New Delhi, Feb.16 (ANI): Three new studies show the overwhelming majority of international students in Australia, including Indian students, feel safe and are happy in Australia.
A study by JWT Education conducted in December 2009 of 1642 international students (including 500 Indian students) found that safety rated as the number one reason they choose Australia as a study destination and Australia's multiculturalism and tolerance rated as the second most important reason.
A second study of 513 Indian students by The Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) in January and February 2010 showed the overwhelming majority of students were happy with their decision to study in Australia. Nearly three-quarters of those polled by the Federation said they felt safe in the areas where they work and study
FIAV President Vasan Srinivasan said "this survey demonstrates that a majority of Indian students still consider Victoria to be their destination of choice in terms of quality of the education they receive and lifestyle." (release attached).
A separate study by Victoria University found the majority of students found Melbourne to be a safe city though some had perceived the city as less safe than they had anticipated.
Australia's High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, said "it is important that we listen closely to the views of international students as we implement our response on this issue and we are doing that."
"Their views are important as we shape an education system and urban infrastructure that takes account of international students needs."
"We want all international students to feel safe in our cities and to have a rewarding educational experience. There have been problems, but all levels of Australian government are committed to ensuring they are resolved."
In a major speech to Parliament on 9 February, Australia's Foreign Minister Mr Smith said the recent "attacks are inexcusable. Australia needs to take this seriously and we are taking it very seriously."
"Governments at all levels in Australia are working together to address this problem."
"Law enforcement agencies have brought perpetrators of attacks to justice in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. In Victoria alone some 45 people have been arrested for crimes against Indian students or nationals. Perpetrators are being pursued with vigour."
"Strengthened and higher-visibility police operations have been undertaken to improve physical security in Australian cities. Increased police resources mean safer streets for all."
"In June 2009 the Prime Minister established a special task force to deal with these attacks, chaired by the National Security Adviser."
"We have also most recently set up a new high-level consultative mechanism between the Commonwealth and Victoria Governments. The first high-level meeting was held on 29 January and there have and will be regular meetings since then."
"On 28 January the Victorian Government launched an International Student Care Service. This is a new 24-hour service where international students can get greater access to accommodation, counselling, legal services, emergency and welfare assistance."
"We want to ensure that international students, whether from India or elsewhere, obtain a quality education, can support themselves financially, and have a positive experience in Australia."
"Action is being taken against providers shown to be operating outside legislative requirements. Those that need to be closed are being closed.
"The Deputy Prime Minister has appointed Mr Bruce Baird to review the Education Services for Overseas Student Act to ensure Australia continues to offer world-class quality in international education. Mr Baird's report will be finalised shortly."
"An international student strategy is also being developed by the Council of Australian Governments in order to improve the experience of overseas students.
High Commissioner Peter Varghese said, "these measures demonstrate the seriousness with which Australia is taking this issue." (ANI)