With its USD 16.6 billion international education industry seriously hit by a series of attacks on Indian students, Australia today announced setting up of a new body to upgrade the quality of education in the country and assured safety for its overseas students.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the newly set-up Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency would assure quality for domestic and international students.

“We have all watched with concern at the controversy that has developed in relation to Indian students and the issues that have been highlighted in the public debate,” she was quoted as saying in The Australian newspaper.

“Legitimate concerns have emerged about quality, about safety, about language competency and

about the support for students in the international education sector. Ultimately TEQSA will be at

the heart of any effective response to these issues by bolstering our reputation by assuring

quality for all students domestic and international students alike,” she said.

Ms. Gillard, also the Education Minister, said that, in future, Australian universities would be

required to publish more information on their courses, campus facilities, support services,

learning outcomes and quality of teaching.

“It will be developed over time in partnership with the sector and it will commence no later than January 2012,” she added.

There have been over 100 cases of attacks on Indians, mostly on students, in Australia since the last year.

Overseas student enrolments in Australian universities have taken a serious dive following the attacks on Indian students and the introduction of new amended immigration programme by the government.

Andrew Smith, from the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, recently said there has been a drop of between 40 and 50 per cent in applications from South Asian countries, particularly India.

The Australian government and its education industry are desperate to restore confidence in the country as a safe place for quality education.