Thursday, October 04, 2012

Safety net for Indian students if Australian institutions shut shop

Indian students affected by the foreshadowed closure of three colleges in Australia would be covered by a legislated safety net, Australia’s High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese said. If these education providers shut shop and do not meet their obligations to students, international students will be able to access the Australian government’s Tuition Protection Scheme (TPS). This scheme will seek to place affected students in an alternative course or refund any unspent pre-paid tuition fees to the students.

The move comes after Australia’s vocational education regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), decided to shut down two non-compliant vocational education and training colleges in Victoria and one in New South Wales.

“The Australian government has in place a comprehensive suite of protection mechanisms to safeguard the interests of overseas students under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act),” said Varghese.

Depending on the outcome of any appeals, the decisions will take effect from October 30 and apply to all courses offered by the Ashmark Group and G Plus G Global Trading. Both colleges have campuses in Melbourne and Victoria. ASQA has also served a notice on the Ivy Group in New South Wales last month.

The decisions follow comprehensive compliance assessments, including multiple site visits by ASQA officials. The ASQA audits concluded that the colleges concerned were non-compliant with the standards that educational providers in Australia are required to meet in the delivery of training to domestic and international students.

“The decision to reject a training organisation’s registration is not one we take lightly, but the interests of students and the integrity of training standards across the VET sector have to be upheld,” said ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson. Further details of ASQA’s decision can be found on their website.

There are more than 400 Indian students enrolled at the Ashmark Group’s college, over 100 Indian students are enrolled at G Plus G Global and 30 Indian students enrolled at the Ivy Group. “The institutions have the right to have ASQA’s decision reviewed — which may delay or change the decision,” added Robinson.

Source: Business Standard, October 4, 2012
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