Sulav Budhathoki is the chairman of Islington College, a pioneer in international education in Nepal. Budhathoki has been credited with turning around an IT college that was on the brink of closing down. Islington College is now one of the leading colleges in Nepal that offer an international degree. Onlinekhabar recently caught up with Budhathoki for a chat.
Your college offers various bachelors and masters level courses that are affiliated with London Metropolitan University such in the fields of IT and management. Are there any new courses you are planning to launch soon?
There’s a new course we are planning to roll out soon. It will be called Bachelors in Mobile Application. This course is designed for students who want to specialise in mobile applications; we all know that the mobile apps market is growing at a rapid pace these days. Many people would think that the area of study is a bit narrow and app development could be learnt as part of a diploma course. However, diploma courses are pretty hands-on and lack the academic rigour that is essential. That is where the course comes in.
Similarly, we have ourselves observed that students who go to British universities are highly motivated to learn things on their own. So even if a student has a degree in mobile applications development, he would be skilled in other areas of computing as well. Just a few years ago, people would have said the same thing about computer software development. Now we see how the software industry has taken off.
There are so many interesting courses that are available in Nepal. But students choose to go abroad to study. What do you think are the reasons for this?
Yes, you are right. In my opinion, there are a few reasons why Nepali students want to go abroad. I think that the young generation wants to be independent and do things on their own. That is possible when they go abroad. The other thing is that they are attracted by the photos they see of their friends who have gone abroad on Facebook. I remember a prominent socialite saying that people who post photos of themselves in big cities abroad should also post photos of the hardship they go through every day. That is one thing our younger generation does not see.
The other reason why Nepali students wanted to go abroad was the series of strikes and protests that took place during the past few years. They were fed up and wanted to go out.
Why do you think Nepali students should consider their options in Nepal before thinking of going abroad?
During my international travel, I have met a lot of Nepalis–both successful and not so successful. The common thing that I find between them is that they miss home. For example, whenever they are ill, they do not have family members to take care of them. They do not have the supportive environment that is there in Nepal.
How about the labour market in Nepal and the difficulty of finding jobs here?
There is always demand for people with skills. For example, there are software companies that are always on the lookout for people. Whenever companies issue a vacancy announcement these days, they do not get enough applicants. In the case of Islington, more than 90 per cent of our students get placed in jobs or get enrolled in further education. Of course, the corporate culture here is such that it is not easy to climb up the corporate ladder, but opportunities are there.
What would be your advice to students who are preparing to go to college this year?
My advice is that you should make your own choices, don’t opt for something just because your friend has opted for it. Think about what you want to do, look at the prospects. Personally, I would suggest that you go for technical education. The government has also announced it wants to promote technical education. Also, have a look at the infrastructure of the college and what it has to offer.