Changes in visa policies and stricter regulations in destination countries have led to a sharp decline in the number of Nepali students going abroad for studies. A sharp decline in the number of students seeking no-objection certificates (NOC) at the Ministry of Education shows the decrease in the number of students going abroad.
Records at the ministry show that the number of students acquiring such letters went down by more than 55 percent in the fiscal year 2010/11 as compared to the previous year. As government agencies have no system to record the exact number of students going abroad, the number of students acquiring the NOC is taken as the basis for calculating the figures. The ministry issued the letters to 26,948 students in the year 2009/2010. This came down to 11,912 in 2010/2011. With the adoption of tight visa policies and regulations on working hours by countries like the UK, the US and Australia—popular education destinations for Nepalis—the countries have witnessed a sharp fall in students’ applications.
The decline has also hit revenue collection at the Education Ministry. The collection went down to Rs 230 million in 2010/11 from the Rs 540 million the previous year.
Officials at the Education Consultancies Association Nepal (ECAN) say that as a majority of the Nepalis going to western countries depend on jobs in those countries for their education expenses, strict policies in the working sector have hit the flow of the students.
“Earlier, visa and working provisions in the countries were liberal. The drastic changes in one year alone have resulted in the decline in the number of students going abroad,” ECAN acting president Deepak Gurung said.
The number of students going abroad was just around 600 in 2008/2009. The next fiscal year saw the number rise to 24,824 as the UK liberalised its visa and work policies. The share of UK taking in Nepal students in 2010 was more than 70 percent with a total of 19,000 students going there.
(Source: The Kathmandu Post, an Article by Binod Ghimire)