Home' Teacher : November 2009 Contents NEWS 55
OS students misled
International students and information
technology (IT) graduates who paid for an
IT cou rse conducted by Zanok Technolo-
gies, a Melbourne-based IT ser vice and
consultancy, were misled, deceived and
exploited, the Federal Court has declared.
The court found Zanok and its principals,
Darley Stephen and Vanitha Darley, both
Indian nationals residing in Australia, had
engaged in misleading and deceptive and
unconscionable conduct toward the stu-
dents and graduates.
The Australian Competition and Con-
sumer Commission (ACCC) alleged that
Zanok had put job advertisements on vari-
ous websites including MyCareer, Seek and
Gumtree, offering various IT positions,
when Zanok was not offering job oppor-
tunities but rather 'IT training,' for which
applicants had to pay up to $4,700.
Federal Court Justice Edmonds found
that Zanok engaged in unconscionable
conduct by requiring foreign IT job seek-
ers to pay for IT training in circumstances
where it knew, or ought to have known, that
the job seekers were seeking paid jobs, not
training. Further, Zanok knew, or should
have known, that the students were typi-
cally from overseas, needed jobs to become
permanent residents and only paid for the
training because of Zanok's guarantee,
albeit an illusory one, of paid employment
at its end.
Justice Edmonds said that the conduct
'constituted more than simply taking advan-
tage of a superior bargaining position, but
involved an unconscientious exploitation of
another's inability or diminished ability to
conser ve his or her own interests.'
ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said
the case sent a clear message that the ACCC
would not hesitate to take action against
persons who seek to take advantage of, or
mislead, international students and those
seeking residency in Australia about train-
ing courses or job opportunities.
Last month's earthquake in Samoa and
American Samoa, which measured more
than eight on the Richter scale, and the two
earthquakes in the West Sumatra province
of Indonesia, both measuring about seven,
have destroyed schools and hospitals, cut
power lines and triggered landslides.
One of the worst disasters in West
Sumatra was the collapse of Gama School in
Padang, the capital of West Sumatra prov-
ince, where between 40 and 50 students
were trapped after the three-storey building
collapsed. About 55 schools affected by the
earthquake were located in the Pariaman
area of the province, about 50 kilometres
north of Padang.
The United Nations Children's Fund
Aceh Darussalam, which had been used by
students of schools devastated by the 2004
Boxing Day tsunami,for useby schools seri-
ously damaged by the first earthquake.
Five of American Samoa's 29 govern-
ment schools were closed as a result of
tsunami damage, after the earthquake in
Samoa and American Samoa. In Samoa,
the welfare of 2,000 displaced children is
among UNICEF's greatest concerns. Five
schools were destroyed. Samoa's Ministry of
Education rushed students back to schools
which were undamaged by the tsunami.
Vivien Hodgins, a media and drama
teacher at Mount Clear College in Ballarat,
Victoria, was killed when the Samoan tsu-
nami struck. Rebecca Martin, a teacher
from Rototuna Primary Schoolin Hamilton,
New Zealand, was also killed when the
Samoan tsunami struck.
UNICEF is working alongside the Aus-
tralian New Zealand govern ments on a
coordinated recovery response.
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