Cheating charges cut both ways

Cheating charges cut both ways

Allegations of cheating against a few Africans might have unfairly cast a shadow over the entire community. But many African students who come to India for studies are cheated as well, and in big numbers.

Here are a few cases that are key to understanding how widespread is the problem:

“After completing one year of my course at a nursing college here and when I was about to sit for exams, my college authorities tell me that I am not eligible for pursuing General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) course here,” says Lawal Racheal Oluwatimilehin, a student from Nigeria.

The principal of the same college had told him during admission that he was eligible for the course. “He had collected $3,500 as tuition fee before taking my original school certificates to give me a seat. One year of my stay here in Bengaluru had gone waste as I had to again start from scratch," rued Lawal, who came to Bengaluru in 2014 and is overstaying here since November last year.

Lawal eventually managed to get admission in a different college. But once again she felt cheated on learning that the institution was not recognised according to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO). She is now desperately trying to extend her visa for completing her education here after finally finding a genuine college.

But Lawal is not the only victim. Eight of 10 Africans who come to Bengaluru for education end up getting cheated by one college or the other, says Emmanuel, a student leader. “There are a lucky few who get admission to reputed colleges, but a majority of them are lured by colleges that are non-recognised and whose bonafides are unacceptable for FRRO.

Emmanuel elaborates: “When an African back home expresses interest in studying in Bengaluru, agents there show websites of several colleges in east, north and northeast Bengaluru, showing off their infrastructure, reputation, recognition and other facilities. But when the student lands here, they discover these colleges either function from a couple of floors at some commercial complex or 3-4 bedroom houses.”

Some colleges even claim that they have hostel facilities for students. But in reality, these are rooms rented out by house-owners living nearby, he adds.

A reputable nursing college in Kumaraswamy Layout harassed a Nigerian student by forcing her to study in the college. This, despite she writing to them that her sponsor for her education had died. She had sought a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to get back to her country as she would be unable to pursue with her studies. But the college was adamant that she continue her course and is refusing to give her her original certificates and the NOC.

She had already paid $4,000 as fee for a year, and now the college is forcing her to pay the entire course fee to relieve her.

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