Many education consultancies are still operating without government permitsOfficials say they are waiting for the Federal Education Act to define their mandate to oversee education consultancies.
The Education Consultancy Service and Language Institution Directive 2011, has made it mandatory for all foreign education consultancies to get approval from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. As per the directive, the concerned consultancies were supposed to obtain the ministry’s approval by November 20, 2013.
However, six years after the directive, hundreds of consultancies are still operating without the ministry’s approval. The ministry has so far granted operation permits to 1,473 consultancies and language institutions.
But some representatives of education consultancies say that nearly half of the consultancies and language institutes in the country are not registered with the ministry.
Santosh Pyakurel, the coordinator of National Educational Consultancies Association, one of five umbrella bodies of education consultancies in the country, said there are at least 1,300 consultancies waiting for the ministry's accreditation.
The Accreditation Department of the ministry, according to Pyakurel, has only been renewing the already registered consultancies and language institutes for the last three years, even though it has several authorities.
For instance, Clause 4 of the directive grants the department authority to issue accreditation as well as revoke registrations of education consultancies. But the department has not taken action against any education consultancies despite many reports of students being cheated.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Nepali students in different technical institutes in Australia faced problems after their registrations were revoked for failing to abide by the existing education rules. Though the study team showed dozens of education consultancies did not fulfil the requirements to send students abroad for higher studies, not a single of them were booked.
The officials at the department say they are in a dilemma over their authority after the country embraced federalism. They say they are unclear whether it is the responsibility of the federal government or the provincial governments when it comes to the regulation of education consultancies. “We have not been working actively for last few years because there is no legal clarity,” Phatik Bahadur KC, chief of the department, told the Post. He said they are waiting for the Federal Education Act, which will define the authorities of the different tiers of governments.
KC admits that they haven’t been working proactively in recent years. The department also has stopped the monitoring and supervision of the consultancies. The directive says every consultancy must have at least two trained counsellors to provide accurate information to the students and there must be transparency in the fee they charge to the students. However, in the lack of monitoring from the department, the consultancies are found breaching the provisions.