Karkhana - Changing the Education System in Nepal

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Jun 14, 2021 6 min read
Karkhana - Changing the Education System in Nepal

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Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Karkhana.

The importance of "4C Education," which consists of "communication," "collaboration," "creative thinking," and "creativity," is vital because it helps children achieve their full potential. The aim of this educational policy is to develop proactive employees who can function both independently and collaboratively.

A group of engineers and artists wanted a change in the age old educational system in Nepal and came up with a very creative and much-needed idea to reform the system. Karkhana was founded by this community with the aim of establishing a makerspace. This quickly developed into a catalyst for an environment that inspires children to explore, invent, and collaborate rather than memorize their syllabus in the "traditional" way.

Karkhana - Company Highlights

Startup Name Karkhana
Headquarters Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Industry Commercial Educational Services, EdTech
Founders Sakar Pudasaini, Sunoj Shrestha, Suresh Ghimire and Pavitra Gautam
Founded 2012
Current CEO Pavitra Gautam
Website www.karkhana.asia

About Karkhana and How it Works?
Karkhana - Founder and History
Karkhana - Logo
Karkhana - Mission and Vision
Karkhana - Business Model
Karkhana - Growth
Karkhana - Challenges Faced
Karkhana - Future Plans
Karkhana - FAQs

About Karkhana and How it Works?

Karkhana is the owner and operator of a makerspace and education business that aims to provide a truly unique learning experience. Teachers, developers, designers, artists, and scientists transform the classroom into a lab for exploration, designing workshops to teach concepts from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics contemporaneously with providing students with 21st-century skills such as Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication.

They are a co-curricular after-school program with a distinctive learning style. The company's strategy is to teach their students one important lesson: the world is malleable. Karkhana serves 5,500 students annually through co-curricular activities in schools and after-school enrichment programs in 20 schools.

Schools and other organizations in Nepal are established with the purpose of fixing the floor i.e. just the bare minimum. We, on the other hand, are trying to raise the ceiling – we want to set a benchmark and influence others to do better.

They are currently reaching out to 2600 students every week across 80 classes delivered to 17 local schools. BeeCreative and the Karkhana Innovator's Club are two separate initiatives.

Karkhana - Founder and History

Sakar Pudasaini, Β Sunoj Shrestha, Suresh Ghimire and Pavitra Gautam founded Karkhana, the education company based in Nepal.

Sakar was a part of a month-long event in 2012 where he discussed the need for "makers rooms" in Kathmandu. At the same time, members of the Robotics Association Nepal were holding robotics-related sessions and activities. At the Google Developer Group Bar Camp, he met Sunoj Shrestha, Pavitra Gautam, and Suresh Ghimire and thought of merge-up.

The Karkhana' s Team
The Karkhana' s Team

The first few years were difficult, and their company did not succeed. They started a product design business, focusing on developing new products to sell to potential customers, after realizing that Nepal lacked any and deciding to be the first to contribute in that area. That's how they came up with Karkhana as a team.

They began as a product design firm but quickly discovered that due to a lack of automation, mass production was impossible. They also lacked the human capital to do so because people lacked the motivation or mindset to try something different. That's when the team realized the ecosystem required more creativity and tinkering! They came to the conclusion that the education sector appeared to be a wide enough space for their concept's long-term viability, growth, and development.

They began with robotics lessons. Then they decided that they needed to extend and redesign. As a result, they began bringing in experts and specialists from different fields, such as farming and wildlife, to share their expertise. The classes developed over time as a result of the accumulation of ideas.

Karkhana' s Logo
Karkhana' s Logo

Karkhana - Mission and Vision

Karkhana' s mission statement says, "We created Karkhana to nurture a spirit of innovating locally so as to make a global impact. We want to empower people with the skills & attitudes that will help them build their future and the future of their community."

According to the company, they would accomplish their goal by demonstrating to children how to use science and technology in innovative ways. Children can discover how science and technology will assist them in resolving issues in their own lives, their communities, their countries, and the world at large.


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Karkhana - Business Model

Karkhana makerspace was established in 2014 with a ten thousand euro investment from the co-founders. They then rented the space, began purchasing materials for the workshops, and completed the rest by hand. The business model is focused on the children attending the workshops paying a monthly membership fee.

They continue to invest in modern equipment (including a laser cutting machine), tools, and the recruitment and training of new teachers. Human Capital (salaries/training) receives 40% of the budget, while classes resources (materials) receive 15%, operating costs receive 13%, sales and marketing receive 13%, and rent receives 7%.

Karkhana - Growth

"Actually, one passerby found our concept interesting and encouraged us to have a program. He even got his own kid as well as a few others for the after-school program. After that, quite a few more students came in on referral. Then, a few schools heard about us and wanted to collaborate, and they were even willing to pay. That is how we stumbled upon our selling point. We went from 5 students to 3500!", said Pavitra.

They've been creating innovative educational content and hosting fun workshops for kids aged 8 to 14 in their space and in schools for the past two years to help them explore the power of fabrication and imagination. They taught 1400 students per week in 2016, and by the end of 2017, they plan to be teaching +3000 students per week! Karkhana is a for-profit corporation. They also founded Kharkana Samuha, a non-profit organization in 2016, to organize workshops for children from underserved communities.


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Karkhana - Challenges Faced

They are engineering graduates who never imagined themselves as teachers, according to Sarkar. They had difficulty communicating with the students because they didn't know how to maintain their interest and focus. They had no idea how to run a classroom or create lesson plans. They needed to seek advice from a few mentors in order to succeed.

The most difficult task they faced was finding good people and teachers. They also follow the national curriculum; schools need 100 percent enrollment, so it must be mandatory for all students. And though their children seem to be really involved, some parents are hesitant to do so. Finding a balance between versatility and structure is a challenge for them as an organization.

Karkhana - Future Plans

Despite their slow progress in the educational sector, the Karkhana founders believe they still face a larger problem. Four million children in the United States currently lack access to a decent education. Slowly but steadily, they want to change that. In the future, they hope to reach out to more than 10,000 children, up from the current number of 2600.

We are seeing some natural limitation in growth here at Kathmandu. So, one strategy is to move on to more cities. The other strategy is to collaborate with teachers to empower them to run their own classes. This way we can design the lesson and kits for the teachers and the program will be self-sustaining, said Pavitra Gautam.

Karkhana - FAQs

What does Karkhana do?

Karkhana is the owner and operator of a makerspace and education business that aims to provide a unique learning experience.

Who founded Karkhana?

Sakar Pudasaini, Β Sunoj Shrestha, Suresh Ghimire and Pavitra Gautam founded Karkhana, the education company based in Nepal.

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