At least 129 overseas students, mostly from India, will be displaced due to the closure of a private institute in Melbourne under the government’s rapid audit programme for “high risk” colleges. It is the fourth private institute in Melbourne to close in three months.

St. George Institute of Professionals, a Melbourne-based vocational college offering courses in management, multimedia and graphic arts, was closed after a “rapid audit” by the government to cleanse its education sector. The students affected by the closure are expected to be offered a placement in suitable alternative courses at no extra cost.

The college, according to The Age, will surrender its registration on Wednesday.

The closure is a part of the Victorian government’s efforts to audit 41 institutions regarded as “high risk” to international students.

St. George, which is based in Flinders Street in Melbourne’s central business district, was registered as a private college in 1998.

Industry insiders had described it as a “very rotten apple” after auditors found it had failed to comply with most of the necessary teaching and course standards required to operate as a training provider in Victoria.

Skills Minister Jacinta Allan who is currently in India, described the latest closure as disappointing and said the rapid audits were working to weed out “incompetent, unscrupulous education providers”.

The government’s industry regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, is working with the Australian Council of Private Education and Training and Commonwealth government agencies to find placements for the students as soon as possible.

VRQA director Lynn Glover said the rapid audit checked everything, from the college’s marketing and pre-enrolment materials to the qualifications of its teaching staff and its training and assessment materials.

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