The trend of organizing education and book fairs is on the rise in Nepal in the recent years. Many organizations including academic ones are involved in the fairs with the aim of promoting their business. These events have provided a learning platform to many people and helped widening their personal perception.
Education and book fairs
Education fairs are amongst the most popular way of meeting and recruiting national and international students for colleges and universities all over the world. Be it organised by any commercial companies, national bodies, professional associations, universities and schools, they provide an ideal meeting opportunities for students and education institutions. In their simplest form, education fairs offer space for one’s institution to meet prospective students interested in taking the types of programmes that they offer.
Likewise, book fairs are trade exhibitions organized with the objective of publishing, selling and exchanging books. Like education fairs, book fairs can also provide the forum to book lovers to gather information from one place about the new and latest publications of their interests.
Education and book fairs in Nepal
Education fairs commercially started 15 years ago in Nepal and Global Exposition and Management Services (GEMS) deserves the credit for beginning such fairs. At that time, there were only 25 participants, with 10 book stalls and 15 educational organisations whereas today there are 47 and 61 participants respectively. In the beginning, colleges hesitated to take part in the fair because it was a new concept to them. As every stall has to pay money to the organizers, they doubted whether the money they invested would yield anything or not.
Now, more than a dozen commercial companies focus on event management, especially education fairs. Direction Nepal which has its office at World Trade Centre (WTC) is also one of the oldest organizations focused in organizing education fairs. It has organized 10th series of Higher Education and Career Fair so far.
Since 2007-2008, some non-commercial organizations entered this field to organize education fairs. For instance, Education Consultancy Association of Nepal (ECAN) has already organized four educational fairs which focus more on abroad studies. National Consultancy Association of Nepal (NECA), another non-profit organization, also held two educational fairs focusing on abroad education. Likewise, one of the biggest educational fairs (Ambition Education Fair) is held by APCA House, a media outlet. British Council every year organizes UK education fair and the venue is usually the World Trade Centre.
Some educational fairs are organized in hotels and Everest Hotel is famous for that. Around eight events regarding Indian education have been organized at Everest Hotel since 2009 and they are mostly organised between Jestha and Shrawan. AFFAIRS, WINEXPO, Global Education Counseling are some Indian companies organizing Indian education fairs.
Indian Education Fair is organized also by Indo World Consultancy, International Education Fair if organized by PAC Asia, Scholars Choice Consultancy, and New Zealand Education Fair is organized by Dolphin Education Consultancy.
Visitors of education and book fairs
Visitors of education fairs are the students especially after School Level Certificate (SLC), plus two and higher levels. Along with them parents, college operators, professionals are also interested to visit fairs. Likewise, in book fairs book lovers, students and all literate people participate.
However, in the 15th Nepal Education and Book Fair 2011 many children of various schools also visited the event while the organizers offered materials for children as well. At the fair Midas Education, EKTA Books and others focused on children.
Talking about the trend of visitors, Keshab Khatri, Business Development Manager of GEMS, said there was an increasing trend. He informed that in the first year, 9,000 people visited the show and the number is increasing every year. Last year, there were around 97,000 visitors in the nine day event. This shows that the exhibition is meeting its social goal.
Likewise, Shyam Kandel, media advisor of ECAN, said in the mega event around 200,000 people visit the fair and in case of small events around 20 to 50 thousand visitors visit the stalls.
Around 150 firms have been taking part in the big fairs. Earlier, some events used to take place at Birendra International Convention Center and now Bhrikuti Mandap is the only one place to organize big fairs. In regard to cost, around 50 to 70 lakhs of money is being generated in big events and up to 20 to 25 lakhs in small fairs.
The main objective for organizing the event is to create a common platform for school, college and university students, educational professionals, parents, educational and training institutions from home and abroad, consultants, authors, printers, publishers, booksellers, readers, distributors and the general enthusiastic public. Manager Khatri said fairs had been able to create massive awareness about the importance of education and also increased the reading habit in general public.
Khatri informed that in the 15th Nepal Education and Book Fair 2011, 65 thousand people visited the event and the transaction volume of the fair amounted to Rs. 17,500,000. The exhibition was organised in collaboration with National Booksellers and Publishers Association of Nepal. The event will be followed by Education and Career Expo from June 3- June 6 to be held by APCA House.
Ramchandra Timothy, chairman of the National Booksellers and Publishers Association of Nepal, informed that they had imported books worth Rs. 25,000,000 and they were able to sell more than half of those books. Timothy said if the government supported their campaign, it would be easier to organize the fair.
Ram Kumar Shrestha, teacher of the Shankerdev Campus arrived at the fair with his family. He informed that earlier he used to visit the fair alone but this year he visited with his family. He said that the children become better by visiting such fairs. He bought lots of books for himself, his wife and children. He also said he visited several event even a single event.
Alisha Limbu, class nine student of the Loyalty Academy, said she did not have a chance to buy the books as her school took them to the fair without information. She was very interested to buy the novel Sumnima.
Talking about the visitors, education expert Biddya Nath Koirala said people are attracted to visit the fair in search of newness. He added that if the organizers can coordinate with various education related bodies they can offers things that the visitors search for.
Koirala said it is better to organie fairs in fixed times with coordination among various organizers rather than organizing them in competition. If that happened people from remote places too could be able to visit the event and get their needs fulfilled.
(Source: The Rising Nepal)