International students crowd out Victorian school children

Over many years, MB has received frequent reports of overcrowding across Melbourne’s schools (e.g. here, here and here).

The story is always similar: the acceleration in immigration, high-rise apartments and fringe housing developments are dramatically driving up student numbers, resulting in schools being crush-loading.

Forecasts frequently suggest that student numbers will balloon, thereby requiring the delivery of  dozens of new schools, as well as the upgrading of existing schools.

For example, the Victorian Auditor General forecast that the state would require 50 new schools by 2021 for a projected 90,000 new students:

Similarly, Peter Goss at the Grattan Institute estimated that Victoria would require 220 new schools in the decade to 2026 to keep pace with student enrolments, with Melbourne’s inner-city most in need:

ScreenHunter_11161 Jan. 22 08.29

Today, we have received another warning, this time from the Victorian Education Department, which estimates that Victorian schools will have to squeeze in 25,000 more students than initially projected as enrolments soar at an unprecedented rate over the next five years. From The Age:

The Education Department has revised its enrolment figures and now anticipates that state, Catholic and independent schools will have to accommodate 115,000 extra students.

The new figures, obtained by The Age and based on updated Census data, eclipse previous projections of 90,000 additional students between 2018 and 2023…

Overcrowded schools are already rolling out three-storey portables, running classes in hallways and staggering lunch times…

Ms Podbury said schools would struggle to meet demand if enrolments continued to grow at such a pace…

The underlying driver of Victoria’s student boom is the federal government’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy:

When I worked at the Victorian Treasury in 2006, the State Government had just released “Melbourne 2030”, which projected that the city’s population would reach 5 million people by 2030. In 2010, the Victorian Government released “Melbourne Beyond 5 million”, which projected that Melbourne would add one million people in 15 years and warned that the city was not ready for this growth.

Melbourne has already smashed those projections, hitting 5 million people last year, 12 years ahead of the projections in Melbourne 2030, after adding a whopping 590,000 people in just the five years to 2018. And Melbourne’s population is projected to double again to more than 10 million in just 48 years, according to the ABS:

The crush-loading of schools and infrastructure is only going to worsen according to Infrastructure Australia’s modelling, which shows that as Melbourne’s population balloons to a projected 7.3 million people by 2046, traffic congestion and access to jobs, schools, hospitals and green space will all worsen significantly regardless of how the city is built-out:

To add insult to injury, the Victorian Government wants to expand the number of international students at Victoria’s schools, which will unnecessarily exacerbate the overcrowding problems.

After it was revealed last month that Victorian schools are about to exceed the enrolment cap of 5,750 international students, Victoria’s education minister, James Merlino, announced he would seek to have the cap lifted:

Education Minister James Merlino said the limit being reached was “testament to the quality of our schools and the growing strength of Victoria’s students abroad”, and said he had sought urgent advice on how to ensure more students could be enrolled in 2020…

“I want to see more schools offering international student places, and more international students coming to Victoria,” Mr Merlino said…

“We will be working closely with schools and looking at how we can grow the number of international students and the number of international places.”

Given Victoria’s schools are already bursting at the seams, and enrolment numbers are projected to skyrocket, where is the sense in burdening Victoria’s schools with thousands more international students? Many Victorian schools are already way over-enrolled, and local children are missing-out on their school of choice.

Further, how will the Victorian Government ensure that education standards are maintained? As we have seen with Australia’s universities, the sharp increase in international student numbers has resulted in a dilution of standards as teachers have come under pressure to cater to international students at the expense of locals in order to keep the fees rolling in.

The Victorian Government is already failing to provide for local school students.  So why exacerbate these problem by expanding the number of international students at Victoria’s schools?

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Leith van Onselen
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  1. haroldusMEMBER

    All weekend discussion must be on the topic of Victorian schools and international students.

    • My daughters previously attended one of the largest public primary schools in NSW, and we definitely saw the school gradually requiring more documents and doing more extensive checks over the years. There was also a recent controversy about a new inner-city school in Sydney whose catchment area was drawn in a very suspicious way, so that some students living within 150m of the school were not allowed to attend, instead giving up their spot to students living in more distant and more affluent suburbs. I’m not sure how it finally got resolved (if at all).

      • those students were’t giving up their spots to those in affluent areas – those in affluent areas are mostly going private for high school so the education department can draw a bigger catchment area there (as they don’t get many students) but go south of cleveland street and the school will be full before you a few blocks.

        disclaimer – I was on the P&C of a public primary in the catchment and have been to many sessions on this inner city high school. there is no drama but the usual whingeing about catchments. it is not unusual to have a school on the border of its catchment – paddington primary is just one example (and that is within the larger catchment of the new inner city high school).

  2. We’re now selling out the children in school. Why aren’t there riots in the street? What a piss weak country we’ve become.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Exactly. Australian used to be a nation of hard and tough people, with pride in our nation. Being governed by a weak politically correct sell out like Dan Andrews or Scummo would have been unthinkable and Australian’s need to have an immediate rethink on who we are, because I doubt the majority actually hold the values of those in power who are eroding the life of the born resident population.

    • DominicMEMBER

      +1. The French would have rioted ages ago

      When it begins here you’ll know things are beyond unbearable.

  3. reusachtigeMEMBER

    We just need to build more schools, that is all. Make them user-pays in those areas that really need them. Those who really want their children educated will pay for it. Those that don’t care, or aren’t an achieving family, shouldn’t have their children free-load on the system.

    • Most kids could do with learning the value of a day’s work anyway because they tend to be snotty little avocado munchers. Indulgently wasting the day learning about stupid science won’t help them get ahead in the same was as getting a job and leveraging it into property riches.

    • There is no need to build schools. Use the school of the air model to build the school of the internet. Then ramp up the immigration again so we can build more homes and more roads and more…..Hospitals maybe…oh and of coarse more roads…sewage…and plenty of employment for all the service industries required by the increasing population.
      Better yet, sell, no, give the existing schools to a developer for $1 and they can build more units for the increasing population. Then build more roads. One teacher per 1000 students on the internet and the wages savings can be used to offset the losses given to the developer. Everybody wins.

  4. Worked on M2030 myself and I’m 100% certain that 5 million population forecast for 2030 was not the base case but a ‘high growth’ forecast. We’ve completely eclipsed it. Then to deny the children of taxpayers in favour of foreign imports is treasonous.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Foreign imports who have never and will never contribute to the tax base of this nation, and their lives are designed around who they can pick from the pockets of the Australian people.

      • DominicMEMBER

        True, but you can hardly blame the immigrants — they weren’t the treasonous cu next tuesdays who opened the gates to all-comers. There is only one group of people who deserve our ire and you know who that is.

      • Presumably, like their uni counterparts, these kids’ parents pay through the nose to get them into Aussie schools.
        So it’s a quick sugar hit for the state education departments?

      • Yep. The globalists keep saying “we need mass immigration because the younger immigrants will support older Aussies by paying income taxes”.

        Some will never pay income tax. And why cut income taxes if income taxes are needed to support old voters? And why give Aussie passports to foreigners? Be like Dubai – deport the foreigners when they retire.

      • John Howards Bowling Coach

        Actually their parents pay nothing because a massive cohort are taking some sort of residence in the public school catchment zones of their chosen school. Have a look at Box Hill High School and Balwyn Secondary Colleges in Melbourne’s East. These type of High Performing Schools along with many others like Mount Waverley Seconday College are flooded with migrants on temporary/bridging and eventually PR Visas, all gaming the system at full publicly funded Schools. Shame on us for enabling it via the underground industry of Visa Agents, the Mortgage Brokers of the Mass Immigration Rort.

    • wow. Thanks for that tid bit. I never knew that 5 million in 2030 was not base case!

  5. “We will be working closely with schools and looking at how we can grow the number of international students and the number of international places.”

    What are they drinking down there in Mexico?

    I’d think his priority would be trying to expedite new school construction to relieve the pressure, not add more of of the latter.

    Is the money from foreign school kids really that good? Or is this another ‘kitchen sink’ effort to enlist cashed up foreigners to prop up the housing bubble?

    • DominicMEMBER

      Have you not noticed that mass immigration is a “given” — it’s set in stone in the minds of these cretins. The challenge is working around the issues that arise from it all.

  6. robert2013MEMBER

    Schools are being used as cash cows for governments run by bean counters and property interests. Truly sickening. School is about more than just teaching the essentials. It’s one of the few mass community engagement platforms. It’s where shared culture is born and passed on. To allow foreigners to overrun that system communicates very clearly that Australians are with nothing in their own country. Actually that’s too weak. Australians don’t have a country at all. They are at best an inconvenience. More and more old Australian familes are beginning to recognising this. There is more and more home schooling. I reckon there’s a growing market for after school classes in English and European history, languages and culture. It’s completely unserved. Australians of British descent are starting to recognise that despite still being the numerically dominant group, in a multicultural society, their history is not the one that will be taught. If I’m right, then we can expect increasing fragmentation of the people who live in Australia as different people seek ways to defend their heritage.

  7. Just this week on ABC radio in Adelaide they did a thing on how great it was that o/s students were in the system & it increased vibrancy (no actual evidence or checking as to what that might be or mean?). But of course it was categorically denied that o/s students blocked places from Aussie kids. LOL! The explanation & wriggling was excruciating. It was so false & so pathetic it is almost worth giving up. Not one scrap of evidence. Just total crap, but everyone just accepts it as given. But then they can’t understand why their kid can’t get in to a good school….? LOL no recognition of why.

  8. LordDudleyToldYouSo

    I’m back, baby!

    I predicted all of this years ago. The continued crush loading (Australia’s immigration rate is 3.4x the US per-capita). The creeping authoritarianism; once you run a full fledged concentration camp, there’s little to stop you bring those policies internally. The hollowed out economy of red dirt and overpriced houses. The deliberate sabotage of other sectors (last year’s law where the government can compel engineers to backdoor their own system was a doozy). The destruction of Australia’s education system in a race to the bottom for international students; remember, they paid for their education, so no matter how shit they are, you can’t fail ’em!

    And what did Australians do as a result of this? Voted back in the LNP. Check out SAP’s percentage of the vote… they may as well not exist. Always remember that Australia is going down the toilet because THIS IS WHAT AUSTRALIANS WANT. In aggregate Australians embrace the population ponzi (or at the very least have been programmed to ignore its negative effects), they love land prices being ruinously high, they love authoritarians who harass journos and lefties, they love concentraction camps, and they absolutely hate success through educational attainment. The voting patterns over the years repeatedly bear this out.

    At this stage, all you’ve got left is a decent health-care system and gun control. And now that the LNP are secure, and Murdoch has proved he can absolutely brain-wash the Australian populace, expect the decent health-care to disappear further down the corporate black-hole.

    There are two outs:
    1. Emigrate (that’s what I did – it’s waaay better here).
    2. Save and invest well and become rich – that way the oligarchs that run Australia will create policy that benefits you at the expense of everyone else. And you’ll be able to afford private schools, which will be important after the LNP achieve their oft-repeated goal of utterly destroying the public system.

    Good luck everyone, because given the proclivities of the Australian electorate, you’re going to need it. Ha ha ha ha ha!

    • Exactly LD. I loved my nearly 7 years in the USA. We moved back when we had young kids. My eldest has 3 passports (Aus, UK, USA – natural born citizen), my other 2 have 2 (Aus / UK). So they have a put option.

      I am also trying my best on #2. Thankfully we have just paid off our mortgage so living in Sydney sans mortgage actually makes the private school fees bearable.

  9. LordDudleyToldYouSo

    Australia has completely lost it. Check this out:

    “Level 2 accreditation usually applies to secondary schools who are seeking to establish and grow an International Student Program and provide homestay and welfare services to international students holding a subclass 500 Student – Schools visa. Accordingly, there is greater level of responsibility for both the Department and schools in the provision of these services to international students.”

    Marketing to international students (aka their parents, because school kids don’t make international move decisions), and providing welfare. It’s INSANE.

    Also, based on the population projections, by 2046 Melbourne will have a population comparable to the SF Bay Area. I lived there for years, and its severely unaffordable. A family needs to bring in about $200k to be above water. It sort of works because a lot of jobs there pay over that… but on $200k it’s still not great. Thankfully, the Bay Area ain’t the US. Plenty of other places to go.

    Melbourne doesn’t have the economy to support those kinds of wages. The result will be failed infrastructure and poverty. And with Sydney being just as bad, and the rest of Australia having no economy but red dirt, there’s no outlet valve.

    The easygoing Oz lifestyle is toast. It’s a matter of time before more and more of the youth adopt a “get rich or die tryin'” approach to life.

    • you got it right Lord D … l gave up years ago thinking the sheeple, aka Australian electorate, would demand a stop to the population ponzi, aka multiculturalism. The flow on effects of housing ‘wealth’ and cheap gee-gaws and vibrancy of food choices is all that was required for the majority to stand by and not just watch but actively participate (by voting choices made) in the destruction of all that made Australia one of the few places really worth living in …

      for mine, I worked and invested and now am in the privileged position of being able to live where I want when I want and can enjoy whats left of liveable Australian lifestyle while I watch events unfold. At some point I’ll probably have to make a decision as to which country I’ll be in for my final years – seems less likely to be Oz and more likely US with the way things are developing … at least I’ll have a choice…

      • Can’t understand why some people here want to move to the US… isn’t it like what we’re becoming but times ten? And minus Medicare, plus guns. Is your intention to move to Montana or some other very… well, you know, state, because I think much of the US is more multicultural than Sydney and Melbourne.

      • LordDudleyToldYouSo

        ToWhom: the advantage of the USA is diversity in city size, industry, landscape and culture. Some parts of the US are completely broken. Others not so much.

    • Gee exaggeration much? The easygoing Oz lifestyle is not toast – outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Go to Perth, the place is still as sleepy as it was 20 yrs ago. Or go to rural WA or any other regional city in Aust.

      • no not exaggeration LS… simple observation. Not doing anything tomorrow. Sure regional places have things – for now- going for them. Let’s wait and see in a few years more …

        @To whom … and of course we had to have the simplistic ‘he’s an old wh!te fart who can’t adjust to a new environment’ BS. Nothing north of the snow line you [likely/possible] snowflake … my destination is the panhandle, you know (though probably you don’t) the REAL south. A place where races of all shades mix and get on … oh, and those guns, yeah…. give me a chance to defend myself any day …

      • LordDudleyToldYouSo

        In a lot of industries, there are no jobs outside of Sydney and Melbourne. Space and ‘easy going’ lifestyles are useless when there’s no work.