Australia’s private educational institutions are likely to face a downturn with foreign students, including Indians, developing a cold feet to join them as the government here is set to take action against those offering poor quality of education.

With a few being closed down for not fulfilling the necessary criteria, some others have witnessed a drop in the number of inquiries by Indian students.

There are over 1,000 private institutions in Australia and a majority of them offer courses to international students. These are the most preferred destination for a majority of Indian students.

Since the quality of education being provided here is not up to the mark, the federal government has revised its Education Services for Overseas Students Act.

“Three colleges have been closed down recently as they did not fulfil the requirements,” Deputy High Commissioner V.K. Sharma said.

Around 363 students, including 200 Indians, of Starling Institute in Sydney and Melbourne International College in Melbourne were now being shifted to other institutes.

But, Mr. Sharma said, banning an institute would not serve the purpose as the owner of the institute may start again with other name.

The ESOS Act amendment would make it mandatory for the institutes to get re-accreditated to the regulatory bodies by the end of next year. “This would take care of quality concerns to a large extent,” the Deputy High Commissioner said.

Besides, the Victorian State government has started a rapid audit of the private colleges in the State to find out if they fulfil all the necessary requirements.

A number of private colleges in Melbourne have got indications about downfall in students’ enrolment this year.

“There is a drop in the inquiry of students from India. The drop is about 20 per cent over last year,” said Mel Koumides, Director, Academia International, a private institute. The institute has about 950 students, including 150 from India and offers courses on hospitality and cookery.

Most private colleges offer courses like community service, hairdressing and cookery which do not warrant huge infrastructure and investment.

“Those studying in these institutions mainly aims to get a permanent residency rather than seriously concentrating on their studies,” the Deputy High Commissioner said.

As per the amendment in the ESOS Act, introduced in the Federal Parliament last week, it would be mandatory for the institutes to declare their overseas agents.