This Institute is still known by its original name ‘Vanasthali’ though its nomenclature and the whole look have changed, If not all, the first name Vanasthali occupies the second place even in the changed context by love and admiration. Vanasthali Vidhyashram was founded in 1951 AD by late Prof. Bhuwan Lal Joshi and an educationalist late Honourable Vijaynandan Joshi jointy. The school was housed in a two storeyed mud building with tiled roof at Balaju, six kilometers from downtown Kathmandu. The first batch of students came from the founders’ family to be followed by the children of the neighborhood. Classroom size grew gradually, though school education was considered to be a privilege of the wealthy people.
To open a school itself was a great challenging task in those days when less than 1% people were literate in Nepal and the Rana autocracy was hostile to any academic activities. In spite of all kinds of harassments, the late founders were not to be daunted. But late Mr. Bhuwan Lal Joshi’s quest for knowledge made him go for universities in the USA where he studied varied faculties of knowledge and became a professor later. In short time his versatile personality
won fame, favour and love in the world of men of letters and passed away quietly. Another founder late Honourable Vijayanandan Joshi, a pedant and born-teacher remained a source of inspiration to fight the multifarious problems that the school had been confronted with. He died of asthma and prostrate-gland. The school was virtually crippled by the demise of them.Thus the school was left at the mercy of the amateurs.
Parents were sceptic about the ability and experience of the new leadership. Thus the number of students went down to a margin. The Government came to rescue it from its immature death by providing it some financial and manpower support. Undoubtedly, the government’s assistance helped to prolong the life of the school but it had lost its vitality as well as the will to
survive on its own. The new Education System Plan came into effect in 1973.
Another sick school, Siddhartha English Boarding School, got amalgamated with Vanasthali Vidhyashram and it was renamed by joining the first names from each of them Siddhartha Vanasthali Secondary School. The amalgamation brought about nothing new but a new long name. The old guards of Vanasthali Vidhyashram were chased away one after another.
Struggle for survival was revitalized by appointing a new headmaster. But in three months he too was chased away by the students and his opposers.
The coming and going of the new headmasters and the teachers had been a usual henomenon of the school. Such a trend continued till the 12th successor Mr. Laxman Rajbanshi took over the school management in July 1973. He was threatened by the demoralizing situation in his own empire and hostile creditors outside. He was being overburdened by the public debt of Rs. 36000 plus three months salary of the teachers. He mortgaged his personal image, peace and happiness. The sword of Damocles was hanging over the new headmaster’s head as well. There was a lack of everything – teachers, furniture, class-room, stationery, etc. Above all, there was the lack of moral courage among his colleagues. Besides financial problems, the academic standard was too frustrating to attract the talented students, which precipitated the situation. It was feared that the dilapidated school building would remain like a haunted house and would be deserted by the remaining children (78) in no time. Before it happened the century’s old building was pulled down to the earth by the monsoon rain and storm.
The heightening of the teachers’ moral was the most difficult task the school was confronted with. A new scheme had been worked out in order to win over the support of the parents. Intelligent as well as poor students’ scholarship, financial incentives to the teachers and several other benefits were offered to revive the moribund condition of the teachers and the taught. The untiring efforts compounded with hard labour of all teaching staff, a new image of the school emerged into light. In two years time (1975) all the debt was cleared and students were successfully placed in the merit list in the Nationally Controlled School Graduation Examination (S.L.C.). To some extent the result regained the loast prestige. The new students began to pour in every year. Number of students raised considerably from class one to ten within 12 years and the teachers’ number too swelled up.
In order to maintain its reputation as the topmost school for the last three decades on the basis of its S.L.C. result, curricular activities and physical facilities, the management gradually went on cutting down the number of students up to the manageable size. With the opening of tertiary level classes (XI and XII) and Three Years Bachelor’s Degree in commerce and management (BBS) it has been renamed SIDDHARTHA VANASTHALI INSTITUTE. The Institute has been doing its best to satisfy the community’s demand for quality education though there is no unanimity in opinion about what quality education is and should be, in face. However, it has committed itself to develop it into a full fledged Institute with multi-dimensional academic research in education and cultural activities.
Above all, the motto of the Institute is to work for peace, good understanding and development of friendship between and among the people of different nationalities. It feels that for the stable peace on earth understanding among the people of different nations is a must. Understanding leads to friendship which only can guarantee peace. Therefore, it solemnly pledges to utilize its resources to preservation of peace through education which is the most popular effective media. Keeping this motto in view, it has initiated the exchange programmes with different countries. Exchange between the students, teachers, scholars and people of different vocations in a reciprocal basis was successfully carried out. Under this programme it had received delegations from former G.D.R., the USA, former U.S.S.R., the U.K., Holland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan and Afghanistan.
It is strictly a Public Trust. There are School and Campus Managing Committees headed by a Board of Trustees. Its liabilities as well as assets belong to the Institution as long as it exists, otherwise it is a public property which can be claimed by none. With some surplus budget it has invested about 5 million rupees in the school building construction in the Mulpi Village East No. 1 besides offering affiliation to different schools in Nepal. The Institute has already purchased about 22 ropanies of land in Hetauda where it plans to start its branch in the near future.
The main aim of either opening or affiliating different schools in rural areas is to make education easily available to the children of underprivileged classes with minimum cost under their natural geo cultural settings.
The noteworthy feature of its delivery system is democratic in its spirit and collective responsibility in practice. All the school personnel are individually as well as collectively responsible. Teachers are involved in both decision making and implementation as well. The sense of accountability in implementation has been proved to be the effective force of all the agencies of the Institute.
To make the objective realistic and more progressive it expects unbiased criticism or suggestion from the education loving people in and out of Nepal. It believes that education is the universal asset and therefore, to keep the educational environment clean and healthy is the responsibility of all.
In recognition of the most commendable contribution to the development of the school into a full fledged Institute, Mr. Laxman Rajbanshi, an educationist in Nepal,has been honoured for life as the Founder of Siddhartha Vanasthali Institute. In recognition to Mr. Laxman Rajbanshi’s contribution to the development of overall education system in Nepal in general and his outstanding service to the Institute in particular, he has been recognized by awarding him with Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 4th class, Trishakti Patta 4th class, Gorkha Dakshin Bahu 3rd class, Trishakti Patta 3rd class, Gorkha Daskhin Bahu 2nd class and a National Education Award along with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Ministry of Education. He was an Advisor to the
Minister of Education, Culture and General Administration in 1990. He has engaged himself in developing viable education system in Nepal as one of the members of the National Education Commission. He will remain a source of inspiration to the teaching community as well as the symbol of the Institution.