Founded in 2005 by a non-profit organization, the Nepal Agroforestry Foundation (NAF) together with almost 150 agriculture and forestry professional and farmer practitioners, the Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOL) has now reached to a total enrollment of more than 1500 students. KAFCOL has now run four programs and maintains a total student population of 410 with specialized accreditations for Master Degree programs in GIS with Salzburg University and Natural Resource Management and Rural Development (NRMRD) program with TU, graduate (BSc) and undergraduate (Diploma) programs in Forestry with TU and CTEVT, respectively. All these programs focus on applied learning with required internships, practicums, service learning experiences. With almost 15 years of experience in forestry and natural resource management, I believe that KAFCOL could aptly advance its brand of higher education at wider level. Because of this emphasis on “Education Beyond a Textbook” our faculty also support student research by collaborating with other research projects. Recently, KAFCOL has signed contract with Griffith University, Australia, Red Panda Network and Southern Queensland University. Two post-doctoral students are being recruited at KAFCOL under this contract. Similarly we have signed MOU with Arizona University US and Shooloni University in India. Nepal Forest and Wildlife management project completed with Thompson Rivers University of Canada. Graduates from these Universities have also shared with us how transformative these experiences have been and how valuable the experience as something that sets them apart from other graduates when competing for post-graduate work or graduate school enrollment, and our faculty and staff indicate that they are rejuvenated by out-of-the-classroom research opportunities and experiences.
One of the aspects of KAFCOL that I am most proud of is the way in which we serve real people in our region. We have also signed MOU with the Government of Nepal (Ministry of Forests and Environment) for promotion of biodiversity. KAFCOL is now the member of Steering committee of the International Partnership for Satoyama Initiative (IPSI). This is a global biodiversity initiative that deals with nature (i.e. living together in harmony with nature). We have developed and demonstrated a record of building consensus, resolving conflict, addressing personnel and student issues with sensitivity and fairness, and have a demonstrated record of effective financial management. We were awarded a certificate of ‘best tax payer’ to the Government in Kathmandu in the year 2015/16 and 2016/17. With so many changes in how both public and private education is funded, experiences from KAFCOL demonstrate that a public company in association non-profit organization (Agroforestry Promotion Nepal) can contribute a lot to national building.