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Entrepreneurship Education is the Need of the Hour: Narottam Aryal

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Kathmandu, April 29, 2016: Talking at the Last Thursdays with an Entrepreneur – a monthly interaction session organized by Biruwa Ventures, Narottam Aryal, Executive Director at King’s College shared that educational institutes in Nepal should focus more on entrepreneurial education and it is the very thing required to develop Nepal in the present context.

Aryal started the programme sharing the journey of his business career and how he ended up as the CEO of Chaudhary Group Education (CG Education) and leaving the job to start a business on partnership with IBM and getting cheated. In coordination with the then business partner – an agent at IBM, he had planned to run an academic institution but when the process was about to materialize IBM replied saying that they can’t run an academic course via IBM, but short term training courses. That was the point he ended the partnership with IBM and got into a big loss.

“I had a car. But, for losing all the money I had, I couldn’t afford to buy petrol anymore. So, I just started to walk all the way to work,” he shared about the aftermath of the failed deal”. And, I once rode a tempo, on finding that I didn’t have a single penny in my pocket to pay the fare, I just got off the vehicle and ran away.”

Talking about how he gathered a courage to move ahead after badly failing in business, he said, “Yes, I failed. But, what to do? You can’t die that easily. Optimism is not a choice but the only option available for you. You have to move on. So did I.”

Sharing about his experiences in the process of the taking over of King’s College, Aryal said, “I didn’t had a single penny though had a great ambition and desire to buy the college. I vigorously searched for an investor and luckily found one who could invest without any collaterals but just because of trust and the investor’s shared vision on educational sector. We set an example that one can start a business even without having any money.”

Sharing his views on the question of how he became able to turn an ordinary college into one of the best business schools in the country, he said they’ve not reached anywhere yet. “We do have the intent and energy, we are youthful and we work with team-approach. That’s what has helped us so far,” he remarked. “To work to succeed, you don’t need to do much hanky-panky, just keep yourself natural.”

Elaborating further on the topic, he said that organizations are there to serve the society and not the other way around. “Just don’t say this is mine. Instead, say this is ours. Treat all the staffs in the organization equally and consider them to be at the same level and convince all of them that they are valued. Success follows next.” He further shared that when you make your team believe that you don’t have any vested interests, they feel ownership for the organization and will support you.

Talking about educational institutions in Nepal and if we can create an institution like Stanford here itself, he said he has a dream to create an institution like that in Nepal from where the mountains can be seen in 360 degree round. A huge round of applause followed when he shared, “I can happily die after building such an institution in Nepal.”

Remarking on a question on why there is such a huge focus on entrepreneurship education at King’s and can entrepreneurship be taught at all, he opined, “If computer engineering can be taught, if science or any other subject be taught, why business education can’t be taught? We can teach the skills and experiences for entrepreneurship. To be an entrepreneur, one doesn’t require anything but orientation and inspiration. We can show the direction on how to carry out entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial education is there to motivate, deviate and inspire them towards entrepreneurship.”

“We’re still taught by our parents to be doctors, engineers, charter accountants, go abroad or have a government job but not to be an entrepreneur. There are institutions for medicine and engineering but not so much for entrepreneurship. Why not entrepreneurship education?” he questioned. “Nepal is not under-resourced. We all know that we’re full of resources and potential. We can exploit full potential of our resources only through entrepreneurship.”

Talking about the current trend of education in Nepal, he put forward his view saying that education institutions these days are becoming sort-of agents with superficial hi-fi and making students abroad minded with credit transfer facilities and mentioning that going abroad is easier after studying in their institutions. “It is the responsibility of education institutions to produce good manpower who can work in their country itself. They have to stand by this motive,” he asked for collaboration from the educational institutions in Nepal to produce quality manpower who have courage to work in Nepal itself.

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Answering a question by Subuna Basnet, an audience in the programme on how he can afford being sweet and maintain humbleness as a boss, Aryal shared that if one is happy in one’s life, he can enjoy the job. If he enjoys the job, he can inspire others. “You need to take the charge of your life and you always smile. Don’t have high expectations that you cannot achieve. Take the charge by yourself for a fault. This is how you can remain happy and move forward. How can I inspire my colleagues if I look sad? So, I always need to be cheerful,” he mentioned. “You need to encourage yourself and have optimism. There’s no other way than moving forward.”

On reply to by a question by Manish Jha on what he reminisces the most from student life as an educator at present, he shared it to be exams. “There’s high expectation on you from everyone to secure high marks in the examination. So, one gets pressured because of that expectation,” said he.

Towards the end of the one-hour long session, Aryal shared that entrepreneurial education from primary and grassroots level itself is required and there need to be many more progressive schools. “In foreign countries, education is the integral part of development. But at ours, education system is totally unmanaged and lost. We’re just at the level of education where other countries were already in 18th century. We need to blend art, science, engineering and psychology together to make innovations like an iPhone. We need to focus more on problem solving and critical thinking skills.” He further shared that education is what remains after the examinations. To make the education effective, it is necessary to follow action learning method and involving the students in practical learning by sending them to the fields as an intern or a trainee than just providing them with theoretical knowledge. Educational institutions need to take U-turn on how and what they are teaching. And, there is a massive demand of progressive education institutions in Nepal. Passionate youths need to be involved in the field of education.”

Photo Courtesy: Shaswot Shrestha

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal