Tuesday, 28 July 2009 2:40 PM

Australia Education in Scam: Exploitation of international students?

It's interesting to read an article by a "Ruks Loko" from Adelaide with the above subject.

Well Ruks Loko, I was also a recent international student at an Australian university from 2007 until end of 2008. As a matter of fact, I have to disagree with your so-called alarm bell, from the perspective of a Solomon Islander and NOT as an Indian or Asian.

It's correct to say that the standard of higher education at most Australian universities is internationally recognised and comparable with other key universities in the US (North America), UK(Europe) and Asia.

However, it is wrong to take the example of a few bunch of frustrated Indian international students who cannot cope with their studies in Melbourne and Sydney and try to paint a generalised negative image of the Australian education system and extrapolate it to prospective students from the Solomons.

The following were my observations and experiences as an international student in an Australian university:

1). In my short stint in Tasmania, I have travelled and mingled with people of all walks-of-life in almost all the states and major cities in Australia. In those times, I have never came across any form of racial discrimination, prejudice or bias in regard to my skin colour, ethnic background or English speaking limitations. The case of Asian students is different from ours because most of them come to study in Australia with the hidden intention of becoming a permanent resident or citizen. The claims listed above in the recent Indian student uprising, whilst true, maybe related to past experiences associated with middle-east migrants.

2). In almost all universities that I know of in Australia, there are extra academic and personal support services available either within the International Office, Student Unions or through the Schools. The only limitation that we have as international students from the Asia/Pacific region is the confidence and committment to seek help from respective centres when necessary. We are always shy.

3). I am not really sure which level of education Ruks Loko is refering to when he/she stated that Australian schools provide unrecognised qualifications with higher course costs. I would agree that although the course costs are higher, most university qualifications attained in Australia are of high quality and are equally marketable in the job market, unless you are pursuing high school or vocational training. The higher course fee issue shouldn't be a huge problem for students from the Solomons because 90% of those that study in Australia are fully funded either by AusAID scholarships or through respective universities or companies.

4). In regard to the length of time for course completion, I have observed that it is in line and comparable with other universities elsewhere including those in the Asia/Pacific region. You only take longer to graduate with unnecessary accumulated course expenses if you fail your units. Otherwise you should be out of Aussie by the end of the minimum required completion time.

5). In my view, there is no need for bribery if you perform your required tasks as an international student at any Australian university. Because at the end of the day, you will get what you are in Oz to do. You only think of bribes when you just relax and hope to get a qualification at the end, which is very unusual.

The crux of my discussion is that we should not use an unrelated example to tarnish the whole Australian education system, or even apply it to future prospective students from our country.

Also, just don't believe everything that the media tells us.

As far as I know, the immigration policy in Australia do require that international students need to be enrolled for a certain number of course or mode in order to main their visa or else it will be cancelled. This is nothing new.

Lastly, there are hundreds of universities in the world apart from Australia, including several ones in the Pacific Islands where students can choose to study if an opportunity exists.

I got what I went to pursue in Australia at the minimum time possible. Thus, I do not think any prospective student from the Solomons who aspire to study in Australia to be concerned with what Ruks Loko is saying, just because of a bunch of frustrated indian students who cannot cope with their studies.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Exsley Taloiburi and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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