National

An Australian institute is forcing students to change their subject, Nepalis say

  • Students from other institutes are concerned after the country’s regulatory body cancelled registration for a technical college earlier this week.
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Feb 23, 2019-

An Australian technical institute, which had been enrolling nursing students despite not having official accreditation, has begun forcing the students to change their major course as its chances of receiving approval from the country’s nursing and midwifery council appear slim.

The Sydney-based Australian Health and Management Institute has enrolled dozens of students—many of them Nepalis—in the nursing programme while hundreds of others have been taken into the certificate-4 level course, assuring them that they would graduate with a Diploma in Nursing after they complete the certificate level. Although it is mandatory for every technical institute to get certification from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council to offer the degree, the institute had enrolled students without informing them that it hadn’t been accredited.

At least a dozen education consultancies in Kathmandu had sent the students to Australia without explaining to them the status of the institution and the consequences they could face for enrolling in an unaccredited college. Technical institutes like AHMI, which were operating without nursing and midwifery council’s approval, started forcing the students to change their subjects after the Australian Skills Quality Authority on Tuesday cancelled the registration for Australia Institute of Business and Technology. The AIBT, like AHMI, had been offering the nursing course without accreditation from the council.

“The institute is forcing us to take community service or other courses that don’t need nursing and midwifery council’s accreditation,” said a 19-year-old nursing student from Chitwan, who had joined the AHMI last summer. “It is also refusing to give us a release certificate.” All the students who spoke to the Post asked for anonymity because they had already spent thousands of dollars in the institute and feared they wouldn’t get a release form or reimbursement if they speak with the media.

The release certificate is a requirement for any student to get enrolled to another college. Students from the institute say the majority of the 200 enrolled students at the institute are Nepalis, followed by some Indians and Filipinos.

Some students say that even after eight months since enrolling in the certificate course, they have yet to graduate. “Following AIBT’s case, we have been told to look for other courses,” said a 20-year-old Certificate-4 student. The student said he has already paid AUD 2,500 (Rs202,262) as a deposit for the nursing course.

Following the incidents at two institutions this week, students from other technical colleges have expressed concerns about their career in case their institutions also face similar action from the accreditation council.

A student from Banepa, who went to AHMI from a Kathmandu-based education consultancy owned by her relative, told the Post that she is least hopeful for her future. “Our institute has the same status as AIBT. I don’t know what I would do if it faces closure,” she said in a phone interview from Sydney. “I would urge every student in Nepal to not even trust your own relatives if you want to study abroad. Make sure you find out every detail on your own.”

The students who spoke to the Post said they feared that if their institutes found they were speaking to the media, the management would scrap their Confirmation of Eligibility, which would automatically lead to cancellation of their visa for the country.

Some of the consultancies that sent the students to AHMI say they were unaware of the issue. Paras Acharya, a staff from Education Matters, which has sent 30 students to the Australian Institute, said he didn’t know the institute didn’t have accreditation. He said probably his senior, who is out of the country, had information about the issue.

An owner of another consultancy, however, said he would take the moral responsibility. TN Sharma, an owner of Skyfal International Educational Consultancy, said he sent the students as the AHMI administration that assured it would get accreditation soon. “Only two students from my consultancy are there. I am in touch with them and will give every support they need,” he told the Post.

In an email response, the AHMI said it hadn’t enrolled any student for Diploma of Nursing or advertised it since last year. “We are only enrolling students in Certificate-4 in aged care and Diploma of Community Service, and other courses which are fully registered,” a representative said. But contrary to the institute’s claim, at least two students who spoke to the Post said they were enrolled to the diploma course in the summer of 2018. Officials at the institute did not respond to multiple queries about why they were forcing admitted students to change their courses.

Published: 23-02-2019 07:58

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