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University of Copenhagen
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Protection demanded for international students

The murder of an Indian student in Melbourne has led to calls for an international agency to protect overseas students, at the World Universities Forum conference in Switzerland

A spate of attacks against overseas students in Australia and the murder of Nitin Garg, a 21 year old Indian graduate student at the Central Queensland University, have led to demands for a cross border agency to improve security for international students, writes Times Higher Education.

The proposed agency, which would support international students on physical safety, financial, work, housing and welfare issues, was discussed by Simon Marginson, professor of higher education at the University of Melbourne, in a speech to the World Universities Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He hopes such an agency would set a precedent for the treatment of other »mobile populations«.

Security issue will not go away

In a speech entitled “International student security: globalisation, state, university”, Professor Marginson says that the current approaches to, for example, a recent spate of racist attacks against Indian students in Australia are not working.

He also notes that the issue of security affects choices made by prospective international students.

»The problem of student security will not go away and will continue to affect family choices in the education market,« he says.


In his speech, he explains that international students are at risk »because they are strangers, because legal protections and policy obligations are sparse, and because there is no political mechanism for translating concerns about their welfare into action« and that the issues include racism against ‘non-white’ students.

»Overall, I suspect the position of non-white international students is better in Melbourne than it is in most parts of the USA and the UK, where racism is broader and deeper, though the UK Government is smarter in its handling of student safety and crime,« he said.

Professor Marginson, who teaches at Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education is one of four co-authors of International Student Security, to be published by Cambridge University Press this year.