, MELBOURNE, Aug 10 – "Dubious" Australian colleges are ruining the future prospects of young Indian students and trashing the country’s reputation abroad, India’s foreign minister said in comments published Monday.
S.M. Krishna, visiting Australia to express concern over a wave of street assaults on Indian students, said there was concern in New Delhi about some "dubious" private colleges.
"I think they are not only bringing a bad name to Australia but they are destroying the future of the younger generation of Indian students," he told The Australian newspaper.
Private vocational colleges teaching everything from hairdressing to flying have sprung up in Australia to meet booming demand from the 95,000 Indian students in the country.
But Krishna said India was disturbed by recent media reports exposing scams and poor standards at some of the colleges.
"Some dubious educational institutions have lured gullible Indian students into joining some of these institutions — there is a big gap between the quality of what has been promised and what has been delivered," he said.
"Some colleges have closed down but full-time fees have been collected from these students and they are left high and dry.
"So they are wandering around the streets of Sydney and Melbourne and they are a cause of consternation for India."
Krishna has expressed India’s disquiet to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and top state officials during his visit.
Australia last week announced a review of the international education sector, which generates 15.5 billion dollars (12.9 billion US) a year, making it the country’s third largest export earner.
It has also worked with state authorities to curb a spate of attacks in Sydney and Melbourne that boiled over into street protests last month.
Krishna welcomed the moves but said Australia needed to keep coming up with new initiatives to address the problems.
"I would want the tempo to be maintained so that signals are constantly flowing to India, so that governments are constantly responding to meet our concerns," he said.
On Sunday, Krishna met a Melbourne-based student who spent weeks in a coma after being stabbed in the head with a screwdriver. A 17-year-old boy has been charged with attempted murder over the assault.