Economic affairs ministry cancelled licences of 10 Education Consultancy and Placement Firms (ECPF) on the grounds of non-compliance with the guidelines for ECPF and for being non-operational.

Regional Trade and Industry Office cancelled the licences based on the recommendation made by Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE) this month.

The licence of four ECPFs, Sherig Thuendrel ECPF, Bhutan College Search ECPF, Shanti Yoedzer ECPF and Career Infopedia were cancelled for non-compliance with the ECPF guidelines.

The licence of Shanti Yoedzer ECPF and Career Infopedia were cancelled for major non-compliance issues. The two firms had been involved in the alleged mistreatment of students overseas.

Drupthop ECPF is also under suspension following the reports of the firm placing students in Malaysia without student visas.

Deputy chief programme officer with Quality Assurance and Accreditation Division (QAAD) with DAHE, Sangye Choden, said Shanti Yoedzer ECPF had failed to abide by the agreement signed with the students.

“Career Infopedia had placed about 200 students on scholarship in Bangalore but after a certain semester the students were asked to pay fees,” she said. “We kept their licences suspended hoping that they would improve, unfortunately they didn’t leaving us any choice but to cancel their licences.”

The licence of Shanti Yoedzer ECPF and Career Infopedia had been suspended from November 25 and March 11, 2016 respectively.

Sherig Thuendrel ECPF and Bhutan College Search ECPF had minor non-compliance issues such as not having an office and not being in contact with QAAD.

“We tried to contact them repeatedly through e-mails, phone call and visits. Only after failing all these, we recommended cancellation of their business licences,” Sangye Choden said.

Five ECPFs, namely IMS Sophiya ECPF, Bhutan ICFAI ECPF, Lama Overseas ECPF, Druk Future Links ECPF, and Rangjung ECPF cancelled their business licences voluntarily.

The business licence of Elyon ECPF was cancelled for being non-operational (inactive) for more than two years.

Sangye Choden said that as of now there are 31 operational ECPFs. “We are also reviewing the guidelines and until it is finished we have suspended the issuance of licence.”

She said the review is being done to curb the number of issues such as growing number of firms, poor quality services, to identify genuinely interested firms, and to make guidelines more detailed.

Sangye Choden said that QAAD used to monitor ECPFs annually. “Now we have realised that we have to do ad hoc monitoring. So we are going to monitor a few ECPF every month.”

The information about the operational ECPFs are available on DAHE’s website

Karma Cheki