International students corrupting Aussie universities

Swinburne University’s China ­expert, John Fitzgerald, has called on universities across the Western World to shun the Chinese-run Academic Ranking of World Universities, in order to defend the principles of free speech and expression, which is under threat by the Chinese Communist Party:

“Universities that value institutional autonomy and freedom of inquiry should no longer reference the ARWU rankings or participate in the Shanghai Jiaotong rankings process which risks spreading the Chinese Communist Party’s university model globally,” he wrote in the article.

“Universities that continue to participate or to reference the Shanghai rankings should be tasked by their faculty and alumni to explain why they are failing to uphold the principles of free inquiry and institutional autonomy as fiercely as (Chinese leader) Xi Jinping is undermining them”…

Seven Australian universities have achieve top 100 status in the ARWU, which helps draw international students to Australia.

Professor Fitzgerald told The Australian the ARWU ranking system gave “credibility to the Chinese higher education system at a time when institutional autonomy and academic freedom are under attack in that country”.

“At the present time how can we have a credible international ranking system from a country that is thumbing its nose at the fundamental principle of a liberal university?” he asked.

These are valid criticisms by John Fitzgerald. However, Australia’s universities should first clean up their own backyard before worrying about the credibility of China’s education system.

Over recent years, we have witnessed multiple examples of Australian universities dumbing down entry and teaching standards in order to drive-up international student enrolments and course fees.

For example, last year’s Four Corners “Cash cows” report featured several academics warning that universities were enrolling international students with inadequate English language proficiency, as well as resorting to soft marking, in a bid to maximise fee revenue:

“In terms of attracting international students, universities will do whatever they need to do…they are the cash cows. There is no doubt about it.”Academic

Shortly afterwards, a former Monash College English language teacher, Warwick Lough, accused universities of using dodgy English-language bridging courses to farm sub-standard international students through their degree-level courses:

“This is not a grey area. It is an absurdity that they can enter with language which is wholly inadequate,” he said…

“The assessments are carefully crafted to allow about 90 per cent of students to pass.” He said speech and writing components of the internal test were often “very carefully rehearsed”…

Similar accusations were made by Professor Salvatore Babones in his recent seminal report for the Centre for Independent Studies.

So-called “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech” have also alluded Murdoch University, which featured heavily in Four Corners’ “Cash cows” report.

As we know, Murdoch University launched legal action against Dr Gerd Schroeder-Turk for appearing on Four Corners and criticising Murdoch’s international student entry and teaching standards. Rather than addressing his valid concerns (corroborated by other academics), Murdoch instead expelled Dr Schroeder-Turk from the University’s senate (the highest governing body) and threatened to sue him for millions of dollars in damages for purportedly sullying the University’s reputation.

Blind Freddy can see that the increasing concentration of international students has caused a progressive erosion and dumbing down of academic standards across Australia’s universities. Their administrators long ago prioritised the fees from international student enrolments over the very principles of liberal freedom of enquiry and academic excellence, which were once their raison d’etre.

Our universities must fix their own backyards first, lift entry and teaching standards, as well as ensure academic freedom, before criticising other nations’ systems.

Comments

  1. Arguably the role of the university sector is different for nations at different levels of human development. Australia has abandoned the most productive use of universities that would otherwise drive productive and high value new industries and replaced it with a ‘service economy’ scam. Too many Australians are receiving an ever lower quality of education in areas of little demand while practical and technical skills have been gutted by the running down of the TAFE sector. This plan holds to a belief that we can’t afford to make things in Australia due to high salaries. Germany has proven this to be wrong – Asia’s middle class buys high quality goods even at a vast premium. What we don’t have is a real belief in innovation and quality. We will never become the cleaver country of our dreams because the lazy money is in Ponzi schemes and selling the silverware.Our university “reforms” are good for no one other than the ideologically possessed. It’s high time to review whether innovation and breakthrough thinking has benefited from this neoliberal approach or whether it has created a bloated, top heavy and expensive lemon. Stuff university rankings, which are market research for an education industry. Instead, let’s engage independent and empirical reviews from the Finns, Germans, Swiss and Koreans. It’s time to stop listening to self serving fairy tales from highly paid elites within the corporate university sector and let academics do what they are paid for.

    • Correct Absolutely correct
      I’ve spent most of this Xmas period looking at Innovations in Fresh Water technology
      Globally there’s a lot happening but it’s not happening here, it’s not like we don’t need more fresh water but we’re way behind wrt technologies to create Fresh/ potable water from sea water / brackish water / aquifers. This is a space where Australia needs to invest yet our biggest Investments in this area are paying foreigners to build Desalination plants so that Sydneysiders stay properly hydrated and keep their lawns nice and green.
      This country needs wakeup call, my only hope is that the bushfires ignite a latent passion for innovation, but why do that when we could just hold another Royal Commission.

    • This plan holds to a belief that we can’t afford to make things in Australia due to high salaries. Germany has proven this to be wrong

      Japan did that long time ago, than Taiwan, Korea, … and not only that a developed country with high wage can continue making thing but start increasing share of worlds production

  2. Our units have been destroyed by internationals and academics are complicit by their mostly silence

  3. This Fitzgerald guy is “probably racist” and should be sued by Swinburne for costing them profits that could have gone to higher executive renumeration.

  4. The same dynamic was happening in the U.S. before international students were on the radar for interstate students aka life style placements. Lest we forget Howard’s widget and cog degree mills with skin in the game forever debt investor appetite template.

    Also the Phoenix college billion dollar scam not so long ago ….

    Not to mention a mate in admissions for a Sydney Uni covos about it all over 15 years ago … how time fly’s …

  5. As Chancellor Julie Bishop’ll fix it on $1m a year. Seriously it’s so corrupt here it’s farcical.

  6. It’s not international students that corrupted our unis, it’s our government appointed corporate university management

    international students are just one using corrupt universities to achieve personal gains …

    • Very true. Australia’s soul has been sickened by an ideology that wanted to corporatise everything. This began with Hawke/Keating and here lies the problem; the ALP has been unable to imagine a new way even when their “reforms” began the rot that has all but destroyed Australian society by turning everything into a commodity – even our identity, culture and values. It has gone way too far. No progress will be made until a new social contract is struck. Each time the ALP trots our Paul Keating and carps on about his great “reforms” the cost is not put up against the benefit. Keating believes that he invented a new Australian middle class, when in reality he created the conditions for a fake bourgeoisie of McDonalds mansion debt slaves that serve the purveyors of debt that have became our masters. He did this by flogging public assets with no return on investment for Australian society to spike GDP. His grand superannuation plans tax income and permit financial parasitism that has a cost many times that a good pension scheme or security born of a sovereign wealth fund. By pouring this loot into real estate and speculation the finance sector has impoverished Australians by de-emphasising innovation and poorly rewarding actual hard work and creativity. Instead, they pumped asset prices, killed manufacturing and opened the immigration gates.

      The university sector was a public asset given over to corporate interests and a elite group of managers who almost always took the low road like bulls in an academic china shop.

      We are a failed democracy, but the penny has not yet dropped.

  7. The foreign students and partners (racing towards the 1 million mark now) haven’t just corrupted our universities.

    They have corrupted our education system, our labor market, our housing market, our wages, our ethics and morality.

    We are nearing 1 million third world migrants trafficked on a pretext foreign student or partner visa.

    They are not an export industry.
    They come in with a large debt burden in bribes & agent fees to get into Australia to live & work illegally.
    They come in with debt.
    Their money is earned here.
    Not an export.

    Their cost impact in Australian unemployed, housing contention, Australian wages loss, congestion, filth and squalor plus the destruction of our education system (fallen 10 places globally) far exceeds their fee payments to the corrupted universities & colleges tha provide their visa alibi.

    By tens of billions in negative GDP, wages & social impact.

    The vast majority are doing very low level, nonsensical and easily cheated ‘courses’ in segregated pretext education.

    Courses that are available for free online or in their home country.

    Less than 35,000 are studying what would be considered high level post graduate specialist education in other western OECD countries (US/UK)

    The other 850,000 or so – all doing nonsense or easily cheated ‘stock courses’ so they can work & live illegally in visa breach.

    That is if they attend any classes at all – given their intent to work full time illegally (75% or nearly 700,000 do) in the foreign criminal run black and vice economy.

    They are only here to work & live illegally, to repay agent procurer debt, to send back remittances (up from $3 billion to over $11 billion in outflow),
    And to try to secure a PR to be an anchor for further third world chain migration.
    That is why they paid the bribes to get in.

    It’s not an education industry.
    It’s a third world migrant guestworker importation racket.
    And now we are scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel in third world slum & rural misfit clearance.

    Have you ever been to a ‘foreign student campus, college, institute, academy’?

    Have you ever had a good look at what comes in?

    An entire generation of Chinese Hukou peasantry & socially undesirables force exited by China from their tier 1 cities.

    The bottom layer from the Indian slums & rural areas all paying bribes & fraudulent health checks to be trafficked in.

    Nepalese dirt poor

    Bangla criminal class & pond life

    Pakistani jihadi

    Nearly half of Thailand Isan province’s foreign sex Workers are in Australia (their remittances back to Isan now only second to that province’s rice crop in income)

    A swarm of old end of life North Asian Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwanese, Japanese & Korean Sex Workers sent here in their sunset years as a ‘foreign student’ often with their criminal pimp partners on a partner visas.
    Arab / middle eastern criminals & jihadi
    African clan / war criminals
    And the Brazilian San Paulo criminal spawn and
    Central American prostitutes & low life.

    Now you can say that’s generalising.

    But if you actually go into these foreign student campuses, institutes, colleges etc – its pretty hard to find anyone that doesn’t fit to the above description.

    A deluge of third world lowlife criminal & vice Workers.

    And it shows in every possible statistic.

    Here is one.
    Only 3.6% of the entire foreign student intake ever progress to a high income professional vocation, either in Australia or their home country.

    (Migrant Pathways A Decade On report & the later Productivity Commission study – foreign students are NOT a suitable PR intake).

    That’s right – 96% of the foreign student intake failed after ten years to ever secure a high income professional vocation.

    The vast majority once given a PR then go onto our welfare or remain in low skill low wage cash employment (or both).

    Showing just what a farce this so called ‘education’ is.

    -/-
    Our border controls and visa system are broken.
    Totally corrupted to its core.
    It is economically & socially destructive.

    Not just to our Universities, but to our Australian youth and current & future society.
    We have more migrant guestworkers (2.8 million TR & SCV in total) on pretext alibis than Gaddafi at his peak.

    => No one in Australia ever voted for this.
    When are we to be given a political choice to shut it all down?
    To remove all foreign student & partner work rights, full payment of course fees upfront from offshore, income location tracking & housing controls etc.
    And force exit all these pretext foreign students.