March 5, 2021

“Saada Haq Ethe Rakh” – Indian students plan protest in NZ

By Gurbir Singh:

Results of 20 Indian students who were studying Business diploma in Auckland, have been withheld by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) over serious concerns their course had been mismanaged by their academic institute.

Just before they were to finish their diploma last month, these students of Tasman International Academies were informed their results were being withheld pending an investigation due to “serious concerns about Tasman’s assessment and moderation of student work”.

Students have spent thousands of dollars studying, and now may have to leave the country without achieving their qualifications unless the NZQA and Immigration NZ intervenes because visas of most expire on 21 August.

Devastated students are now preparing to stage a protest outside the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s office in Auckland today, and even go on hunger strike to get their academic results released.

Their posters read: “Saada Haq Ethe Rakh”, “Stop Migrant Exploitation”, etc

Fighting back tears, Taniya Ahuja who is from Sirhind(Punjab, India) told a local TV channel, “We don’t have any options, we want to fight for our results, because we spent two years here.”

Students prepare for protest

“This is not [our] fault…We came here for a better future. We couldn’t see a future in India, that’s why we came here – better education – but now, this result, we can’t even think about our future now,” she said.

“And if we won’t get a positive outcome, then we might go for a hunger strike as well,” Tania said.

“We are ready for that. We don’t have any other options. We are ready to fight.”

Another affected student, Lakhwinder Singh said “I have spent around $30,000 in my three years of study… we will fight to our death.”

Some of these 20 students, including Lakhwinder, have been affected for the second time.

Lakwhinder was earlier studying in NZ National College in Auckland last year, which was shut down by NZQA over ongoing quality issues.

He had to restart his Business diploma at Tasman International Academies where his result has been withheld.

Last year, NZQA cancelled registration of 8 education providers for various concerns.

As visa for most of the students is expiring shortly, they have the option to apply for a temporary visa at an added cost while NZQA investigates Tasman.

In a statement, NZQA said, “We have been working alongside Tasman to come to a solution that allows the students to complete their qualifications without transfer to another provider, we have done this to minimise the impact on students.”

“We are unable to comment further on the detail of this matter as we currently work to ensure the interests of students at Tasman are protected while the quality concerns identified are addressed by the education provider.”

In response to the students’ appeal for help, the Immigration Minister, Iain Lees-Galloway said “I really feel for these students…It’s a blight on New Zealand’s reputation as a provider of international education.”

This has given a slight ray of hope to students as the Minister is exploring available options to help them.

This story was also earlier published by this journalist in Babushai.com