This case study reports on a partnership in Nepal between London Metropolitan University and the ING Group which includes Islington College, Kathmandu, Itahari International College and Informatics College Pokhara and demonstrates how importing education to low income economies can make a contribution to achieving the UN’s sustainability goals.
The partnership in Nepal started in 2012 with undergraduate computing courses offered as a franchise at a private college in Kathmandu. It has grown into a large and successful partnership which now includes business and computing courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. It has also expanded outside of Kathmandu to Itahari in the east and Pokhara in the west.
There are currently over 4000 students studying at the colleges in Nepal. These are on either franchised courses such as BSc (Hons) Computing, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance or an MBA or validated courses such as BSc (Hons) Computer Networking and IT Security, BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technologies, MSc IT and Applied Security or BA (Hons) Business Administration. Originally all the courses offered were franchised but some of these became validated when they were no longer offered by the university on its home campus.
Starting with one small building in 2012, the Kathmandu campus now has a purpose built postgraduate centre and dedicated student facilities over several buildings and has a campus feel that any university can be proud of.
This year we celebrate our 10th anniversary and after a turbulent couple of years there are now plans to expand the provision to Butwal.
London Metropolitan University has supported Islington college in its growth and provided support through fundraising events to the local communities following the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2015. The ING group have also been able to develop a cyber security centre with the expertise provided by staff at the university. This has provided valuable work experience for the students.
The UN sustainable development goals primarily focus on how literacy and numeracy can increase standards in a country. To deliver a UK degree in a developing country the students will already need a high level of English in order to be able to study for a university degree, which may suggest a certain level of privilege. However, one should not overlook the benefits of delivering UK university education in Nepal, as such educational provision enhances the lives of students who either could not afford to study in the UK, or are unable to leave Nepal to study abroad due to family or work responsibilities.
The benefit to London Metropolitan University’s Nepalese graduates is that they now enjoy successful careers in Nepal and have been able to develop in the workforce to benefit the Nepalese economy. As the courses continue to grow more local students have had the opportunity to study and gain up to date skills for employment, which enables them to get decent jobs or become entrepreneurs. As the students remain part of their communities they are able to support the local economy through their employment or for those who have developed their own business, by providing employment to others.
This case study demonstrates how a university education contributes to sustainability in the partner country and as a result transforms lives and develops communities. It is also of benefit to the UK university in that it raises the profile of the university and UK higher education provision in general, which may also attract more Nepalese students to the UK to further their studies.
Working in partnership provides a win-win for both the ING group and London Metropolitan University.