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Should water safety training be made compulsory for international students in Australia?

An Indian tourist (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) Source: AAP

After the deaths of two students at a Sydney beach earlier this year, the question now is should Australian universities make swimming and water safety classes compulsory for international students?

After a number of drowning cases involving international students in Australia, there are calls for a national on issues related to water safety.

The call is to train overseas students so that they are better equipped and confident.

The Royal Life Saving Society estimates there were about 42 deaths along the state's beaches, pools, and waterways between December 2016 and February 2017.

WATCH VIDEO:Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2016

Of the five overseas students who drowned in New South Wales, four were Nepalese.

Sydney based two Nepalese friends Shristi Bhandari, 23 and Sudeep Uprety, 26 were swept off a rock platform at the northern end of Sydney's Maroubra beach in February 2017.

Shristi Bhandari, who had arrived in Sydney just two weeks earlier to study a Masters of Accounting as an international student, was found on the northern end of Maroubra Beach by a jogger in the morning.

Pakistani student Mohsin Awan was also swept to his death from a Newcastle beach in March. 

Karen Cochrane from the Council for International Students has criticised the current approach to water safety training for overseas students.

"A huge issue is the difference in safety activities between the large institutions such as Sydney University and the smaller universities and colleges," Karen Cochrane told ABC News.

She added that "it would be great for the Federal Government to step in to make sure there is a national plan to educate international students, rather than relying on a case-by-case basis."

Keith Grima, a director at Sydney Surf Life Saving and a lifetime member of Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club, and Local MP for Kinsgsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite have teamed up to start water safety workshops at the club.

The aim is to tackle what the number of overseas student drownings in the state. and help build a national approach.

The University of New South Wales expert Assoc. Prof. Robert Brander agrees with others.

He told ABC News that water safety for overseas students needed to be improved as a priority.

The question now is should Australian universities make swimming and water safety classes compulsory for international students?

water safety
water safety
SBS
 

In 2016, after the drowning of an Indian student in Adelaide SBS Hindi spoke to Melbourne-based cross-cultural consultant and overseas students’ trainer Dr Fiona Price to make international students aware about beach safety in Australia.

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Dr Fiona Price
Fiona Price

Listen to Dr Fiona Price's full interview with SBS Hindi, including her tips on water safety and beach culture below: