Bloom Nepal- Exploring a Culture of Interest Driven Education

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Education opens doors to unlimited opportunities. It is just a matter of knowing what you need and then setting the goal towards achievement after gaining the knowledge. Bloom Nepal is a school established to explore a culture of interest-driven education with the use of innovation and technology. The founders of the school are dynamic entrepreneurs who aim to produce creative, innovative and entrepreneurial leaders for tomorrow.

Here’s a conversation with Ajay Shrestha, one of the founders of Bloom Nepal where he shares his experience about the inception of the revolutionary school. 

1. Can you tell us about your journey?
Initially, when Bloom Nepal was established in 2013, we acquired a school but lots of contradictions occurred as we were young and people didn’t have faith in us. Furthermore, financial backing was our major problem. But with our own investment and some donations, the school was inaugurated. In the initial phase, we had only 16-18 students which then gradually increased to 30. Even advertising the school was complex due to a lack of resources and finance. Nevertheless, we maintained the quality of the education and the parents were satisfied after examining positive changes in their children. So, gently the number of students reached to 80. 

Unfortunately, the massive earthquake destroyed our school and we were obliged to shift to Lubu from Patan. We acquired land in the lease there and developed a structure through donations. Currently, we have buildings made from prefab which now facilitates as a hostel for both boys and girls, classrooms for grade 1-10, kitchen, dining hall and a playground. 

2. How did the concept of Bloom Nepal originate?
One of our founders, Ram Krishna Rijal, originated the concept of Bloom Nepal. He believed that good quality education is a primary aspect of the development of the nation. The main motive behind establishing Bloom Nepal was to provide quality education at an affordable price as there are numerous schools in Nepal that provide quality education but aren’t affordable and accessible to everyone. 
Besides Ram Krishna Rijal, Rajendra Singh Bista, Rabindra Shrestha and I, Ajay Shrestha are the founders of Bloom Nepal. We have been working for Bloom Nepal and are passionate about creating and expanding interest-based learning to bring opportunities in Nepal.

3. What differentiates Bloom Nepal from the rest of the schools?
Bloom Nepal principally focuses on “Interest-Based Learning” which means children are prioritized to learn more in their field of interest, be it any particular subject or extra-curricular activity. We do follow the syllabus provided by Nepal Government however, we also provide the opportunity to learn more in the line that they are passionate about. In the long run, this type of learning environment will be very beneficial to the students, their interest sectors as well as their careers.

4. How do you manage the variation on each students’ field of interest under your model of “Interest-based learning”?
Bloom Nepal has the ambition to provide an infrastructure that will facilitate students according to their interests. We will have an auditorium for the students interested in instruments such as violin and piano and a community room where students can play chess. However, currently, the infrastructure is not the strongest point of our school. We aren’t being able to provide all the facilities due to our inflexibility and lack of finance. 

5. What is the current model and how well is it working?
Our work is going great. We have been able to provide a push to the students’ passion, not necessarily in all fields but in a particular field. To do so, we organize a number of events every Friday like dance, debate, poetry and story writing competitions. We try to groom students from this perspective. The students who have completed their schooling from Bloom Nepal are now in different fields of study.

6. Can you tell the financial viability of school?
Bloom Nepal is a private school, so maximum percent of our income comes from the students’ fees. We sometimes receive resources like donations such as books, footballs and so on which we are always grateful for but not completely dependent on.

7. What are the challenges you faced?
Our first challenge was convincing people because they had a misconception that this concept is brought only to generate profits. Unless we show it by doing, we are always criticized. 
At the beginning it was very difficult for us to sustain because the community didn’t have faith in us. Now, the community has realized our importance, as the school is making the community better and people have clearly seen the changes. Therefore, we’re receiving support from the community as well. Another challenge was of acquiring skilled human resource since we need a team to run any organization. 

8. What does Bloom Nepal look like in the future?
Bloom Nepal’s mission is to expand the school and create a chain of schools with specialized subjects like Bloom Nepal School of Mathematics, Bloom Nepal School of Music and more where students can join the school as per their field of interest. The mission of expanding the schools is to decentralize and locate our schools at major educational hubs spanning across Nepal.  

9. Can you tell us about Bloom Nepal’s participation at the Rockstart Accelerator Program?
We were the first batch of the Rockstart Accelerator Program and also one of the companies that got funded. It was a 100 days incubation program where we were groomed to be an investment ready school by the mentors who reviewed our finances. In the beginning, we lacked the idea of managing assets, documentation and management. The program trained us in documenting, shaping our ideas and presenting it. The incubation period groomed and refined Bloom Nepal. We even acquired an investment from the Rockstart Accelerator Program to build a new school now located at Lubhu.

For more information about this company, check out their Facebook page here or connect with them at info@bloomn.edu.np.

Interviewed and article by Thryza Dow.