Rs40 billion outflow by Nepali students

Naya Patrika, 23 July

Nepali students going abroad for higher studies spent 19.7% more in the past year than during the previous one, reaching Rs40.09 billion.

Australia was the destination for 60% of the 63,259 students who took no-objection letters from the Ministry of Education (MoE). Five years ago, only 25,025 Nepali students went abroad to study, spending Rs15.12 billion.

After Australia, the main destinations for students are Japan, Cyprus, India, China, Canada, United States, New Zealand, South Korea and UAE. However, since students going to India do not need no-objection certificates, the proportion going to India is likely to be higher.

Records show Nepali students went to 69 countries to study, even to destinations where the standard of education is not as high as Nepal. Some of the relatively obscure countries are Malta, Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Costa Rica, Armenia and even Antigua & Barbuda.

“The reason more students are going abroad is that they know they can also work while enrolled,” explained Maheswar Sharma of the MoE office that distributes no-objection certificates.

Even though Japan is still number 2, the number of students going to that country has dropped from 10,363 to 8,523. The US has also dropped from fourth position to the seventh most popular destination for Nepali students, receiving 1,491 students, 300 less than the previous year.

However, Cyprus has emerged as the number 3 destination for Nepali students, with its numbers growing three-fold in the past year to 2,302. MoE officials said the reason for the increase could be that it is relatively easier to get admission into colleges there, and students hold the hope of going from there to Europe. The UAE also saw an increase and now ranks 10, with 849 students going there last year.

Ram Sharan Sapkota at the MoE lists some reasons why Nepali students are going abroad in ever-increasing numbers: “They want to earn money while studying, it is prestigious and there is peer pressure to go abroad, to come back to Nepal with better prospects, and because of the lack of quality higher education in Nepal.”

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