What’s behind the curry-bashing?
For many years, Australia has been a favorite education destination for Indian students. But that reputation has been marred by recent events in the country. For the last three years, working students in Australia have been assaulted and subjected to unfair treatment.
Indian students have been assaulted, robbed, and abused for the past year. The situation seems to have escalated in the last month. According to reports from Australian authorities and police, there have been about 500 cases of assault on Indian students. Most incidents have been reported in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne.
The Australian government has condemned the assaults and taken a number of measures to address the situation. The police force in Victoria started an operation with a contingent of officers being deployed to train stations to curb gangs. The government had earlier on formed the Embona anti-robbery task force to specifically deal with attacks on Indian students.
Nonetheless, the police force has not been forthcoming with the identities of the offenders, as part of its policy. This is what has prompted claims of racism on some Indian TV stations. While it is not easy to verify that all the attacks are racially-instigated, it will be up to the Australian government to come clean on the real offenders if the matter is to be resolved.
It is important to note that Indians are the second-largest group of students in Australia. This means that they contribute millions of dollars to Australia’s export industry. For instance, in 2008, over 95,000 students from India joined various learning institutions in Australia.
However, the recent incident has cast doubt on the continued educational relationship between the two countries. Besides the assaults, it has also emerged that some learning institutions in Australia are fake or not accredited as they claim. Recently, a dozen institutions in Melbourne were shut down for not meeting the required educational standards.
The issue of assaults had not reached the Australian federal level until the Indian government intervened. This is probably because there is no proper representation of Indians at the federal level. All that is available are forums formed based on regional identities. There is a need to create proper and formal channels to address the plight of Indian students in Australia.
The Australian government should also come up with measures to ensure all learning institutions as accredited and meet the requisite education standards. On its part, the Indian government should offer proper guidance to its citizens with regards to foreign Universities.