Setting their sights on Australia
International students have been going to Australia for higher education since six decades ago. Asians were the first to do so in an organised way through the Colombo Plan. Now, Australia has emerged as one of the most attractive academic destinations not just for Asian students but everyone across the globe. In the last 60 years, it has been successful in attracting students from over 100 countries including Nepal, making it the third largest destination in the world for foreign students after the United Kingdom and the United States.
Though Nepali students have been flying to Australia for a number of decades, their numbers soared between 2006 to 2009 after it decided to adopt a liberal visa policy. The good times did not last long, and strict visa regulations were enforced for international students. However, student departures to Australia have rebounded after the Streamlined Visa Policy (SVP) came into effect in March 2012. According to the Ministry of Education, the number of Australia-bound Nepali students obtaining No Objection Certificates (NOC) jumped from 2,341 in fiscal 2010-11 to 3,644 in 2011-12. The number swelled to 4,408 in 2012-13, making up more than 20 percent of all the students obtaining NOCs. As of the third quarter of this fiscal year, the number of students exploded to 6,121, or almost half of the 13,309 students who received NOCs.
Nepali students can be found in more than 70 countries across the world pursuing higher education. Education consultants cite multiple factors for the attraction of Australia among Nepali students. “The Australian government has made immense investments to boost the academic sector,” said Kumar Karki, managing director at Landmark Education Centre. “It is among the few countries in the world to provide legal security to the investment made by international students as they make up over 30 percent of the students in the country.” Despite the huge flow of students into Australia, there are only 41 universities there which has made it easier for the government to monitor them and ensure the quality of education they provide. According to a recent ranking, Australia accounted for seven out of the 100 top universities in the world. The universities under Group 8—Australian National University, Melbourne University, Sydney University, University of Queensland, University of New South Wales, Monash University, University of Western Australia and Adelaide University—are renowned worldwide for their academic excellence.
In addition to strong academic credentials and a choice of over 22,000 courses from more than 1,100 institutions, Australia is one of the best places in the world to live. It has five out of the 30 best cities in the world for students based on student mix, affordability, quality of life and employer activity which are important elements for students when choosing the best study destination.
According to Umesh Pandey, chief at Motif Language and Abroad Studies, Australia is among the few developed countries that were only slightly affected by the economic recession, therefore, there are ample job opportunities for students even during the school season. International students are allowed to work for 40 hours fortnightly. Australia’s per capita income is over AUS$ 42,000.
Things to be taken into consideration before heading off to Australia
The basic criteria that determine who can apply for studies in Australia are pretty simple: Every student who has passed high school or has an intermediate degree with at least second-division marks and a 6.5 score, with a 6 in all the brands in International English Language Testing System (IELTS), can apply for the Australian undergraduate degree. However, the eligibility for admission depends on universities and the courses the students want to take. Those who manage to secure a 5.5 on the IELTS can sometimes get admitted, but they have to take separate classes to prove their English proficiency.
Once the IELTS requirements have been met, it’s time for the students to undertake a whole lot of research. Students should search for colleges and universities that best suit their interests of study and gauge for themselves whether they can come up with the finances needed. They also have to compare the strengths of and specialties offered by different academic institutions before deciding on their choice.
The consultants suggest that students also take the help of their friends and relatives studying in Australia besides getting information from the concerned authorities in the universities. The students should also have a proper knowledge of the status of the academic institutions that they have decided to attend. In this regard, alumni can be of immense help. As there are different types of scholarships available in different universities, students should also see if they can qualify for them before choosing the academic institutions. The criteria for enrollment are different depending on the Nepali universities the student has graduated from.
The Australian government has categorised Tribhuvan University (TU) and Kathmandu University (KU) in section one, while Purbanchal and Pokhara Universities fall in section two.
For students who have a bachelor's from the universities under section one, with first-division marks in three years, their degrees are considered to be equivalent to an Australian bachelor's.
However those from section two universities must have a four-year bachelor's with a GPA of 3 for their degree to be equivalent to an Australian one; or they have to have a master's, which will be pegged on a level equal to an Australian bachelor's. These things should be taken into consideration before applying for any Australian degree.
After selecting the college, students need to prepare the supporting documents to send along with the application. The documents vary depending on the course provider and the qualification of the prospective student. The most important documents are certificates that verify previous educational experience and evidence of English-language proficiency. As most of the academic institutions are partners with a number of agents, it is easier and more convenient for the students to apply from such authorised consultancies. The universities thoroughly study the reasons that students have for wanting to go to Australia: they especially want to see if the previous qualifications and grades align with the subject the students want to study and whether the students have the financial resources to meet the cost of education. Some of the colleges do take interviews with the students but that requirement varies depending upon the course and academic institutions. After evaluating the certificates and documents, the college issues a 'Letter of Offer' for deserving students. The letter is a contract between the student and the institution: It sets out the course the student wants to be enrolled in, enrollment conditions, the fees needed to be paid and the refund payable if one don't complete the course with that provider.
The tuition fees range from AUS$ 9,000 (Rs 8000,000) to AUS$ 15,000 (Rs 1.2 million) per semester. However the fees vary depending upon the university and college, their location and the course the students want to study. Normally students are asked to make monetary arrangements that will see them through at least one year. The Australian government has pegged AU$ 18,610 as the annual cost for living, according to the Australian standard, and students should be well prepared to come up with the cost of living. When flying in to Australia, students can take traveller's cheques worth up to US$ 2,500, and they can later take additional amounts as per their needs.
After the student has made the fee payments for at least of one semester, the university provides conformation of enrollment. With the conformation in hand students can apply for a visa at the Australian High Commission. The commission, after studying the documents and interviewing students, decides whether or not to issue a visa; this process normally takes around one month and the maximum period would be two months. Since the introduction of the streamlined visa processing system in March 2012, the selection process has gotten better for genuine students. Those who have proficiency in English, are financially sound enough to bear the cost and meet Genuine Temporary Entrant requirements are called genuine students. Genuine Temporary Entrants are those students who would like to return home on completing their education.
As per Australian rules, students are allowed to work 40 hours fortnightly during their academic period and full-time during vacations. This helps students earn some of the cost of living; however the money they make thus is not enough. The part-time jobs that most students take up run the gamut from being a waiter and bar keep in restaurants to working as sales boys and girls in department stores. Similarly there are opportunities in care giving, housekeeping and in libraries. Therefore students who have prior training and experience in these areas will have an added advantage. As an international student on a student visa, one must study with an institution and in a course that is registered with the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). CRICOS registration guarantees that the course and the institution that offers them meet the high standards expected by international students.
The comparatively smaller number makes it easier for the Australian government to properly monitor and manage the universities. This helps in maintaining the academic standard and reputation internationally. The list of the Universities has been given below in an alphabetical order.
> Australian Catholic University [ACU]
> Australian National University [ANU]
> Bond University [Bond]
> Central Queensland University [CQU]
> Charles Darwin University [CDU]
> Charles Sturt University [CSU]
> Curtin University [CURTIN]
> Deakin University [Deakin]
> Edith Cowan University [ECU]
> Flinders University [FLINDERS]
> Griffith University [GRIFFITH]
> James Cook University [JCU]
> La Trobe University [LATROBE]
> Macquarie University [MACQUARIE]
> Monash University [MONASH]
> Murdoch University [MURDOCH]
> Queensland University of Technology [QUT]
> RMIT University [RMIT]
> Southern Cross University [SCU]
> Swinburne University of Technology [SWINBURNE]
> University of Adelaide [ADELAIDE]
> University of Ballarat [BALLARAT]
> University of Canberra [CANBERRA]
> University of Melbourne [MELBOURNE]
> University of New England [UNE]
> University of New South Wales [UNSW]
> University of Newcastle [NEWCASTLE]
> University of Notre Dame [UNDA]
> University of Queensland [UQ
> University of South Australia [UniSA]
> University of Southern Queensland [USQ]
> University of Sydney [SYDNEY]
> University of Tasmania [UTAS]
> University of Technology Sydney [UTS]
> University of the Sunshine Coast [USC]
> University of Western Australia [UWA]
> University of Western Sydney [UWS]
> University of Wollongong [UOW]
> Victoria University [VU]
source: Ghimire,Binod (2014),"Setting their sights on Australia", The Kathmandu post,21 Jan 2014
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