Indian students in limbo after Melbourne College closes

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Melbourne, Sep.29 (ANI): Indian students wanting to acquire higher education in the Australian city of Melbourne, have been left in limbo after the St. George Institute of Professionals, a city-based vocational college offering courses in management, multimedia and graphic arts, was closed after a "rapid audit" that showed it was not meeting the standards required to provide education courses.

A total of 129 international students, mostly from India, have been left in limbo, The Age reports.he college will surrender its registration from tomorrow, making it the fourth private college to collapse in Melbourne in three months.

The Brumby Government has warned that several more institutions are likely to follow suit, as the state continues its audit of 41 institutions regarded as a "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 yesterday described it as a "very rotten apple" after the 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 in India promoting the state as a reputable destination for international students, admitted the latest closure was disappointing.

She, however, said it was evidence the rapid audits were working to weed out "incompetent, unscrupulous education providers".

The students affected by St. George's closure are to be offered a placement in suitable alternative courses so they can complete their studies at no extra cost.

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.

The college's closure comes at a testing time for Australia's 15 billion dollar international education industry. (ANI)

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