The British College and its vision of education: What Nepal can expect

When The British College started its operation in 2011, many people were sceptical. Many felt that what it was offering was a scam and that the government was wrong in giving it permission to operate in Nepal.

But a decade on, it has shut all the naysayers. Producing over 300 graduates every year in various disciplines, the college has not only given Nepali students the chance to earn an international degree sitting at home, but it has also taken a huge stride to improve the education sector in the country by bringing new courses such as the recently introduced cybersecurity and digital forensics to create more scope career wise.

“We want to change the teaching system in the country,” says Arun Lal Joshi, the associate dean of The British College. “For years, education in Nepal has been done in the same manner. But, it is the 21st century and we want to change this, which is why we’re bringing new courses so that our students can compete globally.”

Creating an environment to thrive in Nepal

The British College
Classrooms at The British College are one of the best in the country.

When the whim to pursue higher education in foreign began in the country, a lot of Nepal’s best students went abroad. Most of these students are now working in various institutions across the world. This, however, left a huge gap in Nepal as it lost its best students.

That was what The British College wanted to change. By giving a foreign degree, it wanted to minimise the number of students going abroad by creating an environment for them to thrive in Nepal.

“We can’t stop people from going abroad. That’s not possible but institutions like us have done our bit to stop the number of students from leaving the country. Yet, there are some who still think we are a scam,” says Joshi.

But, what The British College is doing is providing foreign education at an affordable price and building capacity amongst Nepali students. It also teaches the same curriculum taught in the United Kingdom, which Joshi believes is far better than the curriculum taught by different universities in Nepal.

“People love to criticise in Nepal. People who point fingers at us don’t come to us and hold discourses and that is upsetting,” he says.

Open for discussions

The British College
The British College also has a cafe.

Of late, people have been questioning the college charges for four years while its degree is only three years. But, Joshi says these accusations are baseless as The British College also provides students with a one-year foundation before they start the honours degree.

“People don’t understand and say things. These people who accuse us don’t come to us to hold discussions with us.”

He says that this comes from universities who think institutions like The British College steal their students. But, Joshi feels that the universities are missing the point as most of them do not know how the country is losing so many students to foreign universities.

“Binod Chaudhary in the parliament said that Nepalis are spending Rs 43 billion annually to go study abroad. Rather than competing, I think it was time we started working on creating an environment to change this,” says Joshi.

He says if universities offered better courses, this trend would stop. But, right now, it is still trending since most universities do not have a proper performance indicator or a plan on where they want to be in the next five to 10 years.

“We have goals that we want to reach in five years. And, we work hard to meet these goals,” says Joshi. “We always think about what we can do differently. That is why we bring new courses that can contribute to change in the society.”

New approaches for new courses

The British College

One such course The British College has recently brought is cybersecurity and digital forensics. Through the course, the college aims to educate people on cybersecurity, teaching them about prevention, tracking and dealing with issues as per law. Since there is a skills shortage within the field, the college believes this will help build capacity and produce people who will help organisations and even the government when it comes to digital fraud.

“We are now building a lab for this. The lab will have everything used by the UK police. It’s a holistic course, which we feel will definitely help the society,” says Joshi.

He says that since the mission of The British College is global employability, it brings courses that are currently in trend all over the world. He says the college believes in a more practical approach to learning, which is why it has a lot of professional courses.

“Even our traditional courses like BBA are different as we try and teach students differently. We focus more on case studies so that we can build a student’s capacity than test his memory skill.”

The British College
The British College basketball court.

He says that college also tries to promote entrepreneurs. Creating jobs is not the only thing it wants to do as it feels the country will only change if there are entrepreneurs. Since there is a huge gap between industry and academia, it wants to create students to come out be that bridge. 

Another plus point of The British College is the international exposure it offers. Lecturers from abroad visit the college every year and they also take students to the UK and on international trips as they believe it is important to show different perspectives from around the country.

“Now we plan to bring students from the UK to Nepal because it’s easy for them to come to Nepal than us to go there.”

There are also plans of collaborating on projects between students of The British College and its affiliated universities in the UK, adds Joshi.

Finally, another USP of the college is its student support. This helps students in different ways. Looking at support centres in universities abroad, The British College has set up a centre that will help students academically, emotionally and, to some extent, even financially.

“The idea is to help them in any way.”

The British College
Conference hall at The British College.

The academic centre of The British College helps them with report writing or helps students if they are suffering from their studies. The college also has a psychologist in its well-being centre and the psychologist helps students feeling mentally weak.

“When you come here, we want our students to feel a part of the family and that is why we have set up all these centres so that the student feels at home. These things aren’t adapted in colleges in Nepal, but we want to change,” says Joshi.

Now, The British College is trying to set up an internet of things lab as it wants to create visionaries who can come up with new things. It wants to instal a high-tech lab through which initially it wants the students to analyse scientific data that help in the decision-making process.

“We don’t want to stop doing new things. We believe we are the best institution out there and want to remain so for the near future too,” says Joshi.

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