The Bamboo Revolution at The World’s ‘Cheapest School’

By creating a “new design vocabulary”, engineers, architects and designers are redefining sustainable building, using one of nature’s strongest and most versatile materials: bamboo.

One of the most spectacular structures made out of bamboo are probably the handiwork of Ibuku), a team of designers and builders in Indonesia who aspire to make the most of this underestimated natural resource.


Elora Hardy leads Ibuku’s vision and sustainable design. She triggered a ‘bamboo revolution’ from her childhood home in Bali. Together, she and her team of talented Indonesian designers and architects, have built over forty new bamboo structures.

“So why Bamboo? Bamboo is the future. It is the most beautiful, versatile, tallest and strongest material that we could possibly choose,” John Hardy, Green School co-founder said.

The Bamboo Revolution at The World's 'Cheapest School'


The strength, beauty, renewability and sustainability of the bamboo make it one of the most environmentally conscientious building materials. A school in South Asia has decided to build everything in bamboo to offer the cheapest quality education you can find out there.

How many of us have experienced crushing student debts – witnessed the cost of college skyrocketing? Bearing in mind that no society is well-served by making income a barrier to education, a bamboo school in Nepal is offering graduate programs for a monthly fee of just 1$.

The Bamboo Revolution at The World's 'Cheapest School'  --


Uttam Sanjel once aspired to become a celebrated Bollywood actor. Over the years he has risen to fame, not because of his movies, but for an innovative education venture, popularly known as ‘bamboo schools’. As the nickname suggests, the schools are constructed mostly out of bamboo.

“Our tuition fees are as expensive as a cup of tea, yet the education we provide has changed lives,” Sanjel told Clapway.

Many institutions charge the maximum for fear of looking cheap and thereby losing status. But what if less was more? With this innovative approach, Sanjel describes himself as a disruptive force catalyzing and bringing about change in how we perceive quality education worldwide.

The school will soon be applying for a Guinness World Record to be recognized as the cheapest academic institution in the world.

“We want everyone to get a college education without having to worry about whether they can afford it or not,” he explained.

Established in 2001 with just a few hundred students, today, Samata is the largest chain of private schools in Nepal with over 42,000 students, and 45 branches across the country. The school located in Kathmandu survived the earthquake that hit the country on April 25 killing over 8,000 people and flattening entire villages in many districts.

People sought shelter in the school where they lodged for about a month, Ajay Adhikari Sushil who has been working as an administrator at Samata for the past 8 years, told Clapway.

Find out more about Ibuku and Nepal’s bamboo school by following their Facebook pages.

The Bamboo Revolution at The World's 'Cheapest School' -

All Bamboo School photos by Dinesh Golay.


A bamboo school might have all the benefits of sunlight, too!: