Indian Journalist Reporting On Education Scam Attacked

by Gopalan on Jul 27 2009 3:51 PM

Even before the furore over racist attacks on Indian students could die down, an undercover Indian journalist who sought to bust a scam involving seedy educational institutions in Australia has been attacked.

The reporter went to two different migration agents posing as a customer wanting to pass an English Language Test without having the skills and told them that she was willing to buy a fake work certificate. She was able to do both after she paid between $ 3,000 to 5,000, ABC Television said.

The young Indian woman was subjected to threats during the making of Monday night's Four Corners program and was attacked over the weekend, the TV channel said. But it did not provide any further details of the attack or the condition of the reporter now. It would not also say who could have been behind the incident.

The ABC's Four Corners programme expose a number of cases where students have lost tens of thousands of dollars in their quest for education and a better life.

Prabmeet Singh is one of around 70,000 Indian students who come to Australia to study each year. His family spent more than $40,000 on a course at a Sydney flying school, Aerospace Aviation.

His mother Pushpinder Kaur said the family is now broke and her son still has no pilot's licence.

”It is a fraud. It is, we were shown so many rosy pictures about the school and it is not what it is really, what it really is, it is only, it was just a scam,” she said.

Other Indian students have told Four Corners the aviation college failed to deliver its promised 200 hours of flying time over 52 weeks. But Aerospace Aviation's spokeswoman Sue Davis has defended the training and has questioned the level of commitment and dedication among the particular students.

In another case Kumar Khatri, an aspiring chef from Nepal came to Australia and enrolled at the Sydney cooking school, Austech. After six months he hadn't seen the inside of a kitchen so he decided to quit.

He received a letter from professional debt collectors telling him to pay $5,000.

He sought advice from Biwek Thapa, an education and migration agent who was dealing with six similar complaints.

Mr.Thapa said, “I think it was a complete exploitation of international students because of their ignorance. They're new in the country. They're scared their visa could be cancelled; enrolment could be cancelled. They would get into all sorts of problem….”