How does the Nepalese government’s ban of permits for diplomas affect the students?
During the last FY 2021/22, Nepalese students sent NRs. 67.7 billion to 70 countries for abroad studies. Studying abroad has been a trend in Nepal, especially for higher education. Many students seek to study abroad because there are employment opportunities abroad during and after studies. Some students seek easy diploma and language courses to get visa approvals but their motives are to go abroad and work. There have been rising cases of harassments, fraud and scams in the higher education sectors. Usually, when too young students leave for abroad studies, they fall prey of scams and harassments easily along with the high level of capital flight abroad and lack of students in higher studies institutions in Nepal.
Before the year 2016 AD, all academic levels after the 10th grade; +2, intermediate level(s), undergraduate and higher degrees were considered as higher education. But according to the eighth amendment of the Education Act (2016), grades 11 and 12 were incorporated into school-level education, and only university-level education are considered higher education.
The government has issued a notice to halt providing No Objection Certificates (NOC) to students pursuing higher education in diploma levels already in 2016 but had continued issuing such letters until the first week of April, 2023. According to the Clause 3(b) of the Scholarships Act (1964), there is a legal provision that “No citizen of Nepal shall go abroad for higher studies without receiving an NOC letter to be issued by the Ministry of Education.”
So why did the Nepalese government suddenly halt the distribution of NOC for diploma level(s) and language based degrees? Maybe you will be surprised to know that this decision was made by the government back in 2016. The government had already halt the distribution of NOC certificates to Nepalese students back in 2019. The decision was reverted after around half a year of implementation in 2020; due to the pressures from educational consultancies and foreign universities; and other lobbyist group(s). It looks like a similar result is expected this time around as well. A record number of 116,000 Nepalese students received a NOC for higher studies in the fiscal year 2021/22 and as of this year, eighty two thousand Nepalese students have already received their NOC in the first nine months.
Generally, the diploma level courses are non-university courses, for students who have completed their 10th grade. The government plans to allow only students applying for undergraduate and higher level courses abroad. This decision has sparked a lot of controversy. Currently, the government is facing a lot of criticism for putting up this new rule into effect. Consultancies and prospective students, and student rights activists claim that the rule has jeopardized Nepali student’s constitutional rights related to freedom, human rights, and education.
The government claims that the rule, is a type of selective ban and has been implemented to curb the capital flight in diploma, advance diploma and language courses. On the other hand, the colleges and universities in Nepal claim that there is a lack of students enrolling for diploma level courses, which are cheaper and readily available in Nepalese soil.