Record international student enrolments overload public schools

Over the weekend, The AFR ran two puff pieces on the record international student enrolments at Australian schools, which it presented as unambiguously positive.

The first article focused on the intake at Toorak College in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular:

There were more than 25,000 international students in Australian schools last year, an increase of 11 per cent on 2016.

Mostly arriving from China and India, these students can board informally, stay in hostels or go to an Australian boarding school…

The boarding house currently has 62 boarders living in it and 58 are international, two-thirds of whom are from China, says Dea, the rest mainly from south-east Asian countries…

“This part of Mornington Peninsula is not known for its multicultural diversity,” she says. Nevertheless, the international boarders add more to the school than they take out. We have a very harmonious boarding school.”

The second article focused on St Paul’s Anglican School in Brisbane’s north:

St Paul’s School in Brisbane’s north is an Anglican school with about 1300 students… Next semester there will be 128 students at St Paul’s International School…

“Australia is multi-cultural but north Brisbane is not that diverse. Foreign language students provide a rich perspective” [headmaster Paul Browning said]…

Data from Macquarie Research showed this year that international students, or their families, see student visas as a route to jobs and permanent residency in Australia.

Conveniently missing from the stories is that a high proportion of international students are going to public schools and contributing to chronic overcrowding. As reported by The Age in May:

For the first time, state schools have been warned they are at risk of breaching a cap on international students set by the Victorian schools’ watchdog…

Victorian Education Department said it would exceed the enrolment cap of 5750 students next term if it continued to receive international student applications…

“Please do not offer places at your school to education agents or direct applicants for 2019″…

International students pay around $15,000 per year to study at Victorian state schools… While some schools make a small profit off international students, many just break even because these students attract no state or federal funding.

Victoria’s schools are already bursting at the seems. Adding international students into the mix obviously makes the overcrowding situation much worse.

For example, the Victorian Auditor General in 2017 claimed that the state needed 50 new schools by 2021 to cater for a projected 90,000 new students. The Auditor General also warned that “school maintenance continues to be underfunded and is at levels below industry standards”:

Peter Goss, School Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, projected that Victoria would require 220 new schools in the decade to 2026 merely to keep pace with projected student enrolments:

According to Goss, the situation in Melbourne’s inner-city is most urgent due to the “cost and scarcity of land”, because “Melbourne’s five most central local government areas will each see a 30% to 60% increase in student numbers over the next decade”.

It is a slippery slope when Australia’s public schools become reliant on international students to supplement their funding. As we have already seen with Australia’s tertiary education sector, it inevitably leads to an erosion of education standards as teachers come under increasing pressure to cater to these students at the expense of local students in order to grow enrolments and keep the fees rolling in.

Many state schools are already over enrolled and the possibility of displacing local students with international students should be discouraged.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. When they say not very diverse they mean it’s too white. And we can’t have that. We need multiculturalism shovelled down even our kids throats. Fact is the australian pop public was never asked whether we wanted to be ‘diverse’. They are anti white.

    How diverse is China? Japan?

    • Surely we are in the top few nations in terms of diversity at the moment. If diversity was the rationale for more visas and immigration we would target areas that are not well represented here, south Americans perhaps.

    • ChinajimMEMBER

      Driving back home from a grocery shopping trip late last week my route took me up a road one short suburban block away from a local primary school well known for offering an international curriculum. It was obvious that school had just got out so I slowed down a little and noticed a couple of little kids in uniform evidently walking home with grandma. From their appearance I would say they were from a very large country in north-east Asia.

      The little girl was squatting down. How cute I thought, she and her brother are looking at some ants or maybe an interesting insect on the footpath. Or so I thought. At least she was only taking a pi$$.

      It took me back to happy days in Hong Kong with mainlanders doing the same, or worse, on public streets, shopping malls, subway stations and carriages.

      Great to know my quiet little neighbourhood is importing such vibrancy and diversants!

      • I first saw a mainlander spit on a Sydney bus over a decade ago. I thought, didn’t we have campaigns against this sort of thing to prevent TB and other such nasties in the 1950s and 60s? Great to know our betters are leading us backwards.

  2. Awesome. Let your kids compete with internationals whilst they suck up more teacher time struggling to learn English.
    It’s funny how most small l liberals espouse diversity when they will do anything to escape it themselves. Eg they are all for refugees and multiculturalism just so long as they dont have to live next door to it or their kids gave to go to school with low IQ third worlders

  3. I’m all for a bit of diversity but it’s happening at a rapid clip. My children’s state primary (in sleepy suburbia) had a handful of Asian students three years ago and no Indians. Since then the Indian contingent has mushroomed out of nowhere and the Asian contingent has grown sharply too. New classrooms are currently being constructed on the oval (who needs open spaces to run around on?).

    Unbelievable how quickly this has all taken place. It’s actually very confronting

  4. MichaelMEMBER

    I attended my son’s graduation on Saturday at Melbourne University and sat through about a thousand students getting their papers.

    About half were Bachelor degrees and about half of the recipients of those were Chinese. The other half were Masters degrees and almost all of the recipients of those were Chinese.

    I’m not sure whether that counts as diversity…

    • Indeed, if you wish to see a lack of diversity head on up to North Sydney Girls or Boys High.
      Diversity is our strength but only in certain circumstances.

  5. Stewie Griffin

    This war has already been lost – wealthy CEO’s of a particular cultural persuasion have already succeeded in transforming the cultural values around education as being a saleable asset as opposed to a process of perpetual renewal by a society in perpetuating itself.

    With this intellectual beachhead already accomplished in the tertiary education sphere, it is only a small step to expand these cultural values over education to our remaining social education system in the Economic Zone Formally Known as Australia.

    This is who we are now – an economic zone, whose residents will only ever receive the absolute minimum education required in order to function in society (and still emerge with a hefty debt, and brainwashed into thinking it is a good thing because they’re being culturally enriched by exposure to Indians, Chinese and Africans) or they will receive their education via elitist private schools – eg Moriah War Memorial college.

  6. TailorTrashMEMBER

    How scary is Straya ?……..threatening to pull out the dreaded wet lettuce…….. I’m sure all those “patriots “
    have their PR well sorted and are on the way to citazenship……hate to think
    what will happen should there be a real conflict
    in the next year or so ……straya has already lost the next war ……

    • If diversity is our strength, then why don’t the imported people from Hong Kong and Mainland China get along?

  7. If the children of temporary residents needs private health insurance, why can’t their parents pay for private education for them, across all states?

  8. The universities are saturated are VET too dodgy to grow much more. The next step is schools.

  9. We had two or three exchange students at school. Only one actually tried to speak English. Everyone speaks English at Moriah and they’re always nice to you. While they may have some religious celebrations that are not inclusive, in day to day life I’ve always found them nice people. There are plenty of other cultures that are basically mute to Australians, push their way on the trains and lifts, don’t want to learn English and are just here for the perks.