After a near doubling of international student arrivals over the past five years:
A new national survey from the University of New South Wales has found that the majority of Australians (54%) believe international student numbers should be limited. From The AFR:
The results show 54 per cent thought foreign student numbers should be limited. Strongest support was in the 18 to 34-year-old age group with nearly 62 per cent of people saying they thought international student numbers should be limited…
Is anybody surprised by these findings? The growth in international students across Australia’s universities has been extreme:
Dr Cameron Murray – an economics lecturer at the University of Queensland – did a great job dissected the issue via Twitter:
A thread on my experience:
1. 90% of students in my economics masters classes are international.
2. Half of them struggle with basic English
3. When I ask in tutorials why they are doing the degree, half tell me that they “need more points for their residency visa” (1/n)
4. They tell me they choose economics because they can do the maths but don’t need to understand anything or write anything.
5. I always set written essays or reports. Students tell me that they know other students are using paid ‘essay writing’ services to pass my class (2/n)
6. If half the class can’t understand English it brings down standards. It must—unless I fail half the class.
7. Think about the incentives—a casual lecturer who costs $25,000 fails 50 students paying $250,000. Change lecturer next year or reduce intake to keep standards? (3/n)
8. It is frustrating when top international students from foreign governments/central banks come to your class, then sit next to rich Chinese (almost always Chinese) who can’t understand a word and are there to buy a visa (4/n)
9. The evidence shows the effect on standards is real. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027277571200028310
None of this is a secret. That research is from 2011. Here’s an article from 2014: https://www.smh.com.au/education/academics-accuse-universities-of-addiction-to-international-students-and-their-cheating-20141112-11lbdi.html
10. Unfortunately, this reality conflicts with the widely believed myth that our immigration program brings in “high skilled” workers.
11. 350,000 international students paying $25,000+ per year to study is $9billion being pumped through our top dozen universities. (6/n)
12. Halving the number of international students would keep all the good students, boost standards for all, and remove the visa scams.
13. But this would remove $4.5billion per year of revenue to the universities. (7/n)
14. In sum, universities are being degraded so they can be used as a back-door immigration program, and no one at the senior levels of universities or major political parties want to change it.
15. It is nearly career suicide for younger academics to say anything about it (8/8)
I forgot to add that almost every student I failed or called out for plagiarism got second and third chances until they passed. After the first chance it is taken out of my hands to higher ups at the faculty…
There is nothing new in this thread.
@4corners did a big investigation a few years ago. Nothing changed AFAIK. People are just used to the new reality. https://economics.com.au/2015/04/17/universities-corruption-and-standards-its-not-just-academic-anymore/
More here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/free-ride-past-language-barrier/news-story/9082a4d2234f019af2ddd1f68be73a8f and here: https://economics.com.au/2011/03/16/are-we-going-easy-on-foreign-students-in-order-to-get-more-revenue/
As suggested by Dr Cameron Murray, the primary motivation for many international students to study in Australia is to gain backdoor permanent residency and/or work rights.
In fact, the lobby group representing international students in Australia – the Council for International Students in Australia (CISA) – point blank admitted that they come to Australia for permanent residency, not because of the quality of education on offer:
The Council for International Students in Australia said foreign potential students were attracted to Australia by the possibility of migrating here.
But Mr Dutton’s strong views on border policy and his statement that Australia should reduce its intake of migrants “where we believe it is in our national interest” would tip the balance for some would-be students…
The national president of CISA, Bijay Sapkota, said… “For people coming from low socio-economic backgrounds there has to be a value proposition. If they go home they will not get value. So there has to be a possibility of immigration.”
We already know that the majority of Australians want the immigration intake to be lowered, as revealed by the majority of recent opinion polls:
- Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
- Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
- Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
- Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
- Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year;
- CIS: 65% in the highest income decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up;
- ANU: Only three out of 10 Australians believe the nation needs more people.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the majority also want international student numbers curbed, given Australia’s education system has effectively become an integral part of the immigration industry and the federal government’s ‘Big Australia’ policy.
Of course, Australia’s rent-seeking universities love the current arrangement because they get to ‘clip the ticket’ and maximise fees and profits from the flood of international students arriving in the hope of transitioning to permanent residency, and have lowered standards to entice ever greater numbers.
Vice-chancellors’ pay has exploded to an average of $1 million on the back of the student flood, while ordinary university students are stuck paying off expensive and increasingly worthless degrees, taxpayers are stuck writing-off unpayable debts, and the broader population is suffering under the never-ending population squeeze.
Policymakers must restore integrity to the university system, beginning with removing the link between international students studying at university and gaining work visas and permanent residency. Australia’s universities must no longer be used as a backdoor pathway for immigration, and must be forced to compete on quality and value alone.