TEQSA to focus on English Language Standards
The HES has reported today (National regulator sharpens focus on English language standards 22/08/12) that universities, VET and private providers will all be the target of a "thematic" audit by the new regulator, TEQSA, focusing on English standards.
In particular, it was reported that TEQSA will concentrate on whether the English competence skills of students improve as they go through their course, and how the institutions assess this.
The report cites a recent study that found overseas students who started with 'competent' levels of English were unlikely to graduate with the level of language skill needed to work in Australia. However, given the recent announcement of a 2 - 3 year post study work visa for graduates, having adequate English language skills will be vital if these students are likely to be able to pursue work in their chosen professions in Australia.
This issue has been a long running one. NTEU has for a number of years, echoed the concerns of members working in universities, who see the pressure to admit larger numbers of international students is not necessarily being matched by available English language support services (and where those exist, they are often under resourced).
TEQSA's thematic audit would look at all entry standards in all pathways, language support through the curriculum, and exit standards.
However, given TEQSA's recent obsession with 'drilling down' to the micro level, we are wondering just how it will execute this audit, and what hoops the institutions will need to jump through. it would be a concern if the reason for this review - which we think has merit - is lost in a sea of compliance procedures and red tape.
Link to the story is HERE .