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Budhanilkantha School, a selective Ministry school in Nepal, has offered Cambridge qualifications since 1985. We asked Principal Keshar Khulal, a former Budhanilkantha student, how Cambridge International AS & A Levels have benefitted his students. Here are excerpts from the interview.
What is the mission and philosophy of Budhanilkantha School?
At Budhanilkantha School students from every walk of life (social, economic, geographic and religious) live, learn and grow together as equals. Our sense of community, equality and responsibility continues among our alumni. Personally, it makes me very proud to see our students achieve international success, and this reflects our mission to deliver the leaders of the future by providing a well-rounded education in an environment that promotes unity and equality.
Why did you choose Cambridge?
We started offering Cambridge programmes in 1985, initially to give our students the qualifications they needed to apply to international universities, especially in the UK. A longer-term goal was also to encourage these students to return to the school to teach and to eventually manage the school - and I was one of those students. Working with the Ministry of Nepal, we decided on the Cambridge programme because it had international recognition and was also affordable.
Tell us more about the success of your students
Cambridge qualifications can open the door to every college and university in the world. Before we introduced Cambridge qualifications very few students from Nepal gained scholarships to study overseas, but from our very first cohort of Cambridge International A Level students, eight gained university scholarships in the UK, including places at Cambridge, Oxford and York, and at Imperial College, London; one student received a scholarship to study medicine in Nepal, and others gained scholarships in Bangladesh, India and the US.
This impressive success rate has continued for many years, with students gaining scholarships around the world, including at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and MIT. As we hoped, many students have also returned to teach at the school – as I have done.
This year alone, over 40 Cambridge International A Level students received full or partial scholarships – not just at universities, but also for medicine and engineering programmes in Nepal.
Not surprisingly, many of these former Cambridge International A Level students are now prominent figures in Nepal and beyond. Dr Gyanu Lamichhane, for example, is leading research on TB at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, US; Ujwal Tapa is the leader of political party Bibekshil Nepali; and Dr Sewa Risal discovered the INPP4B gene during a leukemia research programme.
What contribution has Cambridge made to the school’s mission?
The Cambridge programme provides a strong foundation for higher education. Students develop a critical, analytical, logical and practical approach to learning and build their English language skills, helping them to become good communicators. The Cambridge syllabus includes time for extra-curricular and volunteer activities, giving students the opportunity to give something back to their communities. As a result, Cambridge has helped our students become competent, confident and dedicated leaders with a strong sense of integrity and responsibility, with the capacity for vision and with an entrepreneurial spirit – which is the mission of our school.
Alumni returning to Budhanilkantha School