Nathm on the move
A lecture note on promoting NATHM as an autonomous institution in hospitality studies in Nepal. Why can't we promote NATHM as a specialized University?
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nathm on the move
PROMOTING NATHM AS AN AUTONOMOUS INSTITUTION FOR HOSPITALITY
STUDIES IN NEPAL: A PERSONAL DISCOURSE
Dr Chandra P Rijal, PhD in Educational Leadership
Specialist in Education and Management Sciences
In the recent years there has emerged a new trend of development and promotion of more applied
higher education sectors almost in every country thereby promoting education, research and
development, and institutional transformation through more specialized and narrowly focused
institutional systems promoted as autonomous institutions having equivalent to university status.
Such specialized sector-wise areas of development in the national context of Nepal may include i.
tourism and hospitality management, ii. snow and water resources management, iii. agriculture and
agricultural recreation management, iv. natural resource management, v. public planning and
governance, vi. public health, medicine and healthcare management, vii. management of
information and technology, viii. polytechnic studies, ix. rural development studies, and x.
international relations, justice and human rights promotion.
Greater emphasis is required on tourism, water and agriculture these three sectors are the gift of
nature and most of input resources are either naturally gifted or can be developed with less cost
from the sustainability point of view. On the other hand, such an institutional development would
have depth impact for multi-sectoral development since the establishment of one such institution
serves as a gateway for the establishment and sustainable promotion of several other institutions
that are dependent on core or augmented products or services of these sectors. In fact, tourism,
hydropower production and agriculture development would serve as the backbone of this country’s
For this all what we require is a long-term shared vision, national commitment, public-private
collective efforts, and defined priority of the country on its agenda of development. Best education,
leveraged transportation facilities and widened communication system serve as the key
infrastructure required for the overall development of any place or a country. In fact, very fast
development of China, South Korea, Singapore and HongKong are the best examples of such
transformation in Asia by promoting these three drivers of socio-economic development. Among
these three requisites too, development of education should be regarded as the primary driver as it
leverages wisdom, liberation, envisioning, empowerment, commitment, conceptual and technical
competence and leadership strength required for ideation, planning, development and promotion of
rest of sectors.
For example, establishment of Kathmandu University as a new model in Nepalese higher education
did not only brought forth a new era in Nepalese higher education, but also contributed significantly
in transforming the socio-economic status of the localities nearby its main location in Dhulikhel and
across the country. Hundreds of foreign students have been obtaining their technical higher
education every year from Kathmandu University. In this respect, Nepal has become a source
country for delivering higher education, especially in the area of general medicine and surgery,
biotechnology and water management. Promotion of Dhulikhel Hospital to such an extent would
have been almost impossible in absence of its linkage with Kathmandu University. We should be
proud that not only thousands of Indian, but also many Canadian, English and American graduates
have already obtained world class education from Kathmandu University.
Similarly, Nepal has a number of its nature gifted potentials and opportunities yet to be cashed on in
the international communities. The Great Himalayas, rivers, lakes, forests, arts and crafts, cultures,
customs, traditions and many similar entities may be of more interest for international community
than what we have materialized as of date so far. A system of promoting systematic studies,
research and more exploration would definitely serve instrumental in materializing the value of
these opportune areas, mostly granted in the forms of socio, geo and demographic gifts.
So, What Needs be Done?
The first and foremost thing we need to act upon is to identify, recognize and prioritize the available
sustainable opportunities that we can go on utilizing and cashing on for long run. Providing a
worldclass hospitality experience in the nature-gifted setting could be a strategic proposition for
hundreds of years down to our future generations. For this, we need to standardize our services both
at institutional as well as service delivery level at par with international practices and benchmarks.
Sooner or later, we need to pin-pointedly identify and address for such a proposition on sectoral
development. Policy deregulation, global mainstreaming, positive reinforcement to the early actors,
hands on research and innovation support to the institutions specializing in hospitality sector, and
wider publicity of each initiative have become the imperative tasks today.
How to Move Ahead Then?
Among many solutions available, the core strategy should be aimed at establishing mega resources
covering higher education, transportation and communication systems with priorities for guiding the
rest of socio-economic transformation missions. Here, I would like to stress on one dimension
among these three, i.e., promoting the hospitality the first priority with the great Himalayan touch.
For this, we need to have an authenticated and universally recognized institution to take all this
ownership. The idea could be establishing an autonomous institution to provide advocacy, system
standards, education, research, publication, training and rest of developmental support so that Nepal
could be promoted as a main tourism destination for rest of the world communities.
Such an institution should be established and promoted with a mandate equivalent to a university
but should be restricted to be operating all services by its own without providing any affiliation to
avoid any unwanted and vested political influence, which has already spread as an ugly disease
The structural headquarters should be located in Kathmandu and operating units should be
developed on needs and local capacity basis in different places. For example, snow studies can be
promoted from Khumjung Valley, whereas the study about Nepalese indigenous culture and
customs may be better promoted from Jumla. Agriculture, forestry and water-based recreational
studies may be promoted from Chitwan and Bardia. Similarly, Karnali region may be targeted for
education, research and innovation related to water resources. Bhaktapur may provide with natural
setting for art and crafts studies whereas Pokhara would serve as the best location for hotel
management. Sauraha may have tremendous potential in touristic events management studies.
These are only a few examples. Depth studies are required to identify and determine such prospects.
The centers located in different places should be developed and promoted as a public private
partnership proposition under the umbrella of National Institute of Hospitality Management
(NIHM), or something like this, by expanding the institutional system and functional coverage of
the present Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Management (NATHM).
The core products on offer of such an institution should include education, research, professional
development, institutional development and publications linked to hospitality. Areas linked to
hospitality need be revisited time again based on newer developments in the sector. For this too, we
need to conduct a number of scientific inquiries.
It has become already late to take relevant action to promote this very crucial sector of the country
as one of the pillars for socio-economic transformation leading the overall national development.
Moving ahead swiftly and sharply with more discussions, carrying out many research initiatives,
opening a number of dialogues with relevant stakeholders, and wider publications would help make
it easier for realization of national policy makers in this respect.
Does the structural and functional mandate of the present NATHM allow all these initiatives? This
is the first and biggest question facing the reform and promotion of NATHM as the ultimate
institution providing leadership for hospitality sector development in Nepal and south Asian region,
at large. But it is possible, quite possible, and also quite important… for which we all need to step
ahead, together with commitment and Truthful Commitment for development.