Established in 2006 with a grant from Baron Guy Ullens and Myriam Ullens of Belgium, the non-profit Ullens Education Foundation (UEF) has established itself as a leader in progressive education in Nepal, inspired by the pedagogy of Bank Street College of Education in New York.
UEF runs Ullens Kindergarten in Jawalakhel and Ullens School in Khumaltar. Above 10th grade it offers both the Nepali secondary education programmes in management and science, as well as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). Recognized for college admission in more than ninety countries, the IBDP offers a globally relevant curriculum managed out of Geneva that goes beyond other curricula to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed.”
To address Nepal’s need for more well-trained teachers, UEF is preparing to establish a teacher’s training college, making use of its world-class teaching facilities at Ullens School in Khumaltar.
To address the large outflow of Nepali students at higher levels, and to contribute to making Nepal a centre for international education, UEF is developing a master plan to establish a residential liberal arts college on its property in Nala, Kavre District. The site offers an opportunity to design a sustainable university campus that draws on the best practices of green architecture and renewable energy, while protecting streams, wetlands, biodiversity and vistas to create a modern inspiring study environment immersed in nature. The curriculum will be designed to train the next generation of leaders for Nepal and beyond, drawing inspiration from liberal arts colleges in North America and elsewhere, with an emphasis on training students beyond their major field of study, providing a broad knowledge base and much practice in critical thinking and communication.
The campus site also hosts UEF’s newly opened Outdoor Learning Centre for nature-based learning, outdoor sports and overnight stays. While integrated into the Ullens Curriculum, the facilities are available for rent by other schools and institutions.
With the growing scope of UEF’s work, there is a need for dedicated leadership. UEF Trustee Dr. Arnico Panday has graciously accepted to serve as UEF’s first Chief Executive Officer starting 1 February 2020. For the past eight years he led the development of the Atmosphere Programme at ICIMOD, building a team that set up air quality monitoring stations across multiple countries, carried out science research, trained young scientists, cleaned up brick kilns, and worked on policy from local to global scales. Dr. Panday has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University, a Master’s in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Doctor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He carried out postdoctoral research at MIT and Princeton University and served on the faculty at the University of Virginia prior to his return to Nepal.
Welcoming him into the role, Mr. Som Paneru, President of UEF shares, “It’s an absolute honor to have Dr. Panday onboard to help us continue to raise the standards of quality higher education in Nepal. Our community has already benefitted tremendously from his engagement as a trustee and we are looking forward to initiating Nepal’s first liberal arts college with him at the helm of strategic planning and execution.”
Mr. Medin Lamichane, Principal of Ullens School, delightfully shares, “Dr. Arnico Panday brings in unique insights as an Atmosphere Scientist with a passion for higher education. We look forward to new ideas and consolidating innovative ideas and pedagogy into our already unique curriculum in Nepal. He brings in a breadth of knowledge in systems, organization management and strategic planning from his varied work experiences and is passionate about academic excellence.”