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Updated: January 14, 2010 19:29 IST

Indian student intake in Australia to be monitored

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PTI "We have to try and get the message through that overwhelmingly Australia is a very safe place" : Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Australia is tracking foreign students coming to study amid reports that the number of Indians applying for visas has fallen due to the attacks.

The Australian government will “track the number of students coming to this country, including Indian students”, said Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

The number of Indians applying for visas to study in Australia has fallen by almost half, heightening fears for the country’s $17 billion international education industry.

Gillard told reporters here: “Obviously we are going to track the number of students coming to this country, including Indian students, as we are moving into the new academic year.”

She observed it was important that students have accurate information while deciding whether to study in Australia.

“I can understand that if you were a family in India and you were sending your young person to some other country that you would be very, very focused on how safe they are going to be when they were there.

“This is why we have to try and get the message through that overwhelmingly Australia is a very safe place,” AAP quoted her as saying Thursday.

She stressed that the authorities had taken steps to ensure that Australia continued to offer quality education to international students.

“In very high numbers international students say they enjoy their time here, that they got quality education, and they would recommend Australia as a study destination.”

A media report Jan 7, citing the immigration department figures for the period from July to Oct 31 last year, showed a 46 percent drop in student visa applications from India compared with the same period in 2008.

The drop in numbers come after Indian students were assaulted, causing an outcry in India. About 115,000 Indians have studied in Australia in the last 12 months.

On Jan 2, Nitin Garg was stabbed to death in Melbourne. Another Indian, Ranjodh Singh, was found burnt and dumped in New South Wales Dec 29.

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