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Samata announces college education in Nepal for a dollar



[caption id="attachment_2416" align="alignnone" width="700"] Schoolchildren in assembly at Samata School in Nepal, also called the 'bamboo school'[/caption]

The commencement of Samata College amidst a ceremony in Kathmandu was indeed positive news for the masses. Newspapers and websites of Nepal were buzzed all week since the announcement of the college. Like Samata Sikchya Niketan's low-fee school model, the students would be charged only Rs100 ($1) per month. Operating quality high schools in 19 districts of Nepal, Samata is quite a familiar name in the country.

Nepal is ranked as one of the poorest nations in the world by most globally recognized index. The wealth divide and income inequalities have deprived the majority population of many basic services. Generally, quality education is condered to be the privilege of the sons and daughters of the relatively wealthier segment of the society. Private institutions that deliver quality education often charge expensive fees. This has been discouraging students belonging to low-income backgrounds. At the same time government colleges delivering quality education are far and few. So the announcement of the establishment of Samata College was welcome news for many.

Samata started its journey in 2001 initiated by the former Bollywood stuntman Uttam Sanjel. Sanjel still heads the 12 year old foundation. The organization currently handles 17000 students. With the opening up of Samata College and Samata School in other parts of the country, the organization plans to handle up to 40,000 students in the next couple of years.

Most students studying at Samata’s facilities are usually from the underprivileged section of the society which also supplies most of the laborers in the country. The monthly household income of this class of population averages around $70-$150. Spending a dollar at Samata's schools, instead of spending at least 1/5 of their income in a private school thereby relieves a lot of parents from the extra burden on their weak economy.

It would obviously be difficult to impart quality computer-based education in English medium that Samata provides by charging such low fees. On top of that the organization employs nearly 500 people. So it has been depending upon donations from charities and people impressed by its activities for it's running. Many famous philanthropists and celebrities have come forward to help Samata in its pursuit of providing quality education to the disadvantaged.

Such noble intent from the foundation would surely inspire a lot of young people who would otherwise have left education just because they could not afford it.

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