More than 7,000 Nepalis sat for English language exams at 16 test centres across Kathmandu on Monday. No, this was not a college exam, but one to determine eligibility for 1,000 caregiver jobs in Israel.
The tests are part of a selection process under an agreement between the governments of Israel and Nepal in September 2020, and an implementation protocol signed in January.
The program initially targeted 500 caregivers, but was later expanded to 1,000, and 70% of the openings are meant for women with salaries of as much as $1,600 per month governed by Israel’s strong labour laws.
Over 26,500 people initially created user IDs in the online application for the openings, but only 7,009 completed the application process and were eligible for the exam. Although 70% of jobs are set aside for women, Dambar Bahadur Sunuwar of the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) said that only 47% of the test takers were female.
Many of the candidates and their families waiting for the exams at Durbar High School in Kathmandu appeared nervous not just about the exam, which will be competitive, but about whether the process is fair.
“It is all luck and hopefully luck will favour us,” said the husband of a woman waiting to give her exam. “In a country where everything is driven by ‘settings’, we are worried that Israel will not be an exception. All we can do is try our luck and give the exams, with the hope that it will be fair.”