Happy House Foundation (HHF), a Swiss not- profit foundation, has been working with Happy House Nepal (HHN), a Nepalese NGO working in education for-and child welfare in Nepal since 1996. Over the years the foundation had been spending a substantial amount of resources to educate those children in different private schools of Kathmandu. However the results with regards to their progress were rarely satisfactory.
Lack of sufficiently-trained sensitive professionals, increased emphasis on theories and standardized exams, poor delivery of instructions and other ill practices in those schools were major reasons, which prompted HHF in initiating a school that was significantly different. The foundation motivated by its conviction that a holistic approach to education, which focuses on the child as the center for learning; would be a pioneering project. Thus proving of value to children across diverse communities in Nepal.
In the picture: Baron Guy Ullens and Myrium Ullens, Patron, Ullens School
Baron Guy Ullens and Myrium Ullens, the founders of HHF agreed for initial investments for the project. Som Paneru, the President of the Ullens Education Foundation selected Medin Lamichhane as the project lead. Lamichhane was then sent to the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York with an aim of designing a model progressive education in Nepal that would aim at being the Center of Excellence in Education.
Upon graduating from the Bank Street School of Education in 2004 (May), Lamichhane started reviewing the national curriculum to initiate a short-term pilot project to train schoolteachers to instruct the requirements of the Nepalese Curriculum through the Bank Street approach to education. The training was aimed at developing the skills of novice teachers and integrating the model of progressive education to the Nepalese context. Back then, the country was suffering from the decade long Maoist insurgency.
Despite the political upheaval, 20 teachers were hired and scheduled for intensive paid training in the December of 2005.
In January 2006, ‘Ullens Education Foundation’ was legally registered with Som Paneru as its president. The foundation also partnered with the Bank Street School of Education to develop the Ullens School as a Laboratory School that applies the Bank Street approach to quality education in Nepal.
The Ullens School opened its doors to educators and learners in May 2006, with Medin Lamichhane as its principal.