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Updated: September 23, 2009 15:04 IST

Oz education law review questions protection mechanisms for students

PTI
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Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion Julia Gillard has said her country has
The Hindu Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment, Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion Julia Gillard has said her country has "zero tolerance" for racial attacks on Indian students on its soil. Photo : M. Vedhan

A review of the Australian legislation, governing overseas students, has questioned the efficacy of existing consumer protection mechanisms for pupils while raising concerns about the registration process for service providers in an education sector hit by immigration scams and attacks on Indians.

The review paper, headed by former Liberal MP Bruce Baird, released today, was commissioned as part of the government’s efforts to cleanse the country’s education sector and improve the experience of international students.

Mr. Baird called for submissions in response to the issues paper to gather input from stakeholders, including students, on what is working and what could be improved to support Australia’s international education and training sector, an official statement said.

Australian deputy premier Julia Gillard welcomed the release of the issues paper as part of the Bruce Baird Review of Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000.

The comprehensive issues paper identified key areas impacting education quality and experiences for international students studying in Australia. It noted that the ability of consumer protection mechanisms to support students’ interests is questionable.

The paper also said English-language entry standards for courses may be set too low and cited concerns about the registration process for education providers. The release of the paper follows last week’s International Student Roundtable which involved 31 international students studying in the country.

“This review is an opportunity for the sector to take stock, look at what is working, what could be improved,” Mr. Baird was quoted as saying by a media report today.

The recommendations of the Student Roundtable will feed into the review being undertaken by Mr. Baird.

In addition, the Council of Australian Governments is developing a National International Student Strategy and will establish the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TESQA) which will oversee the new framework for quality assurance and regulation.

Ms. Gillard encouraged all stakeholders to read the issues paper and make submissions to the review.

Officials said the issues paper and information on how to provide submissions is available on www.aei.gov.au, and submissions close on October 30, 2009.

The results of the review are expected in early 2010.

Education Minister Julia Gillard last month asked the former Liberal MP Baird to conduct a review of the USD 15.5 billion international education industry after it witnessed several scams and uproar over attacks on Indian students.

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