Dechen Dolkar

Education Consultancy and Placement Firms (ECPFs), except a few, decided not to post pictures of clients and testimonials of receiving visa grants on social media.

According to the Chairperson of the Association of Bhutanese Education Consultancies (ABEC), Palden Tshering, it was decided to not make the posts because it is an irresponsible advertising considering the concerns being expressed about the number of people leaving Bhutan.

“It also infringes on the client’s privacy rights,” he said.

The chairperson said that it has taken this long to come to a consensus because it is a voluntary decision and there are certain business models that have developed entirely on the promotion of this format.

“We had a unanimous consensus on this, except for one individual that abstained,” the chairperson said.

He said that while it is impossible to prevent one or two consultants from continuing to promote their business with visa grant pictures and testimonials, the association believes “if we can take steps together with commonalities, putting aside personal benefits, we are moving in the right direction”.

During the consultative meeting with members, they also decided to put an end to misleading information like 24-hour visa grants and low English test scores accepted.

He said this creates unreal expectations and directly contradicts what the Australian High Commission has advised the consultants to do.

He said that voluntary education consultancies members and other training consultancies have agreed to work collectively towards responsible advertising.

“At the end of the day we are liable for what we post,” he said.

In November 2021, during the annual general meeting with education consultancies and the Department of Adult and Higher Education, the consultancy firms were asked to form an association.

This association is in the process of becoming a registered Civil Society Organization.

There are 63 registered education consultancies and placement firms so far.