Is orientation programme enough for Indian Students in Australia?

The need of the hour is an orientation programme for all Indian students getting ready to study there, said V.P. Unnikrishnan, secretary of the Federation of Indian Communities, Queensland (FICQ), who is here on vacation.

The need of the hour is an orientation programme for all Indian students getting ready to study there, said V.P. Unnikrishnan, secretary of the Federation of Indian Communities, Queensland (FICQ), who is here on vacation.
[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”australia” count=”5″ category=”All” page=”1″ sort=”default”]The fears and problems faced by Indian students in Australia, specially in the wake of a spate of criminal attacks on the community, can be addressed by holding orientation programmes and keeping a check on education consultants in India, says an Australia-based Indian organisation.


“This programme can be done with the help of the Indian government and we are willing to cooperate in this regard. There are Indian associations across Australia and this can be done by us. Another major aspect to be tackled is to rein in educational consultants operating in India who appear to give false hopes to aspiring students,” Unnikrishnan told IANS in an interview.

FICQ is an umbrella body that comprises 20 member associations.

Unnikrishan, who has been living in Brisbane for the past decade, said the orientation programme could give students a fair idea about the cultural aspects of Australia and some do’s and don’ts that should be followed Down Under.

“So far in Queensland, where there are more than 40,000 Indian students, we have had no issues. When trouble started in Melbourne, we in October last year held a ‘Meet and Greet Programme’ in which three Queensland state ministers, officials, representatives of Indian associations and students’ representatives met and decided to see that such a thing doesn’t happen and so far it has worked wonders,” said Unnikrishnan, principal advisor in the department of transport and main roads in Queensland.

As a result of that meeting, students having any issues regarding work, study or visa can contact the FICQ representative, who in turn can get in touch with the ministry concerned and sort out the issue.

“This has come to light from the experience of several students who are promised the sky through a student visa by educational consultants in India. They arrive here with wrong notions that they can earn a fair amount when they study. But the reality is that it is a struggle and slowly frustrations set in. The Indian government has to devise a mechanism where these agents are made accountable,” Unnikrishnan added.

Two Indian taxi drivers, one of whom was a student, were attacked Saturday in Australia’s Ballarat city, making it the fourth attack on the community members in the past three days. The string of attacks on Indians in Australia have caused an outcry in India. Two of the vicious attacks proved fatal.

While Ranjodh Singh’s body was found Dec 29, another Indian, Nitin Garg, was fatally stabbed in Melbourne Jan 2. An Indian was set on fire in Melbourne Jan 9 while another Indian was assaulted at Coogee beach in Sydney Jan 11.

(Sanu George can be contacted at sanu.g@ians.in)

By Sanu George

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