks of hostels, says Sarala Luitel, the hostel manager. The building was handed over to the eye hospital after an agreement between TU central office and Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS), said Dhyanendra Rai, director of central campus of Tribhuvan University.
The Lalit Kala campus was moved to the girls’ hostel after its building in Bhotahiti was damaged by the earthquake. Also, once the process of rebuilding the Lalit Kala campus is complete, it will immediately move out of the hostel blocks, Rai says.
Rai says the same condition also applies to the eye hospital.
Similarly, the other two hostel blocks of Tribhuvan University were affected by the earthquake, but a new building was constructed to replace them. This new building has a capacity of about 100 students. However, the TU Service Commission uses it because its building was also affected by the earthquake.
According to hostel manager Jhupa Kumari Budathoki, the two blocks had a capacity of about 90 students. But, currently, there are 70 students in these blocks because some rooms cannot be used due to the earthquake.
Bandana Sharma, a student at the girls’ hostel, says: “The hostel blocks should be for female students only. The affected hostel blocks should be immediately rebuilt and provided to students.
“If the new buildings that were supposed to be hostels were delivered, the students would benefit. For a student, staying in a hostel and studying is a different experience. I think it’s very productive.
Boys’ homes also have similar problems.
“Building B was totally affected by the earthquake while the other remaining buildings are also in a dilapidated state,” says hostel manager Narayan Timalsena.
The Nepalese and Indian governments have already signed an agreement to rebuild Building B, Rai informs. Responsibility for reconstruction now rests with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Captured by non-students
However, the condition of the building is not the only problem at Tribhuvan University Boys’ Home. Students inform that their hostels are captured even by non-students.
“Those who have already graduated stay here. They should have left the hostel immediately after graduation, but they are reluctant and the administration cannot do anything about them,” says one of the students on condition of anonymity.
“They have strong political support and the university can’t do anything against them.”
The cost of living in the hostel is Rs 4,224 per year. Since it’s so cheap, those who graduate are reluctant to leave the hostel.
“Recently, when a hostel attendant asked these non-students to leave, they had a fight,” says another student asking to remain anonymous. “These non-students are not only using hostel space, but also disenfranchising genuine students.”
However, the manager of the hostel says that the issue of non-students staying there has already been resolved.
“No non-students stay in the hostels,” says Timalsena. “Some students share such false information just to show their disappointment with the hostel management.”
Similarly, students also complain about waste management. They say the hostels at Tribhuvan University do not have proper facilities for waste management and the toilets need maintenance.
According to Timalsena, there are currently 220 students in three blocks of men’s hostels at Tribhuvan University. Every year, the hostels receive an application of 300 students, but due to limited space, the university can only accommodate 75.