Australia is tightening English language requirements for foreign students. This is being touted as a bid to improve standards across the country’s 28 billion dollars ($22 billion) international education market.
According to the government data, there are more than 5,50,000 international students in Australia. And this is listed as the lucrative sector as the country’s third-largest export earner.
The Present Scenario
Currently, prospective overseas students can take an intensive English course to prepare for further studies. That is if they do not already have other qualifications showing their ability to study in the language.
Now the above category of student will also have to take a new official test of their language skills before they can start such university or vocational studies. This is to ensure they have reached the required standard as asserted by the Australian Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
What Education Ministry Of Australia Says
“The vast majority of language courses are providing high-quality outcomes… but some slip through the cracks and it’s unacceptable for that to occur,” Birmingham told the media.
No details were provided on what the test would include. But the education minister Birmingham said its standard would be enforced by the national education regulator. He added he did not believe the measure would hurt international student numbers. Nevertheless, he asserted that it would instead strengthen the integrity of the education system, making it more appealing to potential arrivals.
Some 16 per cent of the country’s international enrolments are for pre-studies language courses, according to July figures from the education department. The top three nationalities enrolled in pre-studies language courses are Chinese (27 per cent), Brazilian (12 per cent) and Colombian (8.7 per cent).