Friday, November 6, 2009

Indian Students were left in the lurch as four Australian colleges close


Over 2,000 international students, including those from India, were left in the lurch - some with barely two weeks to go before they get their degrees - following the sudden overnight collapse of four private colleges in the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Teachers at the colleges run by the Meridian Group were told they were out of jobs on Thursday night, but no one told the students who arrived at campuses on Friday morning to find the doors closed, ABC Online reported.

Several hundred students who gathered outside the group's Melbourne and Sydney colleges were left stunned by the closures.

A student said: "In just two weeks we were going to get our degrees."

Melbourne-based Jass Sandhu says she had no information from the school about the closure.

"Immigration should do something for us. If the college has closed it's not our problem.

"We were studying well, we were paying our dues. We weren't left with any dues, we were paying our dues on right time. What about our future?" she said.

About 2,700 international students were affected, including students about to take their exams.

The students were mainly from India and other Asian countries.

The colleges, located at 13 campuses in Melbourne and Sydney, provide tuition in hospitality, design, English language, fashion and secondary education.

The Global Campus Management/Meridian Group, which runs the four colleges, went into voluntary administration Thursday.

Administrator Stephen Parbery says it is unlikely the group will reopen the schools.

"They have formed the view that the companies are not viable," he was quoted as saying.

Jacinta Allan, Victoria's skills and workforce participation minister, says the government is reviewing legislation covering such colleges.

"The buck stops with the state regulator having oversight, and that is why we are making sure we strengthen the guidelines. We are reviewing the legislation," she told ABC radio.

"This is a company that's made what appears to be a reasonably quick decision on withdrawing their financial support for the ongoing operation of the company.

"The administrators have since come in and moved very quickly to close the schools down, which also causes concerns because of the effect on students."

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