‘Ministry of Education should step in’Last year, over 50 Nepali students were sent to St Lucia, a small island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea. They were assured that once there, they would be transferred to universities in the United States. The students, however, remained stranded for over a year before they were finally able to return home empty handed.
Last year, over 50 Nepali students were sent to St Lucia, a small island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea. They were assured that once there, they would be transferred to universities in the United States. The students, however, remained stranded for over a year before they were finally able to return home empty handed. Around 20 students are still stranded in the island country. Around half of dozen education consultancies, from the Kathmandu and Chitwan, were found involved in duping the students into taking the leap of faith. Similarly, the Metropolitan Police Crime Division, in August last year, raided over three dozens of education consultancies and language institutes on charges of illegal operation and document forgery while sending students abroad on hefty fees.
These are few instances that portray how students continue to be cheated by frauds looking to capitalize on their aspirations. With the increase in reports of fraudulence, the Ministry of Education on the recommendation Education Consultancy Association of Nepal (ECAN), issued the Education Consultancy Service and Language Instruction Directives 2011, making it mandatory for all the consultancies to obtain approval from the Ministry. However, half a decade since the directive was formulated, the registration process is yet to be completed. The ECAN officials blame the lack of monitoring mechanism as the main problem behind the fraudulent activities.
“None our members have been found involved in such activities. However, we are blamed for every malpractice in the sector,” said Rajendra Baral, former president of ECAN. He said that around 1,500 consultancies and language institutions are functioning across the country, while just 340 of them are their registered. As claimed by the Baral, a majority of the institutions that were booked by the Crime Division were not the member of the ECAN.
According to Baral, in addition to the directives, ECAN itself has developed a code of conduct to regulate the consultancies under it. It has directed all of its members to develop service charters that are on display to all the visitors. Those who violate the code of conduct can have their memberships scrapped.
“But ECAN cannot take legal actions; however, the government authorities who should be carrying them out seem reluctant,” Baral added. The ECAN officials see the government as responsible for students being cheated in many cases. Student cannot get enrolled abroad without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) letter from Ministry of Education. However, the Ministry has been found issuing NOC for countries not known as education destinations—St. Lucia being an example. The MoE has issued NOC to 76 countries so far.
“We request the government not to issue NOC for countries which do not have diplomatic relationship with Nepal,” said Bishnu Hari Pandey, vice-chairperson of ECAN. He said that in an initiative to stop malpractice ECAN, in consultation with MoE and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is preparing a list of countries which are safe for Nepali students to travel for abroad study.