How we do it
The NCEP Scholarship is more than a financial bursary. It represents a promise that we make to every student who earns it, that we are committed to enabling a fulfilling and successful educational experience, and to helping open doors to his/her future aspirations. In short, it is what we do.
The key to upholding this promise is to know our students. We recognize that each student will face unique challenges, and also display unique strengths and interests. Part of being an NCEP scholar is being able to count on our support in overcoming these challenges and nurturing these strengths.
THE NCEP SCHOLARSHIP
There are two components of the NCEP Scholarship: financial support and social support.
The NCEP Scholarship does not have a fixed value; all scholarship costs are determined case-by-case, based on a needs assessment of each student. Different schools may have different tuition costs or exam fees. Some students may need additional forms of support, such as a bicycle in order to travel to school each day, or supplementary tutoring to address a particular need. In all cases, we have recognized the importance of school lunch programs in Nepal – many children skip school because a day spent at school means a day with no food – and we have added this into our standard scholarship costs. The average total cost to support our students is approximately $225/year.
The following table demonstrates what we consider core (pre-approved) costs, and discretionary costs (require approval by the NCEP Selection Committee, comprised of team members from Canada and Nepal).
NCEP’s dedicated team of over 25 Field Volunteers meet with each NCEP scholar, his/her teachers, and – if appropriate – his/her parents/guardian at least four times a year. This is not intended as a pressure-filled performance review, but to identify and address challenges and concerns, while also recording and celebrating success. The Field Volunteers, who are carefully selected and trained A-Level students (17-18 years old) also act as big brothers/sisters and positive role models for our scholars. If a volunteer identifies a student as ‘at risk’ of not passing his/her classes, further meetings with the student and teachers are organized to determine the best course of remedial action. During each of the four annual visits, volunteers will complete a Scholar Progress Report.
In keeping with our values of promoting equal access to education, NCEP actively engages children from marginalized or disadvantaged groups – we count females as one such group – when seeking new prospective scholars, though not exclusively. Our team in Nepal receives recommendations from orphanages, social support agencies, and schools of bright young children with supportive families/guardian who do not have the financial means to attend school. Volunteers meet with the students and their families, and assist with the completion of an Application Form (or Renewal Form for returning students). The number of students that our volunteers seek out each year depends on our budget/capacity for that year; to avoid creating disappointment, we would never canvass 100 applications if we only had 5 scholarships available. Instead, our volunteers pre-screen prospective students to ensure that every applicant has a very high chance of earning a scholarship.
All received forms – including input from volunteers – are reviewed and assessed by the NCEP Selection Committee.
To be considered eligible for an NCEP, an applicant must demonstrate:
Passion to learn
Supportive home environment
For renewing students, these criteria are the same, but the indicators are expanded. The below tables indicates how we make this assessment.
Again, the NCEP Scholarship is considered a long-term commitment. We pledge to only discontinue support for students if all other options have been exhausted, and it is determined that the NCEP Scholarship is no longer in the best interests of the student or the organization. We maintain a reserve fund in our budget at all times to act as a buffer, which will ensure that financial limitations during a slow fundraising year are never a reason for discontinuing a sponsorship.