Turnbull is trying to woo students from India, but some Australian educational institutions are saying no

Students Source: Wikimedia

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham try to woo Indian students to Australia, Australian educational institutions have been identified singling out students who've gained qualifications in the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana as "unaccepted."

A TAFE in Geelong has stated it does not accept year 12 results from the state boards of Indian states Punjab and Haryana  for admission to courses that otherwise accept Year 12 entry results from across South Asia. 

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham are leading a 120-strong delegation of education providers to woo more Indian students to study in Australia, some education providers have blanket-banned students with qualifications from Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).

The Gordon TAFE in Geelong states on its website that it doesn’t accept Year 12 results from PSEB and Haryana State Board and that applicants are required to present a Central Board (India's national-level education board) examination result for year 12 or higher qualification in order to secure admission to a course which does otherwise accept year 12 qualifications from elsewhere. 

A screenshot of The Gordon TAFE website.
The Gordon

A spokesperson for The Gordon TAFE told SBS Punjabi they didn’t set this rule and were merely following the standards sent by the “department”.

“We go by the DIBP [Department of Immigration and Border Protection],” she said declining to comment further.

The department said in a statement that the visa rejections were due to fake documents.

Sukant Trivedi, a Punjab-based education agent says many education providers in Australia are denying admission to students with PSEB qualifications.

“You may not see it on their websites, or they may not openly say it but there is empirical evidence that many education providers including many universities don’t accept PSEB results,” he told SBS Punjabi.

Last year, a large number of Australian student visa applications were rejected for those who had attained their year 12 qualifications from the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), on the basis that year 12 qualifications from PSEB wasn’t considered equivalent to Australian grade 12.

Winners with PM Turnbull
Winners of Advance to Australia, “A2Oz” - India Schools Video Competition 2016-2017 awards, with Australian PM Turnbull on his visit to India

Later, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, seeking to dispel the notion of a blanket ban on the PSEB, clarified that a qualification from the Punjab School Education Board wasn’t the reason for the rejection of student visa applications.

“A qualification from the Punjab State Education Board is not a reason for refusal on its own," a spokesperson for the DBIP told SBS Punjabi in a statement

Mr Trivedi says while Australia’s Department of Immigration had cleared the air on the issue last year itself, the situation has led to a great deal of confusion among applicants from Punjab.

“The whole profile of students going to Australia has changed as a result of this and the number from Punjab has come down.”

“Australia’s loss is Canada’s gain. Most of the students are now applying for Canada because of their much simpler process,” he says.

A screenshot of RMIT University's website
RMIT University

Last year, SBS Punjabi reported that RMIT University also did not accept students with year 12 qualifications from PSEB.

According to information RMIT’s website, the university accepted students with qualifications from all state boards, excluding Punjab.

When contacted by SBS Punjabi, a spokesperson for the university had declined to comment but the reference to PSEB was removed from the website.

SBS Punjabi has contacted the DIBP for a comment.

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