Higher Education

Grades 11 and 12 are prerequisites for university entrance in Nepal, but SMD is too crowded to offer ‘plus two’. Our students finish grade 10, write the national exams, and if successful, receive a certificate (formerly the School Leaving Certificate, SLC). But the certificate is not enough since, among other barriers, the unemployment rate in Nepal hovers around 50 per cent. Ongoing education is essential. However, schools that offer ‘plus two’ in Nepal are urban and for-profit; Himalayan kids can’t afford tuition, let alone the cost of living in the city. A recent study noted that 62 per cent of young people indicated that they want to leave Nepal as they feel there is no future here.

As such, we have developed a bridging programme for our graduates which we call the ‘Senior Programme’:

For about half of our class ten graduates (called ‘Seniors’), we are able to offer an opportunity in one of two tracks: 1. room, board and teaching/admin aide positions at SMD/Rinpoche’s Monasteries so they may finish grades 11 and 12 in Kathmandu at another school, or 2. assistance with scholarship applications and placements at one of our independent partner high schools abroad.

Our senior students abroad have landed placements at and graduated from top international schools, such as Bishop Strachan, Appleby, Inter Community School Zurich, Philips Exeter Academy, the Hotchkiss School, and United World Colleges. All are thriving academically, but it is the quality of their being that garners respect amongst the other students and their teachers.

We impose one condition on scholarship-goers: they must write a letter to Rinpoche promising to return to SMD or to their village to help others for a set period of time, once their education overseas is finished. Most of the kids want to help in the education or health sector. After they’ve finished their commitment to Rinpoche and to their own people, they are free to follow their own path.