Canberra, Oct 15 (ANI): Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis has warned that a number of racist attacks on Indian students in Victoria had trashed Australia's reputation "almost overnight" and could cause the number of students coming from India to drop by up to 95 percent by 2011.
According to The Age, at a press conference with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Professor Davis warned that the quality of university education in the country was declining and added: "Clearly the perceived violence and actual violence in this city against Indian students in 2009 did us enormous damage as a nation in India.
'There are a number of institutions in Victoria that have heavily drawn on Indian students and they are feeling the effect dramatically. The fall is predicted to be somewhere between 80 and 95 percent in 2011," he added.
He further said that Australia was the only country in the world that was facing a sharp fall in the students' community, and that one of the biggest reasons for this was the government's visa changes.
"The implications of tightening up visas, and in particular the requiring of significant money in the bank in advance to guarantee that you can pay your bills, means that we are not competitive with the United Kingdom or with the United States as destinations," he added.
The paper quoted Gillard, as saying that the government's visa changes were aimed at the migration scheme, not at having a differential impact on the education sector.
"Visa changes were changes to our permanent migration arrangements, which we did because we want who we select to come in the permanent migration scheme and the size of that scheme to be about immigration," she added.
The international student market in Victoria is worth 4.5 billion dollars, and is the state's single largest export. In Australia as a whole, the sector is valued at 17 billion dollars, and is the country's third-largest export.
A 300-strong round of voluntary redundancies was announced at Monash University on Wednesday as part of a 45 million dollars budget cut, because of an expected 10 percent drop in international student revenue in 2011, the paper said. (ANI)