Print Edition - 2017-06-21  |  The Collegian

Beyond the textbook

  • With students seeking a healthy balance between academic and extracurricular activities, what colleges market as their unique selling point is evolving as well
- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL

Jun 21, 2017-

Madhav Tiwari from Kapan secured a 3.65 GPA in this year’s Secondary Education Examination (SEE). But while his family celebrated his success, Madhav’s mind remained weighed down by his future. As a ardent football enthusiast, the recent graduate has been on the lookout for colleges that put equal emphasis on sports, as they do on education.

 “I am not only looking for just tall buildings housing hundreds of students but rather a college the has ample sporting opportunities, along with its academic courses,” he says, “These days, most colleges have good teaching faculties and are able to deliver good academic results. But how they help students in sharpening their talent, whatever that may be, is important to me.” 

Madhav’s friend, Sujan Adhikari, who has been visiting colleges with the same motif, shares a similar opinion. Always into extracurricular activities, Sujan recently made up his mind to enroll into the Science stream at St Lawrence College for his higher level education.  

 “When I visited the college and spoke with the principal, extracurricular programmes the college offered was at the forefront of my mind. Happy with what the college offered, I decided that I would be able to find the balance I sought here,” he says.

Good academic results, infrastructural facilities, qualified teachers and college reputation are no longer the sole factors that draw aspiring students. These new breed of students expect their colleges to help them hone their many talents and groom their overall personality. 

Parents too are looking beyond just academic rigour when it comes to settling on which college is best for their child. 

Anu Manandhar, who has been accompanying her son Yeshesh Manandhar on his different college visits, feels that a perfect college should give equal priority to extra academic activities as it does to academics. Yeshesh wants to pursue a career in fine arts, and is looking for a college that hosts frequent events and discussions outside of the classroom.

“Ideally, I’d want a college that promotes other activities along with offering top-notch education,” says Mrs Manandhar, “While we are yet to settle for one particular college, we are upbeat about the positive changes with regards to extracurricular offerings at various colleges.”

Colleges offering higher education, especially at the Plus Two level, are well aware of this shift in preference. College administrations now see extracurricular activities, which in turn promote holistic development of the students, as a unique selling point that makes them stand out from the crowd. For instance, colleges like Xavier International College , has rolled out special scholarship to talented students who display potential in other disciplines, regardless of their educational accomplishments. 

“Not only do we organise regular intra-college and inter-college events that showcase talents of students but we also provide financial support and scholarships to deserving candidates,” says Lok Bahadur Bhandari, Chief Executive Officer at the Xavier International College, Kalopul.   

 “We make sure we provide a good platform for our young talents,” he says, adding that the school organizes events like ‘Rising Talent’ where students interested in music, drama, poetry and fine arts are given the platform to grow through guidance from mentors. Xavier College has also been organising an annual inter-college basketball championship that has already given platform to many young talents. 

Shankar Pyakurel, program coordinator at Global College of Management says that colleges must priortise other activities, along with providing a strong academic base, if it is to remain relevant in the current market. 

“We give one hundred percent priority to such activities. Extracurricular activities, over the years, have become a major draw for students, and one of the major strength of our institution,” claims Pyakurel. 

He says extracurricular activities at the college are planned and designed in a way that does not affect students’ academic progress. “Education and extracurricular activities are inseparable from each other today. They should move side by side. We have already enlisted our annual events where all the activities are preplanned,” he adds.   

Principal at the St. Lawrence College, Purushottam Maharjan also opines that involving students in extracurricular activities is a must in order to fully harness their talents.

“When they enter any college, they all come with their own special talents and skills. We have to identify them and train the students accordingly. If we do not shape them in time, there is going to be a whole lot of wasted potential,” Maharjan cautions.

Published: 21-06-2017 10:22

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