UK visa processing issue Get over the hue and cry

Recently, the UK government stopped its visa process in Bangladesh, Nepal and some parts of India considering the unusual growth in visa applicants aspiring for education in UK. Another context in this regard that is also remarkable is the suspension of about 150 colleges by UK government charging them as being below standard. With these two incidents, Nepalese who have already been admitted to the colleges concerned are in deep trouble, and those have already paid for admission as the pre-visa procedure and aspiring to go to UK are also in trouble. The major concern here should be the future career of students and not the money that they have already paid. Unfortunately, the consulting agencies have been focusing more on money and not on the students’ future. The umbrella institution ECAN has declared that if the money is not returned by the concerned colleges, they are ready to go to the international court. This is how they are trying to shadow their weaknesses by trying to win the sympathy of parents who have paid for their children’s study.

Who is to blame for these incidents? The students or the ECAN or the government or the parents. Students want to study

abroad, and this is natural. They need to be advised properly, and this is the

duty of the mushrooming consulting agencies in Nepal. Parents need to be educated about the type of education their wards will be getting. The government should also have concerns over this major issue when their foreign currency has been in jeopardy in UK. In an estimate it is 20 million pounds, let alone from those in trouble in suspended colleges in UK.

There are push and pull factors in education. In our context, we have not been able to create pull factors so that people going abroad will come back and serve their country. Whatever the reasons, whether it is the chaotic political scenario or the quality less Nepali institutions or the ever increasing unemployment proportions or the sugar coated sweet dream of the students, all are working as push factors for our young generations to go abroad. The students give pressure to their parents to manage some funds which will be enough to pay for the tuition fees for one semester and the airfare. Many such parents have been compelled to do that for their children’s sake even by selling their land or putting their own house on collateral in commercial banks hoping that their children will earn and pay back later. Most of their dreams have turned to ashes when they came to learn that their children are having difficult times in the foreign land struggling for their subsistence. When they hear their child is one of the 12 other students staying in a single room in an unhealthy atmosphere, their heart is broken. When they know their child has transferred colleges simply to find jobs, they feel difficulty in their lungs to breathe. When they are aware of all the difficulties for their children in a foreign land it becomes too late to correct them. This creates an awkward situation for both the children and their parents to face. In other words, many such children do not complete their studies, stay underground without status, try to find any type of work for survival and their career is lost forever. They never come back and the parents lose them forever. Thousands of such cases can be found today in USA, UK, Australia and other countries where Nepali students have arrived. Then why is this hue and cry for not getting visa for the UK?

Let us analyze this issue from the standpoint of the national economy. What is the gain for the nation paying the valuable foreign currency to send its citizens to other countries when 90 percent of them do not return? There is no guarantee that even the remaining ten percent will serve their country after they return. What is the gain for parents by sending their children to UK where more than 150 colleges are suspended at one time? This indicates the low quality education at the majority of colleges in UK.

From the sociological point of view what is the image of the consulting agencies when those who have received counseling from them faces trouble abroad? Will it sustain the prestige of the parents and their children? Moreover, it will damage the image of both countries, Nepal (for sending its citizen for nothing) and UK (not being able to manage its own education system and getting the students stranded nowhere in the middle of their mission).

Now, the role of our country will be vital. Have they ever prioritized education in this country? Have they ever tried to establish quality higher education institutions in Nepal? Or have they ever encouraged those institutions imparting high quality higher education? It is not too late for Nepal to think about the quality education of her citizens by establishing quality institutions whether on its own or in collaboration with top foreign universities so that visa incidents will not terrify our children in the future. Moreover, if we can not do it for our citizens let us open the avenue for the WTO countries to run quality higher education institutions in Nepal.

Dr. Wagley is an educationist