Australia’s leading Investigative journalism program, Four Corners, aired “Cash Cows” and it shocked the entire Australia university sector.

The said program suspected that some Australian universities shrink their English requirements to admit more international students. Some universities are alleged to use unorthodox methods like combining the results or scores of various IELTS exams so prospective international students will be able to meet the language requirements.

This heretical approach compromises the standing and the integrity of Australia’s reputation as a study destination.

Waiving English language requirements negatively impacts the international student sector itself. According to the academics interviewed during the program, this activity leads to a variety of student-related concerns such as increased mental health issues associated with cultural and social isolation, academic failure, and a spike in academic misconduct.

“Admitting students who do not have the right qualifications, or right prerequisites, or language capabilities is setting them up for failure”, said one of the academics. Other interviewees, on the other hand, were concerned that many students from overseas might not be able to interact with “local” students.

Furthermore, this practice also compromises the experience of some international students who sacrificed everything to study in Australia. Chances are, that they will end up studying in classes with students who did not even meet the published English entry standards. As a result, they may be deprived of the quality education they deserve.

The shrinking of English language requirements affects not only international students but even the local ones. Daniel Manganaro, a former student at Murdoch University taking up Masters in IT, said during the interview that he dropped out in one subject because the members of the class didn’t use the English language.

Amid this pressing concern, the University of Tasmania, one of the universities facing English proficiency issues, announced an external audit to test issues regarding international admissions. According to the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, the audit would address the problems and undertake a deep, broad health check of the international admissions process.

The Four Corner’s Cash Cow stories represented only a small proportion of the whole Australian international education sector, said Brett Blacker, chief executive of English Australia (EA). Currently, the industry hosts about 700,000 international students.

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