23 March 2019: Amid regular news reports and stormy social media posts highlighting Nepalese students’ miseries as they pursue higher education in Australia, the Embassy of Nepal has invited some 30 “stakeholders” to Canberra for a daylong brainstorming.
The Nepalese mission, which currently does not have an ambassador since the last one had to leave Australia amid nasty human trafficking allegations, is organising the “consultation” with an aim “to discuss on issues of Nepalese students and role of concerned stakeholders”.
The embassy wants to identify “major issues and problems of Nepalese students”, causes of these problems and finally discuss the role of different stakeholders.
The “different stakeholders” the embassy has invited include education agents, lawyers, honorary consuls of Nepal in various states and also officials from Non-Resident Nepali Association.
It is understood that the organisers of the consultation programme are seeking to “define the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders” as well as come up with recommendations on how best to manage grievances of Nepalese international as they chase their dream in Australia.
The sheer enormity of the education industry in Australia becomes apparent from the fact that a total of 185,447 student visas were granted between July and December, the first six months of the current financial year 2018/19. According to earlier reports by southasia.com.au, China was the biggest source country with 39,601 granted visas while India came second with 29,669. With 14,594, Nepal comes third while Brazil stands fourth with 9,228.
There have been occasions when Nepalese students took to Facebook en masse to voice their utter frustration with private colleges as well as with education agents through which they came to Australia. Some recent episodes included students’ claims that they were pitched colleges without proper accreditation and capacity.