Nestled in a tranquil plot in the lush forest area of Surya Binayak, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu World School (KWS) is reminiscent of the concept of ‘Gurukul’, albeit updated for modern times. Two kilometres away from Surya Binayak on Araniko Highway and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, KWS is a newly established semi–residential school delivering education through its international standard pedagogy and with modern facilities and services.
A team of around 23 educationists including some business houses started the construction of the school in March 2016. Prior to the establishment of the school, the team planned to study international residential schools, and they, along with a few architects, visited several schools and their boarding houses in different countries such as Singapore and India. After three and a half years of preparation and hard work, the school commenced its first academic session in April 2018.
According to the school’s CEO Dr Rajendra Kumar Ghising, the school was established with the primary aim of halting the significant outlay of Nepali currency to foreign countries on the pretext of quality education. For this, the school claims to have arranged an international standard teaching and learning environment along with modern facilities, appropriate educational resources, curriculum, infrastructure, atmosphere and safety services. Thus, the school expects to substitute international schools in the country by delivering international-standard education, primarily targeting the parents that aspire to send their children abroad for quality education.
Investment and Infrastructure
The school was established with a joint investment worth Rs 2.75 billion from members of different business houses, educational institutions and some individuals. According to Dr. Ghising, CG Holdings is one of the major shareholders of the school. Construction of the school began three years ago and as of now, 75 percent of the development has been completed while 25 percent construction (four hostels and one auditorium with a capacity of 600 people) is expected to be completed in the coming two years.
KWS is built on a whopping 55 ropan is of land in Surya Binayak-7, Gundu, Bhaktapur. Much like its educational service, KWS’ infrastructure is also in accord with international standard. The size of the classrooms is quite spacious enough to organise group discussions and presentations. Altogether, KWS has three academic blocks– Elementary Block, Middle School and Senior School, one Extra–curricular Activities Block and one Administrative Block and two Boarding Houses.
Facilities and Services
Each of the classrooms at KWS is set up with the required resources for teaching–learning and safety equipment such as a fire alarm, public announcement system, internet, projector, CCTV, projector, cabinet for storing teaching materials, etc. The school facilitates transportation service with its own vehicles. Since the school runs classes from 8 am to 2:40 pm for elementary level and 8 am to 3:30 pm for secondary level, breakfast and lunch service are also arranged by KWS. “Students from Koteshwor, mid-Baneshwor, Jadibuti and even from distant areas like Kalanki, Bhaisepati are enrolling in KWS,”informs Dr Ghising.
Students are evaluated on a daily basis through both formative and summative assessment. KWS has 11 teachers and five ECA teachers for elementary school in which 37 students(grade 1, 3, 4 and 5) are currently studying while more than 25 teachers are involved in teaching 222 grade 11 students. The number is expected to double in the coming year. Each Sunday, KWS conducts professional-development training for teachers.
“A value–based progressive education aligned with the internationally recognised IPC framework sets KWS apart from other schools”
What is the idea behind establishing Kathmandu World School (KWS) at a time when there are already so many private educational institutions in the country?
We witnessed that over the past decades, many affluent parents were sending their children to India due to the lack of quality education and residential (hostel) facilities in schools in Nepal. Some Indian schools would organise education exhibitions at star hotels in Kathmandu to attract Nepali students. Instant admissions would take place at such exhibitions. We found that some 700 to 800 Nepali students were going to India for high school education every year. Then, we visited some international schools in few major Indian cities including Gurgaon, Bangalore, Noida, Nainital and Dehradun.
We came to know that around 50 to 150 Nepali students were studying in those schools. On an average, the Nepali parents were paying around INR 100,000 per month as fees, let alone other expenses. We realised that a huge amount of money had been draining out of the country every year in the name of quality education. Then, we thought that this capital flow could be stopped if we had a good school of an international standard in the country.
KWS commenced its operations in the academic year 2075 (2018/19). How was the first year for the school? What were the major achievements?
In the beginning, we were in a dilemma over starting the classes in the academic year 2018/19 as the construction was going on, and many of the facilities were not completed. However, we started the session on the initiative of CG Holdings at the eleventh hour of the academic year. We registered only 37 students for grades 1, 3, 4 and 5 in the elementary school. But we received an overwhelming response from students when it came to the admission of grade 11 students. We could enroll 222 students in grade 11, and that is a good start indeed. Altogether, there are now 259 students studying in the school. We are confident and fully prepared for the second year intake of students from grade 1 to 8, which is now taking place.
How has been the response from the students and their parents?
Since there were only few students during the first academic year at the elementary school, we could manage everything that was required. We could satisfy the students and their guardians with our teaching–learning approaches and individual care that we provided to our students. We have made several parent–teacher meetings during the academic year, and they seem to have quite satisfied with our teaching–learning, curricular, extra-curricular activities and the overall facilities being provided to the students.
KWS has been providing education as per the International Primary Curriculum (IPC)of UK to primary level students. Could you elaborate on a bit?
Our students study the national curriculum of Nepal which is on-par with the international curriculum. What is lacking is approach to or proper way of delivering the curriculum effectively to students. So, we use the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) framework to deliver the national curriculum in a thematic and progressive approach. The IPC is an internationally recognised curriculum framework which is flexible, and accommodates national curricula of any country.
What sets KWS apart from other big schools in the country?
KWS possesses world–class infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities. A value–based progressive education aligned with the internationally recognised IPC framework sets KWS apart from other schools. We encourage our students to appreciate their community and contribute positively to society in general. One of our core values is compassion and the students are given opportunities to learn the true essence of giving, be it in kind, time or effort. They will be able to participate in charitable activities and programmes that serve not only the local community but also the wider national needs in various areas.
We help our students to link their theoretical knowledge gained in classroom to the real–world situation. For instance, students are taken to a paddy farm during monsoon when it comes to teaching the plantation of paddy, and they are allowed planting the paddy saplings. Similarly, students visit Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) while they learn an electricity unit. This sort of activity helps students deeply understand the concept and their application in the real world.
What about your scholarship programmes?
We provide scholarships to 10 percent of total students as per the provisions of the federal and local governments. Besides, we are giving the scholarship of a sum of Rs 6,000 in monthly tuition fees as an introductory offer to all the students enrolling for the academic year 2076 (2019).
Finally, what are the plans of KWS?
We will be running classes from grade 1 to grade 12 in the years to come under the national curriculum. Similarly, we are now taking students from grade 1 and grade 8 for the academic year 2076. We are also planning to offer Cambridge International ‘A’ Level, which is equivalent to grade 11 and 12, to students after grade 10. We are also aiming at bringing international students from countries such as Thailand, South Korea, India and China in the future once the construction of infrastructure and facilities is complete. We have already Chinese students in the school from the first academic year itself.