<config-template... is the root of any configuration template you push in NSO, be it internal configuration to NSO or device configuration or other. Directly under <config-template>, the typical nodes are <devices><device><config>... It is possible that in examples during training sessions, the <config-template><devices><device> nodes have been omitted for whatever reason (probably space restrictions on the PowerPoint slides). It is not possible to omit these nodes when used in NSO when applying them in packages. The xml template files are checked for compliance with the YANG model structures when doing the "packages reload". It is possible to use <config> or <config-template> as the root node in the xml template, as long as the end closing tag is matching it.
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