Not many in Nepal would deny knowing a thing or two about Tribhuvan University—this afterall, is the oldest and the largest of the Universities in Nepal. Every year tens of thousands of students from all across the country get enrolled in Tribhuvan University or affiliated colleges to pursue their higher education and those who pass the exam stand long hours in queue to submit the forms for their transcripts—me being one of those students this year.
Earlier this year, after having cleared my exams and the results being announced, like any other diligent student, I filled up the form and submitted it in the specific department. They took my form and other credentials (as required) and gave me a receipt saying that I could collect my transcript after two weeks. Two weeks later I went there as I was asked to—and 8 months hence, I still haven’t gotten my transcript. Why this happened has got to do with a few concerns that I have raised as follows:
1. Disastrous management
On any given day, one or the other important person is always absent in TU’s Balkhu office—“the Sir who’s supposed to sign this hasn’t come”, they say. I ask, “Will he come today?” “Don’t know”, they reply. And believe me, I was naïve enough to inquire if they had a human resource department and as you might have guessed they had no clue if they did. Such defines their ‘everyday’—I know because there was a time when I went there everyday! And the story doesn’t end with the management of Human Resource.
2. They are plain rude
I know that work pressure usually gets the best of us all—the University caters to thousands of students and each individual staff has to deal with a lot but that doesn’t give the officials the right to be rude of any student. As an institution that was set up to help students, they should stick to doing just that. But they don’t—you ask them a genuine question and nobody will be willing to answer. If you start asking for rationalization you are in for some very-very rude comments.
P.S. navigating the TU structure wasn’t engraved in our D.N.A and we are not sorry to ask questions when the answers shape up our lives.
3. Who’s responsible?
The whole place is mayhem—I have been there endless times in the last eight months and have been to every room and climbed every stair hundreds of time—enough to know that there’s no knowing who the person responsible for what is. One person sends you to the other, the other sends you to yet another and it continuous endlessly; until you finally decide to give up and seek for better opportunities abroad.
In my case, after the given fifteen days passed I showed up at the window and asked for my transcript and nobody responded (I wasn’t taking to the walls, there were 4 individuals in the room and from the way one of them was munching popcorns and chatting away with the rest, I took it for granted that they could otherwise talk). For some reason, after having waited for a while, one of them said, “We can’t give you your transcript”. Curious, I asked why and they went back to the silent treatment. I kept on asking and after what seemed like an eternity, I was asked to talk to the ‘Sir’ of that department and so I did likewise. And this ‘SIR’ wouldn’t tell me why he’d decided to not give me my transcript and like a parrot he endlessly said, “I can’t; I can’t; I can’t…” I took a deep breath and asked again, “Why? If you decide to not give me my papers, you should at least tell me why that’s being done”, and yet the same response. He was a dead end.
Over the duration of time, I went to that place end number of times—talked to almost all departments—nobody had an answer. In their defense, all of them repeated in some practiced tone, “We don’t know what specific law there is, but there should be one.” (Where—Out there in the wild; in some imaginative dimension?)
4. Accountability isn’t their cup of tea, either
So in my case, this man in the transcript department who wasn’t even ready to name himself knowing all too well that he’d wronged me, in the last meeting (first week of November) quite bluntly said that I haven’t even filled the form and the department did not have the stack of paper I submitted in April (luckily for me, I had the receipt they stamped). And then when I forced him to talk to his higher officials who pretty much knew that I had all rights to get the transcript, he shamelessly said, “I have never seen this girl before today”. Nothing will ever beat his lie!
What was hilarious was that after having disappeared from his office, he came with a piece of paper and said that according to that particular piece of paper, I am not eligible for getting my transcript. I inquired that he show me a paper and he said, “T.U’s internal document—can’t show it to a student”. He wouldn’t even let me touch that paper and I would never know what was written in there.
Quite honestly, if my fate is decided on the basis that piece of paper, I should know why. Then I said, as a student who has been wronged, I can sue them (there’s already a case running against them) and then they came up with a long list of other excuses—finally giving up and saying after a month I could go and collect what they should have given to me eight months ago!
From April, 2014 to November, 2014 I’ve been to that place so many times that I’ve lost count and quite frankly, I am beyond tired and yet nobody ever gave me an answer as to what exactly the problem was—from what I know, I am legally eligible to take my transcripts and it is only because of delay from their part that have cost me the bar exam this year; other transactional costs—well, I have lost track!
I know this scenario is not the most generalist of observations—many have refrained from even talking about it. During all this time, I was not the only student to have suffered—there were countless others. And I hope there was a respite for us all. For starters, perhaps what we need is to stand up against the mammoth system that thinks that being students puts us in a disadvantaged state from where we can’t even imagine putting up a fight. Well, about time this changes!
Krishnan holds dual degrees--in law and sociology. Currently, she works as a Research Associate at Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation.