Two more Australian colleges without accreditation enrolled students

2019-02-22

The Kathmandu Post


- BINOD GHIMIRE KATHMANDU, At a time when hundreds of nursing students at the Australia Institute of Business and Technology are in limbo, two more technical institutes in Sydney are found to have enrolled students in nursing courses without accreditation from the nursing and midwifery council.

Certification from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council is a must for the students who pursue nursing for internship and practice in health institutes as part of the curriculum.

The Sydney-based Australian Health and Management Institute and Nurse Training Australia are found to have enrolled dozens of students in nursing programmes. Most of the students are from Nepal.

Students from both the institutes are worried following the cancellation of AIBT’s registration by the Australian Skills Quality Authority as it was found to be flouting the education laws of the land.

The Health and Management Institute and the Nurse Training Australia (NTA) are in the same league of the Australia Institute of Business and Technology (AIBT), which enrolled hundreds of nursing students without the required accreditation. According to students from the NTA, around 80 Nepali students are doing nursing course there. 

According to a rough estimate by the students at the Health and Management Institute, more than 200 students have signed up for the nursing programme there.

At least six students from the two institutes told the Post that they were worried about their fate.

In a telephone conversation with the Post, a student from the NTA said, “The legal status of our institute is the same as that of the AIBT. We will lose thousands of dollars and a year if our college fails to get the ANMAC approval, which is highly possible.” 

The girl student, who sought anonymity as she feared retribution for “talking against the institute”, said if she had known that not having the ANMAC approval could lead to massive trouble, she wouldn’t have taken the course, or would have dropped the idea of studying in Australia in the first place.

The institute which was established last year has been pushing the deadline for receiving the ANMAC authentication. Now it claims that it will acquire it in early March, which is just two weeks away.

“I’m least hopeful our institute will get the accreditation in March,” another student told the Post over the phone. The students from the Health and Management Institute are going through similar problems. Students from both the nursing institutes have knocked on the door of the Council of International Student Australia, which is coordinating with the authorities to resolve the ongoing problem at AIBT. Both the nursing institutes didn’t respond to the Post’s email queries.

Bijay Sapkota, president of the Council of International Student Australia, said they have received complaints from students from the two institutes. “We are busy resolving the problems of students from AIBT now,” Sapkota told the Post over phone. “The issues of both the institutes are equally serious. We will focus on them very soon.”

Manager of a reputed education consultancy in Kathmandu said the AIBT case could be the tip of the iceberg, as many private colleges in Australia are enrolling students without ensuring proper accreditation. “Respective education consultancies, students and even the Australian High Commission should share the blame for the present crisis,” the manager said, wishing not to be named.

Education Consultancies Association Nepal, an umbrella body of the education consultancies, has responded to the AIBT issue, claiming that it is already in consultation with the Nepal government and the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu to find a solution.

“We want the credit of the students validated and their investment secured,” ECAN said in a statement on Thursday. It, however, stopped short of speaking about the consultancies that sent students to AIBT as most of them are its members. 

Some 47 consultancies in Nepal had sent the students to the institute that lacked accreditation.

The Australian Embassy in Nepal also issued a statement on Thursday saying it acknowledges that the recent development could have significant impacts on the hundreds of students enrolled in the AIBT.

The embassy has advised students at AIBT to remain enrolled and continue to attend classes to ensure that the conditions of their visa are met and their recourse to the Tuition Protection Service is assured, should the provider cease to deliver its courses. 

“In the event that AIBT does stop operating, it would be their responsibility to find students an alternative course or pay them a refund of their unspent tuition fees. If an alternative placement is not possible, the Tuition Protection Service will seek to place the institute’s students with an alternate provider or if that is not possible, consider refund of the students’ unspent tuition fees,” reads the statement.