July 20, 2024, Saturday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

NATHM has maintained South Asian standard in producing tourism related manpower

The Nepal Weekly
August 22, 2023

(Nepal Academy of Hotel Management (NATHM) established as a training institute in 1982 has recently completed its 50th anniversary. NATHM is the first institute of Nepal to provide training and academic courses in the area of tourism and hotel management. However, it has been converted into an academic institution under the Tribhuvan University in 1999. During the period of 50 years of its service, NATHM has so far produced 60,000 manpower related to travel and tourism. Ajaya Dhakal, has been working as head of department, Travel and Research Department at NATHM. He has been involved in various types of trainings and academic prograrmmes related to tourism sector in NATHM for the past 24 years. He has also served as the supervisor of the BTTM programme in this institution. Here are excerpts of an encounter with Dhakal pertaining to various activities being carried out by NATHM, its current status as well as challenges facing the institution. The institution located at Ravibhawan, Kathmandu spreads over 29 ropanis of land and it has a full-fledged kitchen, a library, a sports ground and a conference hall as well as a standard hotel for practical classes. It has two separate parts: academic and administrative buildings. The institution has recently built a climbing wall for students enrolled under trekking courses. Besides the 20 bed old hotel complex, the institution also has an 88 bed 4 Star hotel under construction.)

TNW: Will you please give an introduction of NATHM to our readers ?

Ajaya Dhakal: NATHMwas established in 1982 at the initiative of Nepal Government with the support from ILO and UNDP. NATHM has recently celebrated its 50 th anniversary. Its the oldest organiation involved in producing human resources in tourism sector in Nepal. Till now this organization organization has produced more than 60,000 manpower including trekking guide, tour guide, river guide, BHM and BTTM. The manpower produced by NATHM are not only engaged in various tourism related organizations within the country but are also involved in various organizations abroad. NATHM is an academic institution established under Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, government of Nepal. In the beginning it was formed as a training centre. But since 1999 when we started academic prograrmmes it has been operating as academic institution under the government of Nepal. Tourism Ministry’s secretary will be the chairman of the board of directors in the NATHM. Some representatives of tourism related organizations such as HAN, TAN, NATTA automatically become members of the board. NATHM has been operating academic courses by acquiring affiliation with the Tribhuvan University. At the same time, it is also running various training courses independently.

TNW: Will you shed light on its contribution towards producing manpower needed for Nepal’s tourism sector in Nepal ?

Ajaya : NATHM was established in 1982 as a training centre to produce manpower required for Nepal’s tourism sector. NATHM started academic programme only in 1999. We introduced Bachelor in Hotel Management (BHM) by acquiring affiliation from the Tribhuvan University. After four years in 2003 we introduced 4 years course under BTTM (Bachelor in Travel and Tourism) with the affiliation of TU. We then started Masters’ in Hospitality Management (MHM) course in 2011. With this we are running three academic programmes, BHM, BTTM and MHM. Two of the courses are Bachelor’s Level courses and one is Masters’ Level course. Both BHM and BTTM are four years courses while MHM is two years’ course.

TNW: What about practical classes ?

Ajay: We provide both theoretical and practical courses. In BHM we provide both theoretical and practices courses side by side. We have our own kitchen, where the students can learn practical lessons. We impart knowledge about Indian, Chinese, Nepali and Continental menu to the students in the real kitchen atmosphere. The students themselves cook food in the kitchen to get practical experience. They also serve the food they cook here.

TNW: Do the manpower produced from this institute easily get job at hotels operating in Kathmandu?

Ajay: The products from this institute have been getting job opportunities at different tourism related organizations. Our products have got job in popular hotels such as Hotel Soaltee, Hyatt Regency and various resorts across the country. Many products from our institute have also gone abroad for further studies or to seek job opportunities. Some of them have also opened their own restaurants in foreign countries including UK. This way our products have got opportunities both within and outside the country.

NATHM Building at Ravi Bhawan, Kathmandu

TNW: What is the qualification for joining Bachelor’s course?

Ajaya: One must pass Ten Plus Two exams with a minimum Second Division marks to get admission in the HATHM. After completing the 12 class they must pass CMAT conducted by TU to join BTTM and MHM. Then we select the eligible students through Interview and Group Discussion. Students from any faculty, science, management can get admission in this academy if they go through the above mentioned process. But usually, those studying management course join the academy.

TNW: What are the other courses offered in the institute ?

Ajaya: Besides the academic courses under the TU, we also offer various training courses. The training courses provided in our institute include Tourist Guide, Rive Guide, Coock, Waiter, Trekking Guide etc. We provide license to those completing various trainings in the institute. Besides, we also provide various trainings to interested people through Municipalities and Rural Municipalities located in various districts outside Kathmandu in coordination with the local bodies. We also provide mobile trainings on the basis of requests. Under this we provide local guide training, home stay, hotel and lodge management trainings etc.

TNW: What about mountain guide training?

Ajaya: We have not yet provided mountain guide training. However, Nepal government has while announcing the new budget, made announcement that Mountain Academy will be merged with the NATHM in the current fiscal year. I think this was an important decision. The government has also formed a committee for the purpose. So we are hopeful that in the near future NATHM will also be able to conduct mountain guide trainings. At present the Mountain Academy has been conducting four years mountain guide courses as well as running short term mountain guide trainings.

The Model Hotel at NATHM

TNW: How many students are enrolled under various programmes in the NATHM at present?

Ajaya: There are six sections under BHM in which altogether 264 ( 44 x 6) students can get admission in one batch. In BTTM there are four sections in which altogether 176 ( 44 x 4) students can be admitted in one batch. There is only one section under the Masters’ level in which 40 students are currently enrolled. We also do provide some scholarship to the needy students.

Besides, we also run classes under training categories. We are providing tourist guide training to 150 people and trekking guide training to around 500 people per batch. Similarly, around 35-40 people are being provided with river guides. Besides, we are also running basic cook training and waiter trainings. Similarly, we also provide one month long coffee making training under the heading of barista.

In the beginning we had provided 9 month cook trainings to the desirous students. But now we have reduced it to three months.

The tourist guide training lasts 10 weeks including 2 weeks practical, where as the trekking guide training lasts for 6 weeks. Under the trekking guide training the students are also provided one week long rock climbing training.

TNW: What is the qualification for joining tourist guide training?

Ajaya: One needs to pass Bachelor’s level to join tourist guide training. Additional language is not mandatory but it is preferable. For trekking guide one is required to pass S.E.E. However, we also run trekking porter training. This training is intended to under S.E.E. people who are already workering as porters in the mountain areas.

TNW: What is the main problem facing NATHM ?

Ajaya: Although NATHM is operating under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of Nepal, we have to rely mainly on the fees provided by students and trainees. Besides, we also get minimum amount of grants from the government. But we are running a number of programmes. Therefore, we are facing fund crunch to expand our activities or run new activities besides operating the regular works. Our resources can only permit us to perform regular training and academic activities. But if we want to expand our activities across the nation or to launch new programmes as per the directives of the government, we face lack of resources. In the past we had planned to run BHM classes in Bardibas, Nepalgunj and Birtamode, as per the decision of the government and also expanded our branches to these areas. We, however, are able to operate BHM classes at Bardibas with the help of local bodies and the TU. But we had to cancel the plan to operate classes in Nepalgunj and Birtamode due to budget crunch. Therefore, lack of financial resources is the main problem facing our institution.

TNW: What is the situation of instructors and teachers in the insitution?

Ajaya: WE have altogether 75 work force and fifty percent of them are teaching staff. Sometimees we also hire resource persons from outside on contract basis both for training and regular academic classes.

TNW: What about the availability of course books?

Ajaya: We also have a library in our premises, where we have sufficient number of books related to tourism studies. Besides, we also do publish academic journals as well as souvenir on our anniversary in which many interesting write ups are included.

TNW: Are there only Nepali students ? DO you have plans to include foreign students in the institution?

Ajaya: So far we have not been able to cater to the foreign students. But we have also proposed to teach students coming from the SAARC countries at our institute, which has not yet been materialized. However, we provide opportunity to our Bachelor students to study abroad for one year or two semesters after they complete three years’ course. The students get chances to study in hotels in UK, France, Qatar, Dubai, Baharain and other countries in their final year. After completing one year internship in foreign countries the students will return to Nepal and appear in eighth semester exams.

TNW: What is the fee structure?

Ajaya: In BHM the student is required pay Rs. 575,000 for the four year course, which can be paid on installmenb basis. For BTTM course, the Rs. 300,000 fee is charges per student. The fee for Masters programme is 300,000. For the tourist guide training the Rs. 25,000 fee is charged. However, the students themselves have to bear the costs in case of field visits. The fee for trekking guide is 7,500 per training course.

TNW: What is the future plan of the institution?

Ajaya: We have a plan to develop HATHM as a deemed university in the near future. It should be independent and autonomous institution for studying all kinds of travel and tourism related studies. We want it to be developed under university structure so that it can make its own decision formulate its own plans independently and implement them accordingly. In a way we want NATHM to be a centre of excellence in the area of hotel and travel, tourism studies. The government is also working towards that direction. HATHM has till date maintained the South Asian standard in providing tourism related trainings and academic courses.