Australia reaches deep down international student quality barrel

On Friday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released services trade data for the 2019-20 Financial Year, which revealed that education exports from China plunged by 14.2%. However, this was almost fully offset by strong growth in education exports from India (+19.2%) and Nepal (+12.6%), with total education exports falling by only 0.7% over the year:

This mirrors the Department of Educations enrolments data for September, which revealed that Chinese enrolments fell by 10.1% year-on-year, mostly offset by a 6.4% rise in Indian and a 6.5% increase in Nepalese enrolments:

India (108,203) also overtook China (108,155) to become Australia’s biggest source of international students, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ latest student visa report, following a 14.3% surge in enrolments in the year to June 2020:

These results suggest that Australia’s education industry has reached deep down the quality barrel to juice enrolment numbers.

Last year’s Four Corners expose on Australia’s international student trade was scathing of the quality of students coming from the Indian sub-continent and reported widespread academic misconduct, plagiarism, and high failure rates.

The below correspondence from Murdoch University Professor, Benjamin Reilly, highlights the problems, with the strong growth in Indian students badly eroded pedagogical standards:

“In semester one 2018 we experienced a surge in new international students into some postgraduate courses. This surge increased sharply in semester two 2018, with several hundred new students, mostly from the Punjab region of India, enrolling in a small number of postgraduate courses.

“While some were OK, many do not have the language skills to study at a postgraduate level and have thus been unable to participate in class or complete assessments for the units legitimately.

“Hence we now have a much larger number of academic misconduct issues, supplementary assessments and outright failures than we have previously experienced in the units in which this cohort has enrolled”…

Fellow lecturer and academic misconduct investigator, Dr Duncan Farrow, expressed similar concerns:

“Perhaps the most telling statistic of them all: 48 of the 80 students admitted to the MIT in semester one this year had at least one academic misconduct finding against them,” he wrote.

“Not only was there a huge increase in numbers of misconduct cases but additionally the investigations were more difficult due to the poor language capabilities of many of the students involved.

“I have just reviewed the results for students from the Punjab region in BSC100 Building Blocks for Science Students and it is depressing. Of the 52 students in this category, 12 have passed the unit outright — a pass rate of less than 25 per cent.

New Zealand reported problems with large numbers of Indian students arriving primarily for the purposes of gaining employment and permanent residency:

In 2016, at the height of an export education boom, 11,024 Indians came to New Zealand on student visas.

Most came from the remote, rural Sikh-majority Punjab province, lured by promises made by unlicensed education agents and illusory sales pitches by tertiary institutions and our government that New Zealand offered a straightforward “pathway to residency”…

Half of all overseas students arrive here via an agent. And while immigration agents in this country must be licensed, offshore education agents are not. That means there’s no regulation of the promises they make…

Students will often borrow against land or homes to finance their study, but in some cases, says Malkiat Singh, agents construct sophisticated financial arrangements to skirt Immigration NZ inquiries into students’ finances…

Tertiary education recruitment from India has reached such an extent that many business courses will have an entirely Indian cohort. Some, says McClymont, will have a Hindi translator in the classroom…

Bhavdeep Singh laughs at the business courses he studied. “The education I was getting here I can compare to like my tenth grade school”…

The Indian students who come here tend to be poorer than from other countries, study at lower-quality establishments and need employment quickly…

“Every student who comes from overseas spends 30 grand on their studies – and nobody is going to spend that if they’re not going to get residency at the end.”

It’s a similar story for Nepalese students, with education experts warning that dodgy agents have sold the dream of gaining work rights and permanent residency:

The number of education agents – or recruiters – operating in Nepal has leapt from a few hundred to more than 3000… About half the Nepalese students enrolled in vocational education and training or English language courses.

The trend has alarmed higher education experts, who warn it is unlikely the students can genuinely afford to study in Australia, and are likely involved in exploitative work to pay for their tuition…

Andrew Norton, professor of higher education policy at the Australian National University, said the Nepalese influx should be “red-flagged” by the Department of Home Affairs.

“Nepal is a country with a not-very-large population and it is very poor,” he said. “You have these basic questions of how so many people can afford to come to Australia and afford education here”…

Professor Norton said Nepalese international students had “an extremely high number” of secondary applicants on their visas, “suggesting to me that maybe they’re bringing in their spouses to work”…

Tim Colebatch has also questioned why so many poor Nepalese students have flooded into Australia:

Deregulation has allowed universities to selectively lower their standards to bring in more fee-paying foreign students, even when they fail to meet the thresholds for English language skills or academic achievement…

This is not the first time immigration from Nepal has surged. A decade ago, we saw a scam with training visas, in which “students” from India and Nepal came for training courses in Australia, then quickly vanished into the workforce. The scam saw net immigration set record levels in 2008–09, before then immigration minister Chris Evans shut it down. But most of those who came stayed on here.

Students from these two nations are clearly gaming Australia’s education system for backdoor immigration. And this is being facilitated by our higher education industry, which has slashed entry and teaching standards to accommodate them, and have effectively become agents and ‘middle-men’ to Australia’s immigration system.

RIP entry and pedagogical standards.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Check out Mondays Q&A where the first question to the panel was about cutting the excessive immigration intake.
    The panels response was all about jobs and growth but loved the comments of diversity and vibrancy and the story of the people blah blah blah.
    I wanted to reach through the TV and punch them all in the face.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      I didn’t even watch it but I know with 100% certainty I would have wanted to punch them all too.
      The ABC and the Guardian are complicit in this trashing of our Immigration system AND University sector.
      Cnts the lot of them.

    • Australia should set quotas like the USA does for certain classes of visas.

      No more than 10% of migrants should come from any one country. That would mean real vibrancy

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        7% to be exact.

        But letting in an equal amount from different countries is clearly racialist.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        A no more than a certain percentage from any Country is the best face saving way to halt the colonisation of our Nation by fifth columnists from that Country we can not name.

        • I heard the question – nothing to do with why we need less immigration. Was just plain racist rant.

        • I will also add ABC probably let the useful 1d1ot ask the question on purpose so he can serve the role I assign to him and to make everyone else racist the moment one brings the mass immigration up again.

    • And that is when I decided to watch something else. The guy should have been thrown out. The question had nothing to do with why we need less immigration:
      1. Mass immigration destroys our environment.
      2. Mass immigration takes away our agri exports as it needs to supply increased population.
      3. Mass immigration forces us to import more things.
      4. Mass immigration does not make sense in the wake of automation.. and so on.
      The guy was good plain ignorant racist 1d1ot like you.
      What did he mean by “our country”? He forgets that “our country” already had inhabitants that almost got wiped out and in most places until recently were hunted as game.

    • My exact reaction, especially when that stupid blond thing invited the questioner to her office so she could explain all the great benefits of immigration cos he doesn’t understand!!!!! Ffs

    • If you had busted your TV you would be very, very angry. Feel the same as you. Just comes down to greed turbo charged by stupid people.

    • The question was badly phrased and he was clearly set up by the Q&A producers to be the fall guy for “being against immigration is racist” narrative while the panel pushed the population ponzi. Stuart Ayres was completely useless as he’s pure Liberal propaganda machine trying to spin #GuiltyGlady’s breaking of rules and pushing the population ponzi which is going to see Western Sydney become a furnace.

  2. We don’t need our education export sector to be robust we have other valuable exports such as baby formula.

    Don’t forget Aussie wines that are renowned all over China for how well they mix with Sprite or Coca-Cola.

    There’s also a burgeoning Onlyfans export market where local Australian women perform various acts to titillate men over the world. With China having 200 million more men than women this has been earmarked as a lucrative export market for years to come for these young, vibrant entrepreneurs.

    We truly are the clever country.

  3. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    $30,000 is all these students bring in? Or 10k for each year of a three year course. They use up way more of our infrastructure and services than $10k per year. This a losing deal for everyone else here.

    • The $30k is earned delivering meals on a motor scooter within Australia anyway.

      The net economic result is a massive deficit for every imported human .

  4. Clearly something dodgy going on when there are sudden surges from very localised areas. Just like the SA covid outbreak, guy was almost certainly rorting the system so didn’t want to admit he was working at pizza joint, claiming jobkeeper as well probably

  5. “Students from these two nations are clearly gaming Australia’s education system for backdoor immigration.” – mate, stop blaming immigrants and anyone else for our own corrupt system.
    These loops can easily be closed if our government wants to close them. Foreign student policy is just extension of our government immigration policy. Loops to be exploited are deliberately left wide open. Don’t think you and few of us here are the only smart people that can see these loops.
    All politicians and all the media are aware of these loops. You can’t blame people from poorer countries wanting to come to Australia. Naturally they will try to exploit every loop to get permanent visa. If Oz goes to sh1te and we all decide to leave or our kids decide to leave, we all will try everything we can to get permanent residency in the country of choice.

    • The ABC clearly want them to remain open as do both sides of politics. It is the bottom line of the budget , the hapless tenant and the unemployed that suffer.

      • my point exactly. but we can’t blame the students for this. the students did not set these laws/rules/loops call them what you like. It’s our corrupt politicians and utterly corrupt media that runs the show.

      • Large sections of the employed suffer as well as it is used to drive down wages and curtails investment in new technologies and training. Cheap low/no skill labour is de-skilling the economy. MB use the term a ‘bed pan’ economy.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      Agree Niko. I blame the Government who are well aware and complicit in this, but constantly look the other way. They could shut this down tomorrow but choose not to.

    • “Students from these two nations are clearly gaming Australia’s education system for backdoor immigration.”I have lost faith in MB because they make such shallow arguments Niko. Who do you blame for a break-in if you leave your front open and go out?

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      if you kept reading you would have seen the line “And this is being facilitated by our higher education industry, which has slashed entry and teaching standards to accommodate them, and have effectively become agents and ‘middle-men’ to Australia’s immigration system.”

      he’s blaming the higher education system for not only allowing but helping the rort, just as you are pointing out

      • I read it all and picked on it. This is why there was no reason to point any blame at the students. It is the industry and the Government that allows this rort to go on. In my view this is agreed policy between the Gov and the industry and all media agreeing to look elsewhere.

        • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

          Niko, you also need to make the link between certain ethnic groups and the donations they make to both Federal parties as “representatives of their communities”.

          These representatives/donors are direct benficiaries of the open gates policy as per the businesses they own and the staff they employ to work in them. Hint: the staff don’t get minimum wage.

  6. So many student accommodation providers being built around Redfern. Such a joke 12sqm in size expecting $500 a week from a China man. Indians won’t pay that, they are the biggest tight asses in the world.

    • Developers are in touch with our politicians and know how to respond. Why do you think they donate so much to all politicians?

  7. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I’m happy we are getting a lot more Nepalese students and hope they surpass the Indian ones because they are much hotter due to that mix of sub-continental and east-asian blood.

  8. The guy who lied and caused the South Australia lockdown is on a graduate visa, and he is working at a pizza shop. The food delivery driver who died in Rockdale last Saturday is doing a Master degree in IT.

    An Australian degree is now nothing more than a privatized immigration work visa for unskilled workers.

  9. Leith – are there any statistics on whether international students do full time or part time courses?

    When you think about it – there is no logical reason for an international student to do part time unless they are working – it must raise the costs of the study. A visa condition for a foreign student visa should be FULL TIME STUDY.

    • Okay – I just did some googling. It’s limited to full time study, BUT the institution tells you what a full time load is. That’s the scam.

      Check out “Decode College” – they only target international students. A full time course is 40 weeks in 4 terms (10 weeks each) and 12 weeks of holiday (remember – students may work 40 hours per week in term time and UNLIMITED work during holidays per our visa). Now full time load at Decode is 14 hours per week of class time in 2 days!!! What are they doing the other time? Well 6 hours a week is structured self study (I bet they do all do this!) and another 6.5 hours a week on homework and assessments. That all adds up to 1080 hours of training over a 52 week student visa FULL TIME course (ie less than 21 hours per week).

      Places like Decode should be de listed from CRICOS ….

      • With a few exceptions due to Covid-19, foreign students are allowed to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the term, not 40 hours a week. Either way, Australia allows international students on temporary visas work rights that are more relaxed and generous than many other countries. eg America.

        • It’s deliberate policy so as to undercut the locals. It’s interesting that lots of stories have emerged where Australians have applied to do fruit picking and told they are not wanted – non Australians are exploited as they are paid lower rates and they also rent accommodation. The myth that Australians are lazy is perpetuated to maintain the exploitation.

      • “Okay – I just did some googling. It’s limited to full time study, BUT the institution tells you what a full time load is. That’s the scam.” – spot on. And that scam can be killed by our Government in a flash. If they want to.

        • Exactly. If I can decipher this from some desktop research imagine what an agency that was actually trying to root out this evil could do.