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Oz, India to crack down on dishonest education agents

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
August 26, 2009 12:12 IST
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Australia will ask New Delhi to crack down on the unscrupulous education agents in India who give misleading information to students willing to pursue studies in the private institutes Down Under.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard will take up the issue with the Indian government during her visit to New Delhi next week. During her visit, Gillard would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.

"She will strongly take up the issue of unscrupulous agents. She will ask for a mechanism to control them," a senior government official said here.

There are over 500 agents in India working for education providers of Australia. "They are supposed to give correct information on educational institutions," the official said.

According to India's Deputy High Commissioner V K Sharma, there is a nexus between the education agents and doggy colleges in Australia. The agents give a rosy picture to students about the private institutes and persuade them to come to Australia. However, the students discover the pathetic affair of institutes after they arrive here, he said.

Private institutes may face action for offering poor quality education

Meanwhile, in yet another important related development, the government of Australia is set to take action against those offering poor quality of education. Due to this move Australia's private educational institutions are likely to face a downturn with foreign students, including Indians, as they develop a cold feet to join them.

With a few being closed down for not fulfilling the necessary criteria, some others have witnessed a drop in the number of inquiries by Indian students.

There are over 1,000 private institutions in Australia and majority of them offer courses to international students. These are the most preferred destination for majority of Indian students.

Since the quality of education being provided here is not up to the mark, the federal government has revised its Education Services for Overseas Students Act.

"Three colleges have been closed down recently as they did not fulfill the requirements," Deputy High Commissioner V K Sharma said.

Around 363 students, including 200 Indians, of Starling Institute in Sydney and Melbourne International College in Melbourne were not being shifted to other institutes. But Sharma said, banning an institute would not serve the purpose as the owner of the institute may start again with other name.

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Basant Kumar Mohanty
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