AITM News and Events >> U.S. Science Envoy Concludes STE4D Workshop

The U. S. Embassy & AITM conclude a workshop to develop Science, Technology & Engineering Framework to promote sustainable community development in Nepal.

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The U. S. Embassy’s Regional Environment Science Technology and Health (EST&H) Office for South Asia concluded its first Science Technology & Engineering for Development (STE4D) workshop in Nepal facilitated by U. S. Science Envoy Dr Bernard Amadei at the Asian Institute of Technology & Management (AITM), Khumaltar.

The STE4D workshop held during 6-7 February, 2014 brought in experts from educational, governmental, financial, private, and NGO sectors to develop an education/research/service framework that promotes sustainable development in Nepal. The workshop reviewed development issues in Nepal and how they are currently addressed by different constituencies (academia, industry, government, and NGOs). U.S. Science Envoy Dr Bernard Amadei led the workshop on behalf of the U.S. Embassy along with the facilitation of Mr. Barry Bialek, founder of Namsaling Community Development Center (NCDC), and Mr. Pramod Pradhan, director of AITM.

The workshop consisted of panel discussions and presentations, all of which can be found at http://goo.gl/ITyt0I.

Participants of the workshop involved experts from AITM, NCDC, Kathmandu University (KU), Tribhuwan University (TU), Pokhara University (PU), Open University (OU), Little Angels’ School (LAS), Nepal Education Foundation-Consortium of Colleges, Nepal (NEF-CCN), Institute of Crisis Management Studies (ICMS), Ministry of Science, Technology & Environment (MOSTE), Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), Nepal Academy of Science & Technology (NAST), National Planning Commission (NPC), Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS), Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD), Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Himalayan Climate Initiatives (HCI), WaterAid, Himanchal Education Foundation (HEF), Institute of Local Governance Studies (INLOGOS), Winrock, The Asia Foundation, MinErgy, Sahas Nepal, Center for Molecular Dynamics – Nepal (CMDN), Clean Energy Development Bank, Nepal Nature Dot Com, Brihat Constructions, Kathmandu Living Labs, Sun Power Norway, Base Camp Trek, Precon-Tek, Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations (FAO), International Centre for Integrated Mountaing Development (ICIMOD) and the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Significant outcomes of the workshop were as follows:

+ All constituencies agreed that the lack of retention of youth was one of the biggest hindrances for the development of Nepal. Participants affirmed that Nepal needed to create rewarding jobs, deliver practical education and encourage entrepreneurship on a policy level by cutting startup taxes in order to address this issue. It was also deemed important to train teachers into dynamic dialogical methodologies of teaching rather than the traditional monologue format Nepal has followed in the past.

+ Constituencies assessed the best practices of society and voted that collaboration among organizations was vital for development. One significant method of tackling collaboration included credited internships during university level to gap the lack of human resources in corporate sector and the delivery of the academia. Others included outreach, practical field work and inclusion of Non Residential Nepali (NRN) bodies. Post-workshop, AITM discussed the possibility of restarting Engineers Without Borders with the initiation of MinErgy: the program consists of engineering students taking up projects in rural areas whilst in their universities.

+ Primary hindrance of the academia was discovered to be the importation of western syllabuses without adaptation. Since the syllabus addresses problems in the west and not in Nepal, constituencies agreed that the syllabus should be redesigned to focus on the uniqueness of Nepal and be more problem-based and application oriented. Constituencies highlighted the importance of mixing mandatory and optional courses for the benefit of Nepali students and emphasized on opening up institutions to share more resources and receive resources such as international professors on sabbaticals. Academia parties showed willingness to accept direct input from private, government and NGO sectors to modify their curricula given that the government would support said modifications.

+ Constituencies, particularly the private sector expressed their disappointment in the existing human capacity and capital. The issue was assessed addressable through incorporate transparency, accountability and collaboration among disciplines in order to create life long learning.

+ The U. S. Embassy offered their location as the meet point where Dr. Amadei insisted that a task force should be created in order to plan of action in the next six months that included considering:

- Continuing education programs & certificate programs

- Internships and field practicum

- Indigenous engineering

- What Nepal can offer to the region

- ICIMOD’s Himalayan university

- Youth retention

- An information sharing platform online and offline

+ The task force included of:

- U. S. Embassy: Mr. Jay Pal Shrestha, Dr. Ari Nathan

- AITM: Mr. Pramod Pradhan, Prof. Dr. Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, Dr. Vishnu Prasad Pandey and Dr. Madhav Narayan Shrestha

- KU: Dr. Brijesh Adhikari and Dr. Hari Prasad Neopane

- TU: Dr. Ratna Mani Nepal

- PU: Mr. Surya Man Shakya

- OU: Dr. Pramod Dhakal

- AEPC: Dr. Govind Pokhrel

- MOEST: Dr. Som Lal Subedi, Mr. Govinda Prasad Kharel

- CMDN: Mr. Sameer Dixit

- Sahas Nepal: Mr. Sunil Thapa

- Minergy Initiatives: Ms. Liva Shrestha

- FoST: Mr. Sanu Kaji Shrestha

- NCDC: Dr. Barry Bialek and Mr. Bhupal Raj Khatiwada

- INLOGOS: Birendra Deoja

- ICT: Bhesh Raj Poudyal

- Kathmandu Living Labs: Nama Budhathoki

- Nepal Nature Dot Com: Mr. Rajendra Singh Suwal

- RIDI Hydropower: Mr. Kuber Mani Nepal

The STE4D Workshop is one of the first discussions to bring in experts from various sectors to address developmental issues of Nepal. The follow up is an action plan that created and STE4D framework to support sustainable community development in Nepal.

The event was covered by national dallies like Republica: http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=69175

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