Nepal to continue issuing no objection certificates for non-university coursesGovernment reverses its earlier decision amid pressure from stakeholders.
The government has backtracked on its last month’s decision that denied No Objection Certificates (NOC) to Nepali students for joining diploma, advanced diploma and language courses abroad.
Issuing a directive, the Ministry of Education had stopped issuing the permits starting April 2 reasoning that students will be allowed to go abroad only for pursuing university courses. Diploma, advanced diploma and language courses are non-university programmes.
“NOCs will be issued to all students whether they want to enrol for university or non-university courses. However, such students must be high school graduates,” Krishna Kapri, a joint-secretary at the ministry, told the Post.
Asked why the permits were stopped for around three weeks, he said, “It was because of the confusion at the NOC department.” Although government officials refuse to admit having backtracked on their decision, it is apparent that the policy reversal was the result of a sustained pressure by the association of the education consultancies and the association of the education institutions offering technical education in Australia.
Various associations representing education consultancies had met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Education Minister Ashok Rai, and other officials demanding that the ban be lifted.
According to education consultancies, thousands of students who travel to Australia enrol in vocational and training courses. Over 60 percent of the 121,000 students who acquired NOCs in 2022 were Australia-bound.
The ban in the NOC had also affected the students aiming to pursue higher study in Japan where studying language for six months or a year is mandatory before joining academic programmes in most universities. Japan is the second most preferred academic destination after Australia for Nepali students.
On April 19, the officials of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) met Nepali embassy officials in Canberra saying they were concerned at the Nepal government’s decision to stop its citizens from travelling overseas to undertake skills training courses.
“In a crushing move for Australia’s international education sector, the Nepalese government has stopped issuing no-objection certificates for students planning to study skills training or language courses abroad,” Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive, said in a statement.
Officials say now onwards, NOCs will be issued only for the academic institutions that are recognised by Nepal government. “We have a list of hundreds of academic institutions from 106 countries. If we receive applications for NOCs for institutions that are not on our list, we will inquire about their status through our missions before issuing an NOC,” said Kapri. The directive also says a new list of foreign educational institutions will be prepared and NOCs will be issued only for such institutions.
Education consultancy service providers, however, say the provision is restrictive which is against the students right to choose to study wherever they want. “We want this directive to be annulled,” said Prakash Pandey, president of the Education Consultancies Association Nepal. “He said the very provision of making NOC mandatory must be scrapped.”