Australia announces new measures to safeguard education for overseas students

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Canberra (Australia), Aug.19 (ANI): The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, today warned education providers that they risk being shut down if they don't comply with rules relating to international students.

Gillard was speaking in the Australian Parliament at the introduction of an Amendment Bill to the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000.

Under the new rules being considered by the Australian Parliament, all education institutions currently registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) will be required to re-register under new, tighter criteria by December 31, 2010.

The Bill adds two new criteria for registration: the provider must have the principal purpose of providing education; and the provider must have demonstrated a capacity to provide education of a satisfactory standard.

The process will allow the Australian Government to review the registration of education providers to ensure they are providing quality education services to international students visiting Australia. Most providers are doing the right thing, but this change will help weed out the shonky operators.

The state governments of Australia have already started rapid audits of providers, and these will be extended so that all providers working with international students will need to show they have the best interests of the students at heart and not simply a profit motive.

The Bill will also introduce new processes to ensure greater transparency and accountability of international education providers, including their use of education agents.

The amendments are the first in a series of measures the Australian Government is taking to ensure Australia continues to offer quality international education.

The Australian Government has also announced a full review of the ESOS Act to be headed by Bruce Baird with an interim report due in November 2009. International students will be able to have their say at the upcoming International Student Roundtable in September 2009.

Gillard will visit India from August 29 to September 4. (ANI)

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