Some Australian Universities are lowering their own English standards to try and lure high-paying foreign students.
ABC’s Four Corner Program has been told by academics that there has been a rise in the number of cases of academic misconduct. They are also seeing an increasing number of foreign students who are struggling.
These academics have pointed out incidents where foreign students have used phone apps to translate lectures. There are also many international students who struggled to use a computer or a USB drive.
To streamline the Student Visa system, the Federal Govt. gave more responsibility to the Universities in 2016. Universities in Australia, thus, had the responsibility to determine if a student had genuine intentions. They also had to ensure that the foreign students met the English standards.
Since then, international students need to convince the University rather than the Education Dept. that they can complete the course.
Universities in Australia are allowed to set their own English standards for international students. The right to waive the English requirement is also at their discretion, as per ABC News.
The Four Corner Program found that some Universities are accepting foreign students who fall below their own English standards. These students are granted admission through other routes instead of an English proficiency test.
Some Universities are also found accepting Medium of Instruction letters from foreign students of countries like Nepal and India. These MOI Letters state that the student had studied in English in their home country.
However, the Dept. of Home Affairs has stated that these MOI letters do not hold any legislative value. This is particularly true if the student is asked to furnish evidence of English proficiency.
Four Corners also found that Student Visa applications from some reputed Universities are automatically granted. Applicants do not need to provide English test results or funds documents.
The education industry in Australia is worth $34 billion to the economy of Australia. Thus, high-paying international students have become a valuable source of income for struggling Universities.
The Four Corners Program was also able to obtain some emails from Universities advertising waiver on the English requirement. The University of Tasmania and Southern Cross University were found to have provided a waiver on IELTS.
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