Boost to foreign student English skills

October 12, 2017

Education Minister Simon Birmingham will introduce new English standards for international students.

International students will need a good grasp of the English language to proceed with their studies in Australia, under a scheme to be introduced next year.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham will tell an education conference in Hobart on Thursday the government would introduce new English language standards for students in 2018.

English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) will have to formally assess students where they provide direct entry to a tertiary course.

At the moment, students can pass a course without proof and then start in a tertiary course.

The standards will also be extended for the first time beyond universities to vocational education and training courses.

All ELICOS courses will have a minimum of 20 face-to-face contact hours per week and a maximum teacher-to-student ratio of 1:18.

Australia hosted more than 150,000 ELICOS students last year - two-thirds of these students were on student visas, and more than 60 per cent of these visa holders went on to further study, mainly in higher education or vocational courses.

"What we hear from universities, vocational education providers and from the regulator TEQSA is that some students are slipping through the cracks," Senator Birmingham will tell the Australian International Education Conference.

"It's not fair to the international or the Australian students or their teachers."

The changes would strengthen Australia's international reputation for quality education.

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