From Nepal’s Samata School to Switzerland’s Aiglon College: A Nepali girl embarks on an exciting academic journey

Published On: December 10, 2020 08:15 PM NPT By: Shivahari Ghimire

KATHMANDU, Dec 10: All families dream of sending their children to the best and prestigious schools in the world. While rich families can enroll their children to elite schools, many cannot afford their hefty price tags to secure an admission.

For low-income or poor families in Nepal, it’s more than a distant dream.

However, a girl from a poor family in Nepal has been admitted to one of the most expensive and best schools in the world.

She is 15-year-old Ashmita Adhikari from Chitwan. Adhikari has secured a full-ride to study in Switzerland’s Aiglon College for four years.

Aiglon College, founded by John Corlette in 1949, is considered one of the most exclusive and expensive boarding schools in the world. Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan’s son Abhishek Bachchhan is one of the noted alumni of Aiglon College.

From Nepal, Industrialist Upendra Mahato’s daughter is enrolled in the same school. Now, Ashmita will also join Aiglon School which charges over $110,000 (approximately Rs 13 million) per annum in tuition fees.  

Her academic excellence has secured her a spot in Aiglon College for free of cost. After studying at Samata School by paying Rs 100 a month as tuition fee, she will now set her academic journey to one of the world's most distinctive boarding schools whose tuition fee exceeds millions of rupees. Adhikari’s journey is going to be possible thanks to an initiative by former president of Non-resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Upendra Mahato. Mahato had long been lobbying to secure the entry of students from poor families in Nepal in the prestigious Aiglon College.

Mahato had invited Aiglon College’s Executive Director Richard McDonald to Nepal. During his visit to Nepal in 2019, McDonald had shown curiosity about the education and students of Samata School. He expressed his interest to provide scholarship to one student of the school. Based on the performance and academic records of 500 students studying in Samata School, the College chose Ashmita.

According to Samata School’s Founder Uttam Sanjel, McDonald has promised to offer a full-ride to Aiglon College to one student from Nepal every year.

“Ashmita Adhikari has been selected for this year. Children born in poor families will get an opportunity to study in one of the best and prestigious schools. This is not a small feat,” he said.

Adhikari is now preparing to go to Switzerland for her higher studies. The college has asked her to arrive at the college by January 10. She is currently attending online classes required before getting admitted to the college.

“After being selected to study, I am doing preparations as required,” said Adhikari.

She had studied at Samata School from Grade 6.  Adhikari, who passed the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) this year with 3.9 GPA (Grade Point Average), said that she was excited to receive an opportunity to join the prestigious Aiglon College.  

“I had stated my family background and my objectives while filling out the form. I had not thought at that time that I would be selected for the scholarship,” she said. “There were other seniors seeking the opportunity. I thought that I would not be selected. But I have been chosen for this opportunity,” she said. Adhikari holds interest in subjects like music, history and infrastructure development. Adhikari has been living with her family on rent at Bauddha in Kathmandu. Her father Amrit Adhikari works as a cabbie to earn a living.

Her selection to study at one of the prestigious colleges of the world came as a pleasant surprise to her father who was worried about her higher education. “I was worried about how and where to send her for her higher studies. I am now happy that she has been selected to study at a foreign college,” he said.

She is just 15. But, she has a solid understanding of the country’s development and politics. “I want to work toward the development of the country. Wherever I go for studies, I plan to return to my country. We lag behind in terms of development, compared to other countries. We only hear about corruption here. That needs to be changed,” she said, adding that she is now also studying the country’s development and political situation as she prepares to leave for Switzerland in a few weeks for her higher studies.

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