So why Nepal? In our previous introductory blog post, we talked about what motivated us to begin TECHRISE, based on our personal story. Of course intuition is what got us thinking, but we do have some hard facts that helped make the decision to start our venture. Here we would like to clarify the issue is that we are trying to address, and why we think it makes sense to teach coding in Nepal.
Underemployment, rather than unemployment of the youth, is a serious issue in Nepal especially in the informal sector. The lack of employment opportunities hits hard especially on the rapidly growing and young population: 70% are under the age of 35, and the median age is 21.4, according to the 2011 census. While the issue largely stems from the stagnant economy that does not have the capacity to provide sufficient employment opportunities, there is also a problem on the supply side too. Educational and training institution are unable to provide the youths with adequate skills and career counseling. Therefore, many youths are not prepared to join the skilled workforce that would allow them to earn higher wages.
The Nepalese economy relies heavily on remittances from overseas. As of 2013, $US 5.5 billion was sent back to Nepal in the form of remittance. This amounts to 23% of the country’s GDP. Because of the lack of economic opportunities domestically, labor migration, usually in the unskilled and semi-unskilled sector, is a widely chosen option in order to earn a living wage. And the numbers of labor permits being issued for foreign employment have been increasing. The popular destinationa in the recent years are Malaysia (40.87%), Saudi Arabia (22.92%), Qatar(20.28%), UAE (11.23%) and Kuwait (2.12%).
Rapid rise in labour permits issued to migrant workers from Nepal
Department of Foreign Employment, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Nepal
As categorized in the youth population ourselves, we are a strong believer that the future of our country is dependent on our generation. However, can we really expect there to be innovation and progress if a large young population is not even in the country? Without the Nepalese youth staying in the country in the long term, who will lead future business and drive growth? A possible solution to this in our opinion? – Learning to code. This highly employable skill would give individuals the liberty to work from anywhere at any time. We think that this is especially valuable in developing countries like Nepal, because people would be able to seek economic opportunities while staying in the country. We think that once the individual reaches some level of economic stability, and are incentivized to stay in the country, many more can begin creatively envisioning future of the country.
Why teach coding in Nepal?
Growing Tech Trend in Colleges
Correlated with the global demand for web developers, there is a growing tech trend in Nepal too among companies as well as colleges. Foreign companies are outsourcing in search for lower-cost services, and domestically too, there is increasingly a demand for developers. The pay is appealing ー developers and programmers in Nepal earn on average 65,000 NPR a month (approx. US $605). That’s almost double the average salary in Nepal, which is around 35,018 NPR (approx. US $326).
Currently there are 40 something colleges that offer IT related courses in Nepal, and it seems like there are more to come. The problem though, is that often times there is a mismatch between what is taught in these courses, and the skills required in the job market. As a result many are not job ready, and a good number of people do not, or cannot go into the IT field upon graduation. TECHRISE could help fill this gap by training students to become professional full-stack developers in a matter of three months.
Despite Nepal being one of the poorest countries in Asia, Nepal has shown significant strides in poverty reduction—more precisely, a 5% decrease in 6 years from 2004 to 2010. This indicates a growing middle class where people are healthier, better educated, and have larger purchasing power to obtain more consumption goods. More people now have access to the internet, especially with the increase in mobile phone usage, which helps them make more informed decisions. We believe that these strides (especially in central Nepal) -- where more people are becoming accustomed to technology, have an educational foundation to utilize it at a higher level, gives TECHRISE the potential to succeed.
To sum it up, there are some burning issue in Nepal which we see teaching coding and supporting the youth's career in the IT field, as a possible solution. There also seems to be a good foundation in Nepal that could make this solution a viable one. There are many concerns at the same time ー the lack of electricity and stable wifi connectivity for example ー but we think that it's worth a try attempting to overcome these barriers.
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