The government has asked parents to be more discriminating in the courses they choose for their wards in Australia. External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Thursday said he was “shocked” to find Indians doing courses they could have easily joined in any Indian city.
Talking to journalists here, he said: “One can understand students going there [Australia] at the university level, at the IIT level or at the level of some other institution of excellence. When I went there, I was shocked to see so many students in courses they don’t need to go to Australia for — such as learning hair styling or doing facials.
“In India, such courses are available in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai. So parents should be more discriminating in choosing educational institutions for their children to pursue higher studies,” he advised shortly after a meeting with Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese.
Declining to give details of the meeting, Mr. Varghese said the Minister appreciated the way Canberra handled violence against Indians. He attributed the fall in applications from Indian students to the global economic crisis, the higher exchange rate of the Australian dollar and “frenzied reporting” by the Indian media.
Priority for Nitin case
On the fatal stabbing of Nitin Garg in Melbourne, Mr. Varghese said the Victoria Police had taken up the case on priority and was seeking information from people who might have been around the scene of the January 3 crime. “We are very determined to catch the culprits.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Krishna cautioned against over-the-top reporting of violence against Indian students in Australia and said the prime issue was ensuring their safety. “None of us needs to be hysterical but all that we expect is that Indians, whether they are students or otherwise, should be safe in countries to which they go for pursuing higher studies.”
“The courses to which our students have been going are certainly not very encouraging. So I would suggest [to] the Indian parents to be discreet. They better get informed themselves about the courses.”
Analysts here said the Minister hit the nail on the head. In their desire to escape lack of choices in the country and to obtain permanent residency in Australia, prospective students were grabbing hardly-heard-of vocational courses run by recently set up private institutions. Tempted by agents, these students land in Australia without the means to pay for their stay and education. Many of those who got mugged were walking back home late at night, carrying wages paid in cash since they were working illegally to pay for their stay and education and qualify for permanent residency after completing the course, the analysts said.