International education stakeholders in Nepal are raising concerns that the government has stopped issuing No Objection Certificates for non-higher education programs needed to study abroad.
Those impacted are non-university level students, such as those applying for language, vocational and advanced diplomas overseas. It is thought that the government restrictions aim to keep Nepalese young people in the country.
The NOC document is required for students to travel abroad and for international payments to institutions. Stakeholders are worried that the inability to access the certificates could heavily impact the ability for Nepalese students to travel overseas.
In 2019, the country’s Supreme Court issued a stay order to the education ministry after it stopped issuing the NOC to vocational and language students.
Founder and CEO of Motif Education Abroad, Umesh Pandey, told The PIE News that the entire student recruitment business in the country could be impacted.
“There are already thousands of students who will be impacted due to various reasons,” he said.
“It’s difficult to make government officials understand about the flexible qualification frameworks they offer and have for both the domestic and international students.”
The International Education Representatives’ Initiative of Nepal has met with the country’s minister for Education and briefed him on the difficulty the NOC is creating for students and stakeholders.
“It impacts highly to those providers who have accepted students only in their Diploma or Advanced Diploma programs or English program only,” Pandey detailed.
Delays in NOC issuance have been exacerbated as interest in international education opportunities has increased in the aftermath of the pandemic. Some 600 applications were made to the government on one day in early April.
A rule, meaning students wanting to join non-university education program such as language courses cannot access visas, came into effect on April, according to a ministry spokesperson.
However, the number of students receiving abroad study approval is increasing, with 81,573 individuals approved since the beginning of the current fiscal year in mid-July 2022, according to local media.
Sazeena Nemkul, from Kingsford International Institute and Kingsford Academy Australia, shared that government ought to rethink its action on NOCs.
“The market and visa rates for diploma and advanced diploma were already very low”
Six consultancy associations have attended a meeting with the minister of education Ashok Kumar Rai where they expressed “deep concern” of the NOC for non-higher education programs, Nemkul detailed.
“The market and visa rates for diploma and advanced diploma were already very low from last April/ May 2022 and that has impacted a lot,” she said.
“This prohibition is not just stopping students from their right to choose but forcing unemployment to many and business failures. I would say they should think from a bigger picture and revoke the decision on not just ‘No NOC’ but freedom to switch faculties as per their growing interest or past experiences,” she told The PIE.
“Language or skilled-based degree (Certificate, Diploma and Advance Diploma) can help international students to land in many scopes.
“I wish our government will re think on this matter and think it in a bigger picture to have their youth come back home with better skills, knowledge and experiences along with the international degree,” she added.
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