In a bid to ensure the quality of Australian education, the Federal Government ordered education providers to disclose details about their international students’ English language tests.
Requiring Australian educational institutions to be more transparent is a part of the updated National English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students' (ELICOS) Standards which came into place on Tuesday.
The ELICOS Standards are the guidelines followed under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000, which protects the rights of international students in Australia.
International students have to take ELICOS before they can start formal studies in the country. The ELICOS program is also open to a certain degree to foreigners who simply want to learn English.
Part of the revision also required that “all providers delivering courses defined as ELICOS must now meet minimum requirements relating to course contact hours and staff-student ratios," Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said in a statement.
Additional information needed
International students are required to take English language tests as part of their Visa applications. With the revised standards, institutions that accepted the international student will have to report what test the student took to apply for a Student Visa.
But in the case of students who were exempt from providing evidence of their English language proficiency, the institutions are also mandated to provide details about it as well.
Minister Tehan said this would make it easier for the government to monitor those education providers and take action if there were any anomalies in the standards.
"The new regulations will improve transparency and help ensure providers are enrolling students with the appropriate English language skills,” Minister Tehan said.
“This will make it easier to monitor providers and take action where they don’t meet the expected standards.”
Why this matters
Australian schools are dependent on International students – especially those from Asia – to maintain healthy revenues. Currently, the leading source of Australia’s International students come from China and India.
The considerable population of International students also has an effect beyond the education sector, having generated some $35bn for the Australian economy and supported some 240,000 jobs in 2018.
Lately, universities have been putting more effort into expanding their international reach, either by reaching out through the use of technology or partnering with a foreign counterpart to offer courses on another campus.
Ensuring that its International students are also proficient enough in the English language could make it easier for institutions to ensure international students are well-integrated and feel that they belong on the campus they attend.