While Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, attracts students from the country’s 77 districts, it still lacks technology training materials in their native language of Nepali. Sambhav Bhurtel, is a Microsoft Student Partner who has experienced this problem first-hand and is making a difference by developing video tutorials in Nepali.
Sambhav arrived in Kathmandu ready to study computer science with a laptop, internet, and little else. “Coming from Nepal, a country with relatively lesser opportunities and infrastructure, tech education is not of the best quality. Here, the only proper source of knowledge regarding tech is the internet. But the internet is too huge, and getting started with learning technology, finding the right content can be a very tough task.”
He described the beginning of college as a confusing and difficult time. “I was not enjoying what I was studying, because nothing made sense to me, so getting started with coding was quite tough.”
Despite a background in English, the language barrier was still an issue in their learning materials for him. “You have to learn English and then technology,” he said. “Had there been any sort of content in Nepali, it would have been very, very helpful.”
Things began to improve when he started using Microsoft tutorials. “I started grasping a lot of concepts that actually made sense to me, so that struck me and led me to organizing workshops on Microsoft Azure,” he said. As he conducted research for the workshops and presented them in Nepali, Sambhav realized he was retaining the information better, and he wasn’t the only one.
To further help his classmates, Sambhav started collaborating with them to develop tutorials of his own. “I met a lot of students and questioned them about basic cloud concepts, and the feedback I got shaped a certain path inside my mind,” he said.
This also shaped his belief that education is most effective when it considers the cultural experience of the student. “What is the point of learning about something if you cannot apply that in real life?” he said.
From this collaboration, he’s developed tutorials that he sees as a more direct way to deliver educational training. “This process creates a certain level of understanding which is very high compared to reading books or any form of text,” he said.
He believes that the role of community can be an important part of empowering students in developing countries. “That’s where the community can play a huge role. From getting started, to growing with tech, the community can be a platform of co-existence, learning, sharing, and helping each other. This way, learning becomes more fruitful and fun, leading to bigger innovations,” he said.
Sambhav credits the Microsoft Student Partner program and the Windows Insider Program with inspiring him to improve education for himself and others. “The Windows Insider Program is a platform for the people passionate about technology to come along with the evolution of it. [It] has helped me to open up to more possibilities, innovate, and get inspired by other brilliant people running their communities,” he said. Especially in my country, where getting familiar with tech is somewhat difficult, the Windows Insider Program has had a huge role in bridging that gap in my community.”
When asked about his impact on the lives of fellow students, he smiled and said, “Let’s just say it makes me the happiest person in the world.”
His firsthand access also has him planning for a brighter future for himself and Nepal. “The people of Kathmandu are the ones who actually move forward, get out of their comfort zone, and innovate,” he said. “Having access to technology means having access to the future. Rather than following the trends, you can be the person who creates the trends.”