Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepali government has banned 66 foreign-affiliated colleges because their programmes were not approved by the authorities. Hundreds of Nepali students who have already paid their tuition fees are the losers. The situation had existed for years, but the authorities decided only now to crack down, causing an upheaval in the country's higher education system, which has trained the country's elites.
Education Ministry spokesperson Janardan Nepal told AsiaNews that "these colleges are offering courses without prior approval as required by the law, taking in the fees without any assurance that classes will start."
"In two weeks, we have received more information about their behaviour," he added. Hence, "We urge students and parents to check the legal status of the programmes foreign-affiliated colleges offer because without government authorisation, no degree will be recognised."
Some of the schools are internationally renowned. They include the British College Institute of international management Science, the International School of Management and Technology, the Sunway International Business School, the Institute of Banking and Management Studies, the Softwarica College of IT & E-commerce and the Padmashree International College.
In order to attract a broader pool of potential students, including the less affluent, many schools have implemented annual or single-term masters, especially in economics and finances, advertising in the press. However, they have done it without prior government permission.
For the authorities, programme approval is part of its tax policy vis-à-vis new private educational programmes.
Subodh Shah was doing a Master of Business Administration at King's College in Kathmandu that turned out to be unauthorised and was eventually blocked.
"We are confused now," he said. "Many Nepalis have studied in these colleges. If government doesn't recognise them, what will their future be?" he added.
"The government remained quiet for these many years, but now I've paid my fees and if I withdraw, I can't get admission this year and I have to lose a year."