It should by all logic be a joyful experience — a student goes abroad and comes back armed with a degree which will open the doors to a bright and economically viable future. But for many, as for the hapless students jettisoned after the London Metropolitan University was banned from sponsoring and teaching non-EU students for harbouring illegal immigrants under the guise that they were students, the doors to that future are firmly shut. If the Indian and other non-EU students do not find another university to sponsor them within 60 days, they face deportation. This means that many deserving students will face the axe for the sins of a few. But, the fault here lies with the university and it should ensure restitution to the students affected. Earlier, the Tri-Valley University in the US was shut down by the authorities after it was found to have been illegal and with it many Indian students found themselves at sea. To make matters worse, many had to wear ankle bracelets to monitor their movements prior to deportation unless they could find another university willing to take them in.
Many foreign universities lure gullible Indian students with the promise of employment during and after studies and even immigration. Most of the time, the students end up duped and return home to debt and unemployment. Families often mortgage all their assets to send their children for higher studies and when things do not work out, they are literally driven to penury. Indian students bring in a sizeable chunk of revenue to the education systems of countries like Britain, US, Canada and Australia. But they seem to get little by way of rights. This is not to mention the discrimination they often face, to the extent of violence as seen in some examples in Australia and even Britain. But the most alarming thing is the complete inaction on the part of the Government of India. It has to first set up a regulatory agency which can advise students on which universities are fly-by-night ones and which are genuine.
Once the student goes abroad for higher studies, he or she still remains the responsibility of the Indian government. When students find themselves in trouble as they do in London now, the government has to step in to put pressure on the British authorities to see that justice is done to those who have conformed to the rules. They should be helped to transfer to legal colleges rather than come home, having lost considerable money in fees, to start all over again. The fact that foreign universities are keen on Indian students is evident from the large number of roadshows that they hold in India. But, they must not be allowed to either con students or wash their hands of them when things go wrong. India is very proud of its economic clout. It must use precisely this to ensure justice for its students abroad. In the recent case, the government should have been in overdrive to protect innocent students. Instead, it seems inexplicably inert while the students are running from pillar to post to save their future.