The Federal Government has announced that it will be reviewing International Students visa requirements with the aim of treating all students seeking a University education in Australia equally. Under the proposed changes foreign university students will be all assessed as being level one risk factor. This is good move and one that should help bring stability and reassurance to the International Education sector
One issue that the government needs to clamp down on is the third rate "Hostel Educational schools" that proliferate the city. The facilities and quality of eduction at these institutions are of real concern and tarnish the reputation of our main educational sector.
In some cases over 200 students are crammed in space that was designed to accommodate no more then 50. Kitchen facilities are placed in a common room with computer terminals with the administration desk tucked in the corner.
On my recent visit to one such institute there was a noticeable lack of air-conditioning not to mention concerns in relation to fire and emergency exits.
One has to wonder what exactly is the City Council doing to monitor compliance with building occupation standards?
We do not allow cheap over crowded hostel accommodation, so why is it that we allow cheap and over crowded educational schools to exist.
Many students complain about the quality of the courses on offer.
The conditions at some of these schools is so appalling it is having an impact on the quality of education provided. No teacher worth their salt would teach under such conditions. There appears to be a noticeable absence of Union engagement in this sector.
These overcrowd, poorly facilitated, schools promote themselves as being low cost budget education, with fees ranging from $200 to $295 per week. Most of the students studying at these schools are not achieving there full potential.
These third rate schools are more about visas then education.
By comparison the schools that are attached to established tertiary educational institutes provide a better leaning environment and significantly better value for the student dollar.
RMIT and the Australian Catholic University and the Hawthorn institute being rated as the top three best buys in inner city education. Out side the city we have Deakin, Monash and Victoria University.
If the government is serious about developing a sustainable International education sector it has to regulate and address the issue of budget schools in terms of the facilies provided. Students should have the right to change providers if the school they have subscribed to does not meet their expectations. There is a need for a International Education Ombudsman and a central student information centre who can help students address and issues of complaints against providers.
Your comments and experiences on Melbourne ELICOS education sector are welcomed.