PABSON: Redefining Educational Dimensions in Post-pandemic Future- D.K. Dhungana


Mr. Durga Kumar Dhungana (DK Dhungana), the Founder Principal of Radiant Readers Academy and the Co-president of Central Executive Committee of PABSON is also the former district governor of Lions Club International 325 B2. Born in Laxmipur, Ilam, the eastern part of Nepal to educated family, he got inspired from his family to involve in the academic field.

Started his teaching career from his family’s school- Kankai Secondary School, Birtamode, Jhapa, he came to Kathmandu in 2048 BS and involved in teaching profession. Upon his arrival in Kathmandu, he started teaching in private schools and colleges which pushed him to establish school under his own management and administration. He established Radiant Readers Academy in Sanepa in 2056 BS with 19 students and has been working as Founder Principal. The school appeared for the then SLC in 2060 BS with outstanding results. The legacy has still been retained.

He has also established Oxbridge International College, Lalitpur and has been working as Founder CEO. Currently, more than 2000 students are studying here from Nursery to bachelor’s level.

He has spent around 33 years in academic field. He believes in the provision a holistic education for students that ensures total personality development and produces global citizens with human values. He is a dynamic personality who is involved in national and international organizations.

He also accomplished the responsibility as District Governor of Lions Club International 325 B2 in 2015/16 AD. The organization is spread over more than 210 countries which provides opportunity to connect globally through social service. In addition to this, he has been working as a freelance trainer for teaching faculty who particularly focuses on leadership development. He also has involvement in the development of modern agriculture system in Nepal.

His journey of PABSON is as long as the journey of his academic profession. As soon as he became an educational entrepreneur, he joined PABSON as a member. In 2056 BS, he entered PABSON as a member of district committee. Subsequently, he became the Deputy Secretary and Secretary in Lalitpur District Committee. He was elected secretary of the Central PABSON in the 10th National Convention. Then, he was elected General Secretary of Central Committee PABSON for two terms and senior vice president for one term. Currently, he is the outgoing co-president of Central Executive Committee of PABSON.

At the 15th National Convention, Mr. Dhungana is sure to get elected the President as he is only the candidate for the presidential post. Mr. Dhungana has a quality of dynamic and visionary leadership and has good knowledge, skills and experience to handle the organization smoothly. He is a fortunate academician to get an opportunity to work continuously at Central PABSON till the date. He has maintained a good relationship and direct contact with almost all the school principals across the nation. His noble and polite etiquette inspires the people in their first meeting. Therefore, he has been able to earn fame and fortune through various styles of leadership, and no one goes against his personal and organizational principles. Moreover, he is both the national and international trainer. He has visited most of the PABSON member schools across the country. College Readers has caught up with him for a short interview. Excerpts:

You have such a long involvement in private and boarding schools and their umbrella organization—PABSON. How is the present status of private and boarding schools in Nepal?

In fact, the history of extension and expansion of private and boarding schools is not so long. When the government adopted the concept of private education in 2036 BS, schools were established from private sector in some parts of Nepal. It spread countrywide only after 2046 BS. After the formation of the government of Nepali Congress, the government adopted a 3-pillar policy including the government, the private and the community investment in education.

The establishment of private schools have close relationship with the policy of Nepali Congress led government. Private education has made invaluable contributions to the delivery of quality education and preparation of qualified human resources in the country; however, the perspectives of government are not clear and positive towards private education sector. The government has failed to develop both farsighted education policy and participation of private sector in policy making level with the assurance of their investments as it exercises discriminatory and suppressive policy on private schools, colleges and universities. As a result, a kind of frustration and depression is looming amid the investors of private institutions.

The government has not yet realized the essence of private educational institutions, so it has adopted extremely standoffish educational policies to strangle their existence.

Your entailment in PABSON and private institutions since last 22 years is worthy of veneration. In your opinion, what is the role of private schools in education development in Nepal?

Private schools are playing a crucial role in the development of education in Nepal as a wider network of private schools spread across the nation after the political movement of 2046 BS. The private schools have set a new paradigm in educational sphere; as a result, a large number of globally competitive human resources have been prepared. As an estimation, more than 600 trillion has been invested by private sector in the educational sector which has contributed immensely to the diminishment of the government’s liability.

Besides this, private institutions are creating job opportunities for more than 2.5 lakh population directly, and an indirect assistance has been given to more than this population. Many education-based industries, such as paper industries, publication houses, pencil and pen productions etc. have been able to employ a large number of workers. Moreover, more than three million students are receiving quality education in Nepal in direct participation of private institutions.

Additionally, private educational institutions are exploring many sectors, innovating, and setting new dimensions to provide exclusive education to myriads of students. As technological development in education, technical education has become a basic privilege for the public due to the contribution of private sector. More importantly, if the government establishes an amicable relationship with the private institutions, they can compete globally in terms of quality education delivery. Therefore, private education is the urgent need of the nation for its academic, economic, social and political development.

In your experience, what should be the education of 21st century like and how it could be achieved? What is the role of PABSON in achieving such an education level?

PABSON was established in 2047 BS under the leadership of Ratna Bahadur Bajracharya. Our leaders contributed significantly and played a historic role in various turning points of PABSON’s journey. The PABSON has been led by robust leaders like Basanta Bahadur Shrestha, Rajesh Khadka, Umesh Shrestha, Baburam Pokhrel, Bhoj Bahadur Shah, Lakshya Bahadur KC, Bijay Sambhamphe and Tikaram Puri. However, it had to face insurmountable challenges throughout its journey. More excruciatingly, the PABSON had to endure a decade-long Maoist insurgency which brought about appalling predicaments in the existence of private institutions across the nation. Nevertheless, the PABSON strongly fought for the existence of private schools and ensured the guarantee of investment security of private investors. Similarly, it has been fighting for the regular participation of private schools’ representatives in the policy-making level.

The entire private schools faced lots of crises during the pandemic, and their conditions have not been normal even in the post-pandemic period. But PABSON created an alternative to mitigate the pandemic effects and initiated a virtual way of teaching, tv program, and various alternative ways with the use of IT. So, PABSON has been working a lot in bringing a paradigm shift in education for its development. Now PABSON is working for academic excellence. Our target is to connect education with employment which means we are working diligently for imparting proactive education. For achieving such target, trained teachers, infrastructure development, modern technology, and sustainable policy of government are the pre-requisites. So, we are planning to provide training to the teachers and connect pedagogy with digital system and lobbing with the government for preparing sustainable education policy and preparing dynamic as well as timely demanded curricula.

In fact, to incorporate curriculum in information system and to ensure diverse curriculum according to the local needs are the requisites of today. For example, curriculum should be prepared in relation with cordyceps (yarshagumba) for the learners of Jumla, tea related curriculum for Illam, mustard related curriculum in Chitwan and so on. PABSON has been advocating for the progressive pedagogy and endeavoring to associate local prospects with global opportunities. Apart from these plans and strategies, PABSON has been conducting discourse/ discussion sessions and expediting to the government for connecting local needs of education with national framework.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a great lesson as we have felt that the need of digital system is essential for our teaching and learning activities. In this regard, PABSON played a significant role in incorporating technology in education delivery. Subsequently, parents, teachers and students developed their skills, knowledge and efficiency with the help of technology. In this regard, to achieve 21st century learning skills, we all should be well-equipped with information and technology.

As a long-experienced personality, what are the essential qualities needed for the robust leadership?

A leader should be a good planner, convincing guide, and visionary path finder. S/he should be able to analyze the issue and make a right decision in right time. Moreover, s/he should have the convincing and motivating capacity to persuade others. In my view, leadership is the pilot who is sitting on the cockpit or driving seat of a vehicle. So, s/he should have clear vision to reach the destination by developing explicit and convincing perspectives.

The 15th National Convention has already chosen you as President before the Convention. What action plans and programs have you prepared to make PABSON more active and action oriented?

In fact, a presidential post in the highest-level of leadership in any organization. I have almost been elected the President. I have very convincing plans to accomplish for the sustainability and academic excellence of education with the efforts of private sector. In order to achieve the target, I have prepared the following action plan.

  • Making private friendly education and ensuring an amicable environment for investment from both national and global investors
  • Connecting internationally acclaimed pedagogies with digital system
  • Making all member schools truly institutional and developing their infrastructures
  • Bringing all the private schools under the PABSON directives
  • Ensuring capacity and quality enhancement of all the schools— private and government-funded  
  • Establishing the system of parent-orientation before the enrollment of their ward(s) which is in practice in many countries of the world.
  • Developing connectivity of Nepalese education with international level and organizing group study exchange programs including media, government representatives, parents and founders between national and international organizations
  • Making education system free from corporal punishment

In which position can we see PABSON in the future under your leadership?

I have the strategic planning to make PABSON internationally acclaimed organization during my tenure and to develop it as the apex level of academic organization. For this, we should understand that PABSON is not a political organization. So, I will not treat anyone based on their political ideology, caste, language, religion, region and establish PABSON as a purely professional organization. The organization will be center of hope for all private education institutions and the public.

Some private schools have not joined the PABSON. What should be done to bring them under the directives of PABSON?

Some schools are running autonomously, but they seem responsible towards PABSON since PABSON is the guardian of all private schools of Nepal. During the Covid-19 pandemic, PABSON took an initiative for distance learning education via television, radio and conducted online classes via zoom, MS Teams etc. In such a condition, all the private schools complied with technology-aided teaching strategies and benefitted greatly.

As an effective leader of PABSON who has held several positions in the various intervals of time, could you please tell us about the conspicuous challenges for the PABSON and gateways to solve them?

Challenges loom over any organizations for its growth and development. PABSON cannot be its exception. PABSON had faced many ups and downs as well as challenges during its long journey. It faced many unpleasant situations, such as a ten-year long civil war and many other internal and external challenges.

Similarly, government has been creating hurdles and obstructions in the smooth running of private education and educational institute time and again. PABSON has been facing all these challenges strongly and without fluctuation. Even today, PABSON is facing insurmountable challenges. It is a great challenge for PABSON that it has to retain its academic benchmarks with thoughtful decisions. Similarly, PABSON should be made professional and action oriented.  More importantly, it is also an urgent need for establishing a research center by PABSON, which one of the greatest challenges.

What suggestions would you like to convey to the delegates of the National Convention?

Our main dream is to take the laurel of PABSON to its greater heights with a wider network of member schools. So, let’s participate in the upcoming Convention to solidify our dream and abstain from groupism and political ideologies and elect a vibrant team by assessing their efficiency, behavior and working caliber to bring a historic transformation in the acclamation of PABSON. 


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