STORM for education

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Vamsi Parvataneni came to Australia 10 years ago as a student and has memories of being attacked one night when he was in university—the reason for the attack, he insists, had nothing to do with his race
The recent attacks on Indian students cannot be seen as racist, says Vamsi Parvataneni of the STORM global educational consulting group. Parvataneni, as the head of STORM, has been closely involved with students from India studying in Australia. STORM represents an impressive array of reputed Australian universities in the Indian overseas student market, and Parvataneni claims that his consultancy is easily the biggest and most professional in the south of India.

The head of the STORM Group has been actively involved in championing the cause of overseas students from India—both here in Australia and in India. He is highly critical of education consultants who are in the business just to make a fast buck and not keep the interests of the students in mind. These agents, according to him, are able to take advantage of the lax admission procedures in many of the newer and smaller educational institutions. Further, they mislead aspiring students in India with false information about Australia’s economy and society.

Parvataneni says that none of the students coming through his agency have so far been victims of violence, and that this is largely due to the rigorous procedures of screening an applicant’s qualifications and matching students with the right institutions, and also, importantly, giving students relevant and comprehensive information on living and studying downunder. Speaking to the Indus Age in his city office, Parvataneni, said that students who got attacked were mostly at the wrong place at the wrong time, and the attacks were clearly not racist in nature. Parvataneni firmly believes that Australia is not a racist country and the Indian media has sensationalised the whole issue.

Vamsi Parvataneni came to Australia 10 years ago as a student and has memories of being attacked one night when he was in university—the reason for the attack, he insists, had nothing to do with his race. Moreover, from his many years’ experience as an education consultant Parvataneni believes Indian students can do a great deal to ensure their security in Australia. Cultural awareness, a good practical understanding of all the different places in the city and the dangers of night-time commuting can all go a long way in making a difference to the foreign student’s life in Australia, explains Parvataneni.

Parvataneni does not think that it is fair to criticise the Indian consulate here. He feels that suggestions asking the consulate to liaise more closely with students, a demand made by a visiting MP from India recently, are not necessarily practical.

STORM has only a small share of the Indian overseas student market, and nearly all the work the group does is for the big educational institutions where there are better support services for students. Parvataneni argues that the huge numbers of youth coming from India on student visas hoping to gain residency is what has created the current scenario. Since most of these students study in newly-opened small educational colleges, they come with fewer cultural and educational capabilities that make them suitable for life in Australia. The situation of unemployment and lack of opportunity for the growing population of India’s youth makes them gullible and eager to come to Australia at any cost, and worry about their prospects only after they are in the country.

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