“Australia will protect Indians hit by college closure”

New Delhi: Over 500 Indian students, whose future has been hit by the closure of three colleges in Australia, will be placed in alternative course or refunded any unspent tuition fees, the Australian High Commission here has assured.

Australia’s vocational education regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), decided to shut down three non-compliant vocational education and training colleges — Ashmark Group Pty Ltd, G Plus G Global Trading Pty Ltd. Melbourne in Victoria, and Ivy Group in New South Wales.

“If these education providers do close and do not meet their obligations to students, international students will be able to access the Australian government’s Tuition Protection Scheme (TPS). The TPS will seek to place affected students in an alternative course or refund any unspent pre-paid tuition fees to the students,” Australia’s High Commissioner Peter N. Varghese said, a statement from the high commission said Wednesday.

The ASQA audits concluded that the three colleges were non-compliant with the standards that providers in Australia are required to meet in the delivery of training to domestic and international students.

There are over 400 Indian students enrolled at the Ashmark Group College, over 100 Indian students enrolled at G Plus G Global and another 30 Indian students enrolled at the Ivy Group.

The Indian students affected by the foreshadowed closure of the three colleges in Australia will be covered by a legislated safety net, the high commission said in a statement.

“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),” Varghese has said.

Depending on the outcome of any appeals, the decisions take effect from Oct 30 and apply to all courses offered by the three colleges, the statement said.

“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.

“The institutions have the right to have ASQA’s decision reviewed, which may delay or change the decision,” Robinson added.