How Australian universities are forced to ‘dumb down’ their courses because they have so many foreign students who barely speak English – who COMPLAIN if they fail
- Some of Australia’s highest-ranking universities forced to dumb down courses
- University of Sydney said it received high number of complaints about marking
- One anonymous professor said group complaints often signed by 100 students
- Another said students with loose grasp of English can use pathways programs
- Those with modest English study for a year at college before going to university
Some of Australia’s most elite universities are being forced to dumb down their lectures for foreign students who cannot understand English out of fear they will complain in large and ‘highly organised’ groups, lecturers have claimed.
The University of Sydney alone has received 135 complaints about academic assessment in the past year, and said a significant number of them involved allegations of unfair marking.
One anonymous professor at a leading Sydney university said even the slightest issue with exams could lead to joint complaints signed by 100 aggrieved students.
‘International students didn’t used to be organised but in the past two years that has all changed,’ the professor told The Australian.
Some of Australia’s most elite universities are being forced to dumb down their curriculum, academics have claimed. UNSW (pictured) denied receiving any of the large-scale complaints
He added international students tend to study in a very narrow manner using exams from previous years, and complain when the next year’s assessment is not the same.
‘The trade-off is clear. It is actually easier for us to adapt to these students’ expectations,’ he said.
‘We know they’ll give us very good evaluations, and then we’re not going to get into trouble and we are even going to be praised.’
He said lecturers often then find it easier to give students positive evaluations than have meetings with superiors about exams being perceived as too difficult.
A spokeswoman for the Camperdown-based university told Daily Mail Australia staff encourage students to prepare for their exams more effectively in cases where a complaint has been made only because the assessment was unusually difficult.
Pictured: University of Sydney professor Salvatore Babones. He said controversial college courses allow students who previously only had a loose understanding of English to attend university in just a year
University of Sydney professor Salvatore Babones claimed foreign students could enroll at the institution by first being accepted by the city’s Taylors College with only a modest and partial ability to speak English.
He said students have to understand English at an IELTS [International English Language Testing System] level of five to get a place at Taylors College, which then uses its own assessment criteria to determine if their language skills have improved enough to meet the university’s standards.
Sydney University’s standard accepted IELTS is 6.5, although some courses advertised on its website require a score of 7.0 – defined as ‘good’.
‘You don’t have to get up to a 7.0 at Taylors College. You have to get up to a level they deem to be a 7.0,’ he said.
‘They reassure students that in the past almost everybody has gone on to study their desired course – we know the success rate is about 95 per cent.
‘The real issue is that the university does not say whether international students have been to Taylors College so we don’t know if they have been there.’
A parliamentary inquiry led by the NSW government is scheduled to raise issues surrounding the courses, known as pathway programs.
Students at the University of New South Wales. The University of Sydney said they had received a significant number of them involved allegations of unfair marking
Other universities including the University of New South Wales have denied being subject to large-scale letter-writing campaigns.
International students contribute $40billion annually to Australia’s economy and support up to 250,000 jobs.
Modelling released by the Australian sector’s peak body estimates revenues will drop by $16billion over the next three years because of the reduction in global travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the University of Sydney, UNSW and Taylors College for further comment.
At present, foreign students are not allowed to fly into Australia because of the international travel ban, which began on March 18.
CHANGES TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENT VISAS:
– The Government will recommence granting student visas in all locations lodged outside Australia. This means when borders re-open, students will already have visas and be able to make arrangements to travel.
– International students will be able to lodge a further student visa application free of charge, if they are unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19.
– Current student visa holders studying online outside Australia due to COVID-19 will be able to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa.
– Graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia if they are unable to return due to COVID-19.
– Additional time will be given for applicants to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services