An Australian Senator has demanded a statutory compensation scheme to reimburse overseas students,including Indians,who were duped by “unscrupulous” education providers in the country.
Nick Xenophon,an Independent Senator,also called for a dedicated ombudsman to investigate into their complaints.
In a statement on Tuesday,he said there was widespread scamming of overseas students,putting at risk the credibility of Australia’s USD 14.2 billion international student sector.
His statement came after education authorities here said they are probing over 17 colleges in the country for posing “high risk” to overseas students.
He said the compensation fund could be created through the introduction of a small levy on educational services for international students and operate like the travel compensation fund.
“The international student services are Australia’s third biggest exporter by value,after coal and iron ore. It generates over 1,22,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the Australian economy,” he said.
“With over 3,15,000 full-fee paying international students,Australia can’t afford to ignore the enormous economic and culture contribution they make,” he said. Senator Xenophon said where an accredited education provider failed to meet required standards or went out of business,students should have recourse to a statutory fund for reimbursement of fees and out-of-pocket expenses.
He said an independent international students’ ombudsman could review complaints and advocate for students.
The Ombudsman should have powers to ensure serious allegations made to government departments by students are dealt with urgency,he said.
“What’s worse than government turning a blind eye to dodgy dealings by dodgy education providers,” he said.
“Having a compensation scheme and a dedicated Ombudsman will go a long way in giving current and prospective overseas students confidence that we are determined to protect the contribution they make to our nation,” he added.