Community work:what I have done so far.

Updated on 11th April, 2011.

Information

Here is my account about what I have done so far and what I am doing right now.

1. Community work in General:

1.1. Leadership roles in Indian community Medical Associations, Continuing Medical education and Health education of general community.

1.2. Helping poor people from our community ie visitors, overseas patients and Indian students when they are in need of health care in Australia without sufficient financial resources.

1.3. Helping poor students in my district with  scholarships etc.

2. My work as the co-ordinator of the Indian Consul General’s committee on students’ issues:
Indian Consul General’s Community Committee on Students’ Issues, Sydney, NSW was formed at the Indian Consulate on 6th April 2009. It did intensive work and completed its task in a very efficient manner. After accomplishing its mandated task, it dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 and communicated this to the Indian Consulate on 1/7/09.

The committee had Harmohan Walia,Vish Viswanathan, Shubha Kumar, Stanley D’Cruz and Dr Yadu Singh as its members. I was its co-ordinator.

This committee had done following activities;

#met students numerous times.

#organised a students’ forum on 16th May at Strathfield.

#co-organised a students’ forum with UIA in Strathfield on 6th June.

#arranged help to a woman student who was a victim of domestic violence.

#arranged help to 2 women students who were stalked by another Indian co-worker.

#arranged meetings with minister of education, NSW and her senior advisers and students from an aviation school-Work in progress.

#arranged a meeting with the president, NSW upper House [Mr Peter Primrose] and Ms Helen Westwood MLA and students.

#arranged meeting of an aviation school student with consul General [this student gave him his papers].

#arranged a meeting with a community minded lawyer and aviation school students.

#met the mother of a student of an aviation school. This lady’s husband had died only 4 weeks ago due to the serious stress involved in losing the money with the school in Sydney without the required outcome.

#arranged and participated in TV coverage of students’ issues on Channel 7, 9, 10, SBS TV, ABC TV, and Bloomberg.

#participated in the coverage on ABC radio, SBS radio, SBS Hindi radio, 2UE, JJJ, Indian Link radio, Radio UMANG, 2GB radio and SBS Kannada Radio.

#arranged talk-backs on these issues on SBS radio and Radio UMANG [98.5MHZ, Fridays,8-9 PM]-now stopped.

#participated in coverage on SMH, The Australian, Daily Telegraph, other newspapers and AAP.

#participated in the coverage on Indian newspapers in Australia [The Indian, Indian Link, Indus Age, The Indian Sub Continent Times, Indian Down Under].

#participated in TimesNow, NDTV, CNN/IBN, Headlines Today, AajTak and other Indian TV Channels.

#participated in the coverage on main Indian newspapers and PTI.

#involved with some top-grade Australian media programmes with wide audience in getting students’ issues covered.

#arranged funds for the accommodation for the relatives Mr Rajesh Kumar [the petrol bomb victim from Harris Park] within 24 hours.

#met commander Robert Redfern , Parramatta Local area Command of NSW Police several times.

#did what we could do to persuade/help the students when they were on the Harris Park streets for 3 nights.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with chairman, Community Relations Commission [CRC] at CRC HQ

#participated in a CRC organised meeting with Indian students at Parramatta RSL.

#participated in the community leaders’ meeting with the Premier, Mr Nathan Rees

#Met Indian Consul General and Consul several times

#helped a prominent Indian TV channel with a documentary on true situation in Australia. One of us [Yadu Singh] was the citizen Journalist.

#discussed and formulated the strategy to solve the problems of our students.

#submitted our strategy to the NSW task force and other relevant authorities.

#provided leadership in the matters relating to Indian students.

#gave our after hours and week-ends for students’ work and provided pastoral care to the needy students.

#provided/facilitated medical help to the needy students/their family members.

#met the visiting Indian journalists at the Consulate.
The committee members were all hard-working people with top-grade integrity. They did not have any conflict of interest in the matters relating to Indian students. None of them were involved in the students’ placement in a school [after taking a commission], running of any such school or running of any business which could have a potential conflict of interest in any manner.

All members worked with full dedication, cohesion and team feeling without any undermining of one another. This itself is a rare thing for an Indian group. We are proud of our work and ourselves.

We appealed to every person from Indian background to stay away from any leadership role if they were involved in any activity which did/could create a conflict of interest in these matters but we did not succeed in this matter.

We raised our voice forcefully against the exploitation of Indian students by some Indian employers.

We also appealed to the Indian newspapers and Radio programmes to ask questions from every leader [on students’ issues] about their involvement in any activity which  created a conflict of interest in those matters. We suggested that the  media should start with the questions on conflict of interests when interviewing those leaders.

3.My work beyond/outside the Consul General’s committee on students:

a. helped the refund of >$12000 to a student of a Flying school.

b. arranged legal assistance to the students from this Flying school from a solicitor in Sydney and Canberra.

c.1. facilitated a good outcome between parties involving VETAB, Flying school and students.

c.2. held several meetings involving VETAB high authorities, the Flying school and students in VETAB and my offices.

d. organised further refunds/savings [including waiving of about $50000f the legal fees in regards to a legal proceedings in the Supreme Court where students had lost their case and costs was awarded against them]] for a Flying school students from ESOS scheme with the help of VETAB, DEEWR and federal education dept which is worth >$250000 . I was the key and the only Indian person in this work for these students. I did this as I felt it was my duty to help students from my community who were feeling powerless in Australian system.

e. held meetings involving a Flying school people, VETAB and students.

f. helped payment of >$2400 to a student which was originally denied by his employer.

g. arranged funding of about $1000 to the family members of the “Petrol bomb” victim.

h. donated $500 to a students association.

i. arranged sponsorship for foods, meeting hall and public liability insurance for a students’ association [worth >$1000].

j. mentoring students for their careers and future in OZ.

k.1. donated $500 to AHIA’s seniors.

k.2. donated $500 to Fiji floods relief fund via International congress of Fiji Indians and organized $2000 donations from other doctors

k.3. donated $500 to Sanatan Arya Pratinidhi Samaj, Sydney.

l. donated a good amount [>$2000] for needy/deserving causes involving victims of earthquakes, accidental deaths, injuries and illnesses.

m.1. helping several students including assault victims for their work comp, treatment and issues involving their parents.

m.2. Liaised with NSW Police high ups in regards to the assaults of 2 Indians in Sydney.

m.3. Advised/mentored several others in regards to the steps they needed to take when they were assaulted.

n. established a benevolent fund for the community with further activities in the process.

o. participated as an active member of the working party with CRC on students including inputs for Z card.

p.1. took leadership role via the media including Indian and Australia media [Chanel 9, SBS, NDTV, Indian ethnic newspapers].

p.2. helped Radio National in making a documentary on students [see details in this BLOG elsewhere].

q. raised the issue of OZ Uranium sale to India during the Australia India Day celebration on 24th Jan, 2010 where several ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLC, and media people were present.

r. helped community members’ relatives/parents including FIJI Indians’ when they needed medical help.

s. helped students with their medical treatment of all types when they needed such help. This included getting a student admitted for the urgent treatment of his Kidney stone trouble which was threatening his Kidney.

t. helping the community members from India and South Asia with a concessional fees structure because they are part of my community [a service worth more than $50000/year].

u. met NSW Premier, VETAB authorities and NSW Education authorities on students’ issues

v. did all this work without any personal benefits or COMMISSIONs unlike some of our “leaders”. SEE my BLOG for more details.

w.1. trying to clean the community leadership and making them accountable.

w.2. Exposed commission taking by some leaders of an Indian community association in Sydney.

x. taking a leadership role against unfair portrayal of Australia as a Racist society by Indian media.

y. mentored medical doctors from India in regards to their training and registration issues including achieving a successful outcome for a house surgeon who was facing exclusion from the medical work due to her unfair treatment in a Sydney hospital. I worked very actively with this young doctor and her supervisors including Hospital administrators to get her into the internship at a different hospital. She passed her assessment and is now working in Sydney.

z.1. many other charity work in India including scholarships for poor students in India.

z.2. running a weekly Radio UMANG [Health radio] programme.

z.3. worked as a catalyst in resolving the issues between Indian consul General, Sydney and some businessmen with a successful outcome.

z.4. took an active and a leading  role in resolving the issues between Indus Age [after a controversial ad] and the community, and achieved a successful outcome [with an apology and a promise to not publish such ads again].

z.5. Formed a community committee [total 10 people in it] against Visa Capping Bill in May 2010 and lobbied with the Gov ministers and Media against this Bill which was very harmful to the students. Worked actively for this committee, visiting community gatherings, temples and Gurdwaras to collect signatures against this Bill. We also met the Immigration minister, Mr Chris Evans, asking him to not proceed with this Bill. See www.fairgo4internationalstudents.org.

z.6. Formed a national organisation called National Council of Indian Australians [NCIA, www.ncia.org.au] with participation from all over Australia [all states and territories representatives].

z.7. Spoke as a lead doctor in the Health Summit, organised by GOPIO, Sydney, educating/informing people on Health matters on 4th Dec, 2010.

z.8. Helped a family locate their son [International student] http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/a-dumped-bike-a-glimpse-on-sydney-stations-cctv-what-happened-to-indian-student-abhijeet-20101006-166rs.html

z.9. Raised $7100 as a team for Qld Flood relief on 28th Jan, 2011.

z.10. Took up the issue of attack on  Sri Mandir temple, Auburn and brought it to the national media.

z.11. Took up the matter involving HINDI in the Australian national draft curriculum-Languages and wrote to ACARA. 

z.12. Campaigned for removal of an incorrect map of India in DIAC website and succeeded.

I have not listed every thing I have done or am doing. Much more is being done presently.

I had to write this down because some of my detractors were making comments like “what has he done for the community”.

Just to let you know that it gives me a sense of satisfaction to do some community work beyond my medical work. 


Yadu Singh/Sydney/22nd November, 2010

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Stirling college students:Update

UPDATE

Australian Council of Private Education and Training [ACPET] tried to place students in alternative colleges but succeeded only partially. After 28 days, the matter was placed at the hands of DEEWR which has arranged/is arranging placements in TAFE, other institutions in Sydney and in colleges in Melbourne. I know some students have already gone to Melbourne.

While attending a meeting at CRC offices recently, I heard that some schools are asking for fees of about $3000-4000 for the new COE [Contract of Education] which is required as a condition for the international education and the student Visa.

I raised a question about the justification for this unnecessary burden on students when it was not their fault for the Stirling College to go out of business.

I believe that;

1. this extra fees should come from ESOS/DEEWR or

2. DEEWR should speak with  the new colleges to not charge this fees.

The bottom line is that former students of  Stirling College should not suffer anymore than they have already suffered.

Yadu Singh/Sydney/04-10-09

————————————————————————————————————————————————- 

Dear DEEWR authorities

After the collapse of the Stirling College in Sydney, we understood that these students were going to be placed in alternative colleges within 28 days. This was the promise which was made by ACPET. 

More than 28 days have passed but the promise has not been fulfilled. We further understand that their matter is now with DEEWR/ESOS.

These students are desperate, frustrated and disappointed because;

1. their money has been taken but they have not received the appropriate training,

2. there is uncertainty about their training and future,

3. there is uncertainty about the plan of action by the DEEWR/ESOS.

We are worried that this desperation may go out of hand for some students. They have invested a big amount of money in their courses and things are going out of control.

We ask DEEWR/ESOS to help these students quickly;

1. by acting speedily in arranging an alternate placement of all students including students of community welfare in Sydney/NSW.

2. by helping these students get the certificates, transcripts and other relevant documents/records from the administrators of this college

3. by doing everything to look after the health and Visa  needs of these students until the mess is sorted out.

4. by nominating a “Nodal person” from DEEWR to deal with the matters of the students of  the failed Stirling college.

5. by refunding the full fees under Tuition Assurance Scheme if alternate placement is not possible.

Students of community welfare chose Sydney as the place to have their training. The alternate placement must be in Sydney. Some of them have their jobs in Sydney [for the entitled hours as per the the Visa conditions].

We request Minister Ms Julia Gillard and NSW Premier, Mr Nathan Rees to please direct the relevant people to act in a speedy manner in these matters.

Dr Yadu Singh/06-09-09

Flying School Students:DEEWR must act soon!

The stories of the Flying school are known to all. These were covered in SMH, The Australian and ABC [Four Corners] recently.

I met a couple of them today, Sunday, in my office.

We all need to know that they came to Australia to train as pilots and return to India. They were not interested in the “PR” here. They had a vision about their career but it did not go according to their plans.

We all know that Vocational Education, Training Accreditation Board [VETAB] has done an enquiry and taken some action. Dept of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR] has created some confusion by circulating a document about this school. I was sent this document by the Indian Consulate, Sydney recently. I already had this document as it was sent by a student a few days ago, telling something contradictory.

It is not our concern whether this school is registered or de-registered. VETAB and DEEWR can sort this out themselves.

VETAB has its role only up to the registration or lack of registration based on the training standards or lack of it. That is what VETAB is saying. They say that further actions have to be taken by other agencies. These are Fair trading Dept, DEEWR/ESOS and Australian courts.

I think it is not a correct view.

VETAB and DEEWR, both, have a duty of care and have a moral/legal responsibility to to help students in getting a fair treatment because,

1. students came to Australia, knowing that these agencies would look after the quality issues and standards,

2. students had an expectation of fair dealing from these agencies when they complained,

3. students had complained to VETAB/DEEWR well before they either left the school or forced out of the school.

Students complained to these agencies in 2008 but not much was done except passing the buck between these agencies. VETAB became serious only after we and students met Hon Mr Peter Primrose, Hon Ms Helen Westwood, Hon Ms Verity Firth, Minister of Education’s senior advisers and others in April/May 2009.

We ask;

1.  that VETAB/DEEWR get involved actively in the matters of these students and put sufficient pressure on this school to resolve the matter quickly.

2.  that VETAB/DEEWR encourage the school to use the services of a suitably trained mediator/conciliator to help resolve the problems.

These students are going through a very difficult time in Australia. Some of them have left Australia and others are still here.

We want the VETAB/DEEWR to know that we are willing to be the bridge between the school and the students. We deal with them regularly and know how difficult it is for them. We do however admire them for their resolve to fight against the injustice.

Injustice, they have suffered undoubtedly. We will fight along side them, no doubt because it is the right thing to do. 

They deserve a “Fair GO” from VETAB/DEEWR/ESOS/Australian media.

VETAB/DEEWR/ESOS, Please act fast!

Would the ministers in charge of these bodies [Hon Ms Verity Firth and Hon Ms Julia Gillard] please look into the plight of these students?

Dr Yadu Singh/06-09-09

Stirling College students need urgent help from DEEWR

Dear DEEWR authorities

After the collapse of the Stirling College in Sydney, we understood that these students were going to be placed in alternative colleges within 28 days. This was the promise which was made by ACPET. 

More than 28 days have passed but the promise has not been fulfilled. We further understand that their matter is now with DEEWR/ESOS.

These students are desperate, frustrated and disappointed because;

1. their money has been taken but they have not received the appropriate training,

2. there is uncertainty about their training and future,

3. there is uncertainty about the plan of action by the DEEWR/ESOS.

We are worried that this desperation may go out of hand for some students. They have invested a big amount of money in their courses and things are going out of control.

We ask DEEWR/ESOS to help these students quickly;

1. by acting speedily in arranging an alternate placement of all students including students of community welfare in Sydney/NSW.

2. by helping these students get the certificates, transcripts and other relevant documents/records from the administrators of this college

3. by doing everything to look after the health and Visa  needs of these students until the mess is sorted out.

4. by nominating a “Nodal person” from DEEWR to deal with the matters of the students of  the failed Stirling college.

5. by refunding the full fees under Tuition Assurance Scheme if alternate placement is not possible.

Students of community welfare chose Sydney as the place to have their training. The alternate placement must be in Sydney. Some of them have their jobs in Sydney [for the entitled hours as per the the Visa conditions].

We request Minister Ms Julia Gillard and NSW Premier, Mr Nathan Rees to please direct the relevant people to act in a speedy manner in these matters.

Dr Yadu Singh/06-09-09

Committee’s Strategies for Indian Students’ Issues in Australia

No doubt, our students have several significant issues and these issues have been raised with Governmental and Police authorities here. We are very confident about serious actions in these matters. There is no choice here because the International education industry in Australia worth $16 Billion [about $2-3 Billion from Indian students] is at risk if prompt actions are not implemented.

As you may know, a community committee has been formed in consultation with Indian Consul General, Sydney to help tackle these issues. The committee members are Harry Walia, Vish Viswanathan, Stanley D’Cruz, Shubha Kumar and Yadu Singh [Coordinator].Following is a brief description of issues and proposed action plans by the committee.

These issues are;

1.                     Safety and Security:

 

Brief Details:

Several cases of robbery & bashings of Indian Students in Sydney.

 

Proposed Action Plan

 

  • Educate students to REPORT the incidents to NSW Police. Reporting does not affect their VISA.
  • Lobby with Councils for a better lighting around Railway stations, car parks and  alleys etc
  • Lobby with the local councils for the installation of CCTV for surveillance of crimes
  • Liaison with NSW Police re under-cover policing, more visibility and patrolling in hot-spots
  • Educate the students  to be street-smart and be aware of their  surroundings
  • Employers have a duty of care and must arrange them to be dropped off at their apartments if it is beyond 10 PM
  • Explore the issues involving “Work-cover” matters in case of injury/assaults

 

2.                     Accommodation for Indian Students

 

Brief Details:

No assistance on arrival. Many students forced to share crowded apartments and Poor treatment by rental agents

 

Proposed Action Plan

 

  • Lobby with authorities re the provision of 3-6 months accommodation which must be organised by education providers at the market cost

 

  • Lobby with Immigration regarding  this requirement [Visa must not be issued unless accommodation confirmed]

 

3.                     Quality of training:

 

Brief details:

 

Many students are exposed to poor quality of training by educational service providers & shady, shonky or bogus institutions.

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • Accreditation authorities/bodies to audit the quality of training randomly and frequently
  • Lobby with respective Govt. Agencies to take proper actions on proved cases
  • Surveys from the present/past students re the quality issues [anonymously]
  • Effective and prompt action by DEEWR/ACPET re alternate placement in schools/institutions or refund of the tuition fees if the educational provider goes out of business

 

4.                     Exploitation of Indian students:

 

Brief details:

 

Indian students are exposed to exploitation of all kinds & bullying in part time employment or by educational service providers. They are getting below-award wages in many cases. Some Indian employers are also involved in this type of exploitation.

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • To advise & educate students about their RIGHTS in Australia
  • To educate them re the appropriate agencies to deal with such matters
  • To encourage/facilitate genuine students’ associations which are largely run by students themselves, not business people with hidden agenda and purposes.

 

  • Indian community leaders to understand the “conflict of interests” concept when taking the leadership role in students’ matters. They must stay out from a leadership role if they are involved with any business involving students [schools or consultancy].   
  • To lobby for establishing an  overseas Students’ Ombudsman

 

5.                              Health Cover, other appropriate insurance matters and  emergency insurance:

 

Brief details:

 

Lack of proper/current Insurances and coverage by some students, particularly when they are on bridging Visa

 

Proposed Action plan:

 

  • Pre arrival Information package-in India
  • Lobby with government agencies re the need for the medical cover and emergency including death insurance.
  • Proper medical insurance including death insurance must be a condition for the Visa and such cover must be current at all times during the stay in Australia

 

6.                Social issues:

 

Brief details: poor communication, insufficient participation in local community events & meetings and poor public behaviour in many cases

 

Proposed action plan

 

  • Communication/education through community Radio, TV, newspapers and website.
  • Encourage participation of students in community events
  • Accept that we are the ambassadors of India
  • Know what is expected in every situation.
  • Encouraging and promoting “when in Rome, do as Romans do” policy for our students
  • www.indianstudents.net.au will be launched very soon with info on Australian rules/regulations, Australian ways, expected behaviour and rights/obligations [There is now sufficient information in these matters in High Commission of India, Canberra and Australian Gov websites]

 

7. Brief details: Indian students are unaware how to deal with emergency situations

 

Proposed action plan:

 

  • To provide information packages on service providers and counselling services
  • Look into possibility of a Community Helpline for non-emergency matters
  • Set up a website and link it to the Indian High Commission/CGI

 

8.   Develop the Indian media leadership group for students’ and community issues. This would give an opportunity to exchange views, form strategies and execute them effectively. India Media group will help in dissemination of the information. We recognise that we need a good relation with Indian and Australian media to be able to do an effective advocacy of Indian students’ issues with various Gov agencies and relevant stake-holders.

 

9.   To set up an INDIAN Students’ Emergency assistance and BENOVALENT FUND

 

10. To seek actively sincere and genuine community members and students for the continuation of the outlined tasks. Most times, Indian community members are aware about the exploiters from our own community. We must take it as our social/community responsibility to do a social boycott of such exploiters. We believe that exploitation of Indian students by Indian community members is the lowest of low and a despicable behaviour.

 

11.  To lobby for some transport concession.It is available all over Australia except NSW and Vic. It would encourage more use of public transport which might also reduce the assaults/robberies of students.

 

12.  To bridge the gap between Indian students and established Indian Australians by reaching out to Indian students, inviting them to social gatherings, mentoring them and providing help whenever practicable/possible.

 

 

 

 

Dr Yadu Singh

Co-ordinator

singhyadu@gmail.com

 

**PS: 29/8/09

[1]. The above mentioned committee had prepared its report and forwarded its recommendations to the relevant authorities.

[2]. After completing its job, the committee had dissolved itself at the end of June 2009 and communicated its decision to the Consul General on 1/7/09.

[3]. This report is being published with the purpose of making the community aware of its contents.

Indian students in Australia:Fix the ills of international education!

There have been several reports about the assaults of the Indian students in Australia. These attacks have been called “Racist attacks” by the Indian media in India and some people in Australia. I do not agree with the “racist tag” for these attacks. I, like others, however condemn them and have asked the Police authorities to take effective actions to stop these attacks. 

The students’ issues are multi-dimentional and the stategy to tackle them has, by logic, to be multi-dimentional.

Following write-up will describe what should be done.
FIX THE ILLS OF THE INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA
 
31/7/09
 
You would have seen what was in the INSIGHT [SBS] and FOUR CORNERS [ABC] about International education recently. You would have also seen what was published on this matter in SMH and The Australian recently. Whatever is there is not pretty in regards to the International education. Rorts and scams are aplenty. Exploitation of students is the rule rather than the exception. Exploitation is happening in multiple fronts, starting from the agents in overseas countries and going to the schools and employments in Australia. There is no guarantee which certificate is genuine and which is worthless. International education schools have been called “Visa factories”. It has attracted headings of the nature ” A racket no one dares name”. It is really shocking and bringing a very bad name to Australia. Anybody who has a conscience must be getting agitated. I certainly am.
 
 It is about the time that we say “Enough is enough”. Not only the Aust Gov and its regulatory bodies must act but we the Indian community must act too.  If nobody acts, we risk the good name of this country itself getting a serious beating. It is not at a stage yet , I hope, that it can not be saved if the Gov agencies act decisively. We chose to live in Australia because we love to live here. If we love this country, then we ought to do everything which will not allow anyone to tarnish the good name of “Brand Australia”. We can never forget that this is the country where we have enjoyed and are enjoying our success and it is the country which our children will enjoy in future.
 
For our children’s sake, we do not want to have a situation that our education is looked down upon as useless when our children go for jobs all over the world. Some of our children would go and work all over the world as the the world has become a global village. Australia is a great country and we must not allow anyone to make it otherwise.
 
I have been in discussions with a large number of people from our background in recent days. I have also been talking with non-Indian Australians on these matters. It was gratifying to note that there was a general consensus about what needs to done in regards to International education.
 
In summary, it is about us including Aust Gov agencies, doing everything to maintain the good name of Australia and its brand recognition. It is also about maintaining the integrity of the Australian education and Immigration systems.
 
We will be able to do so if;
1.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies do their jobs in exposing, investigating and prosecuting those who are involved in rorts and scams

2.Australian media exposes the rorters and scamers vigorously irrespective of who is involved

3.International students are guaranteed the education which they were promised when they signed the contract after understanding our system from authentic sources, before getting the Visa at the Australian embassies/High Commissions which is further followed by a verifiable and mandatory orientation here at the schools about Australian systems, ways, rules, regulations, what is On and what is not On

4.International students are placed in other relevant schools or refunded their money ASAP if they are unable to receive the quality education

5.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies work ruthlessly and systematically in ensuring a good quality education for international students

6.Australian Gov works closely with Aust Universities and Overseas Governments in regulating the conducts of the education agents, operating on behalf of the educational providers

7.Australian Gov and its regulatory agencies consider the issues of infra-structure and capacity before giving permission for schools to enrol students and then monitor these issues randomly and frequently

8.International education and permanent residence visa are de-linked in an effective way by reversing some ill-advised changes brought in by Howard Gov around 2005

9.We have an international students’ ombudsman system for these students to go to if they have a problem with the schooling or employment as the legal system is very expensive in Australia.

10.Visa conditions are effectively policed as many work for far more than what is allowed

11.Australian police does effective policing in regards to crimes against international students by following the culprits/criminals vigorously and by being proactive rather than reactive

12.we, the Indian community approach and encourage international students to mix and mingle with the general “established” Indian community and by being the mentors to them in the new environment

13.we, as the community, take the initiative to establish an Indian international students’ benevolent fund to provide assistance to these students in certain well-defined emergency situations. The contributors for such funds must include students themselves, schools/universities, Australian Gov, Indian Gov and Indian community, knowing that there are no free lunches

There is some significant justification for a separate ministry at the federal/state levels for International education when this is generating more than $15 Billions which is number 3 earner for our economy. It is worth thinking about.

Assistance by the education providers in locating the appropriate accommodation for the initial 6 months and some subsidy for the transport would be other issues which should be considered.

We also need to make it mandatory that every student is maintaining the valid and current medical cover during his/her stay as the medical treatment is very expensive in Australia.
 
As far as we the Indian Australians are concerned, we must resolve to not socialise with the rorters and scamers from our own community. It should not be difficult as they are tarnishing the good name of our community and we do not want that to happen.
 
We also need to show leadership and tell our Indian media off for calling every assault on Indian students as racist attacks because 1. it is not a true and fair commentary and 2. it is potentially harmful to us. Australia has been projected as a racist country by the Indian media which is completely baseless. Indian media’s coverage has been hysterical, unprofessional and anything but objective. We, the Indian community do not believe that we are living in a racist country.
 
We need to project ourselves as a fair and caring society which we are but we also need to project us as a system which will not allow rorts or scams to succeed irrespective of who the scamers or rorters are. Jail is the right place if the rorter is an Australian resident/citizen and deportation is the fate if that person is a student.
 
Can we do it? Yes, we can. We do not have any other choice because anything else is going to harm the image of the very country which we love. I would even go to the extent of saying that anything else would be “Un-Australian”.
 
I hope that more would be ready and willing to join me in this……. A time has come when we join together and name this racket for what it is. After all, $15 billion dollars [out of which $2-3 Billion is from Indian students] is lot less than the long term harm to Australia and Australians if we do not do something effective to root out the rorts and bring in the fairness in the system for all the parties.
 
Regards
 
Dr Yadu Singh
Cardiologist
Baulkham Hills, NSW