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Social Science Research Context

Social Science Research Context

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Social Science Research Context

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  1. Social Science Research Context Envisioning a Social Science Research Council in Nepal - Stakeholder Consultation Workshop Rohit Kumar Nepali

  2. Context of Education in Nepal • Since 1990, various attempts have been made to advance education programmes • Educational management, quality, relevance and access are some of the critical issues of education • Partisan politicking and militant unionism of higher education are few of the serious problems • This has affected negatively on the environment of education • This has promoted the state of impunity and culture of violence in the education sector

  3. Context of Social Science Research • The advent of democracy in 1951 provided a space for producing social science knowledge through teaching and research • Currently Nepal has many researchers working in almost all branches of social sciences • But not many of these disciplines have strong academic or research foundation • Beside lack of funding there are many technical, social, political and financial problems • The lack of co-operation between researchers working in the same field • Social sciences research in the university is becoming neglected and marginalized

  4. Context of Social Science Research continues..... • The quest for money has led TU social scientists to work more in private campuses, NGOs and INGOs • There is void in the serious empirical social science researches and quality academic works • Commercialized education and consultancy research business seriously hampered the academic environment • The separation of research and teaching jobs and the existence of a degree of hostility between those working in research centres and others in teaching departments

  5. Major Research Institutions in Nepal • University Affiliated Research Institutes: • Tribhuvan University (TU): CEDA, CNAS, CDSA • Kathmandu University (KU): HNRS • TU is the biggest and oldest university with four research centres (CNAS, CEDA, RECAST and CERID) • Private Research Institutions • New ERA, NIDS, ShtriShakti; IPRD, NDRI, SAP Nepal, INSEC; MC, SSB, NSG, NEPAN; IIDS, JSTOR, NIPS, NREN

  6. Major Research Institutions in Nepalcontinues.... • Private institutions have some similarity in terms of actions and initiatives • However, there are differences in terms of their mission, operation and approaches • These are not academic research institutions • These social science research institutions are conducting survey, study, policy and action research • As the action research and policy advocacy institutes many of these institutions have their own libraries and run their own training courses

  7. Research Grants and Funds • Foreign aid provides 60% of the country’s budget. • The development plans, policy and practice, including lifelong learning policy and practice executed have failed to address counter poverty and social exclusion • Most of the northern and some developed Asian countries offer grants to Nepalese students for under graduation and graduation programs • These funds are channelled either through the Embassies or through the project grant/aid offices. • There are regional and international fund also available periodically to Nepali on a competition basis

  8. Research Grants and Funds continues...... • Donors have their own subject priorities and goals to support the research initiatives • However, most of the donors want to support for enhancing the capacity of southern research personnel and promote relationship among institutions of developing and developed countries • Lack of support to guide research institutions for developing a practical and effective course of actions • Need support for enhancing better understanding of the reality of the existing society, social dynamics and root causes of continuity of discriminatory practices, hierarchical social structure and traditional mindset • Comprehensive institutional development program is necessary

  9. Private viz a viz Public Research Institutions • Establishment of several private research centres in the form of private NGOs, centres and institutions- post 1990 • Broadly these can be categorized in terms of their nature of accountable management – private or public • These can be classified by its dedicated human resources, appropriate infrastructure, experience in conducting quality social science research, competency in producing and disseminating knowledge effectively and assured funding for the research • Nature of management has a direct relevance to the institution’s contribution for the social science sector.

  10. Private viz a viz Public Research Institutions continues..... • Considering the culture of Nepal, nature of management and leadership style of the institution determine the dynamism of the organization, scale of resource mobilization and its availability for sustaining the research efforts and its commitment towards the social science research. • Categories of organizations only in terms of research, advocacy and academic may not be the appropriate and sufficient parameters to make judgment about their qualitative output results • Private organizations and institutions have comparative advantage against public universities and institutions in terms of flexibility in making decisions for hiring the researchers, selection of research themes, disseminating knowledge and generating resources • However, in terms of secured funding assistance for the research & competent human resources public universities are more reliable

  11. Private viz a viz Public Research Institutions continues..... • These institutions have been playing varied role towards contributing in the social science sector through information and knowledge management • There are many examples of ups and downs of Nepali organizations irrespective of them being affiliated to private (I/NGOs) or public (government supported university) sector e.g. CEDA, CNAS, IIDS, New ERA etc. • These organizations have gone through the golden days, suffered setbacks and some of them have managed to come back to their original forms. • Private and NGOs involvement in the social science research has been beneficial in terms of • 1) opening a new horizon and perspective to analyse the social issues, • 2) breaking the boundary of confining to pure acadmeic researach and encompassing action research, and • 3) moving into evidence based advaocacy

  12. Comparative Advantages of Universities • Universities comprise academic courses and basics as well as applied research, and thus provides students with substantial interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of issues related to social science • Use of classroom lectures, case study analyses, field surveys, seminars, discussions and presentation • CNAS and CEDA of TU are the two institutes which are undertaking research in the social sciences • CDSA and NHRS are two strong departments promoting social science • Leading in debate, discussion and publication of social science researches in Nepal

  13. Challenges and Opportunities • Just a few university teachers made noteworthy contributions • Highly qualified picked up by the government and or by private consultancy offices • A visible conflict among University Social Science Departments and research institutions • It has promoted the commercialization, deteriorated the quality of outputs and enlarge the distance between the researchers and academicians • Promotion of social science research quality teaching should be integrated with research • Addressing Ngoizationa and politicization of academic and research institutions in Nepal

  14. Challenges and Opportunities continues...... • Power of knowledge has never received any respect • Money power and political/position power have attracted most of the academics and researchers from the universities and institutions • The continued brain drain from the universities to private institutions have been quite a challenge in terms of maintaining the quality and quantity of research works • To sustain itself the academic and research institutions have compromised on professional ethics and serious academic research • Private institutions have privilege of flexibility of decisions due to their autonomous status and time bound projects with attractive financial package to work at the hard core areas of social issues

  15. Challenges and Opportunities continues...... • Concerted effort to bridge the gaps of unhealthy competitions between these two groups of institutions. • Self proclaimed egos of need to be balanced to churn out best qualities of both • Lifelong learning policy and practices to be made inclusive, bottom up, participatory and contextualised to match with the local context for protecting the interests of the marginalized

  16. Culture of Bureaucracy in Nepal • Bureaucrats theoretically no longer remained the masters but the servants of the people • Peculiar and ancient type of bureaucratic system carried over from the cultural practices and hierarchical mindset • The principles of Chakari, Chugli and Chaplusi continued • The notion of Afno Manche culture still dominated the bureaucracy, civil and political sector

  17. Politicization of Bureaucracy • The civil and bureaucratic system is • being politicized • indiscipline increased • trade unions multiplied • mistrust developed • The bureaucrats gradually converted themselves into party cadre to sustain themselves in the power positions • Unstable political situation, poor governance and dysfunctional rule of law with the constant change of political leadership in the power positions of governance created confusion in the bureaucracy

  18. Non Performing System • The Nepali bureaucracy is not only policy implementation agency but also possess characteristics to support the ruling authority by all means for their survival • Bureaucratic structure has hierarchies with limited delegation and rules that are defined in terms of responsibility but not in terms of task • Considering the absence of rule of law, unstable political governance and politicization of the system, bureaucratic make compromises to retain their positions • The culture of AfnoManche on one hand has benefitted many civil servants for accomplishing personal gain but has de-motivated some sincere and committed bureaucrats • Bureaucracy is known to be potentially competent but non-performing since it is generally demoralized because of low salary, unattractive incentives and limited career opportunities

  19. Challenges • To establish and sustain the independence, professionalism and autonomy of an institution - Council for Social Science Research (CSSR) • To seek political commitment of the government, avoid politicization and ensure long term financial assistance • To attain credibility, maintain equal and balanced functional distance between the major stakeholders and draw regular flow of resources • To develop a “functional plan” by defining the concept, system and actions for maintaining autonomy, professionalism and sustainability of the envisaged council

  20. Thanks