Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) Media Release
The Australian Government’s approach to the international skills training sector set out in the new Migration Strategy is highly problematic, based on broad and often inaccurate generalisations about quality, and data from a broken visa processing system. That is the view of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent providers in the skills training, higher education, and international education sectors.
“The language in the Migration Strategy is reckless and ignores the high-quality skills training outcomes that the majority of international students in Australia receive,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.
ITECA welcomes measures to strengthen the integrity and quality of international education. In committing to working with the Australian Government on initiatives in this area, ITECA is anxious to ensure that there is no massive overcorrection that adversely impacts the entire international skills training sector while dealing with the undesirable approach of a small number of providers.
“It’s in this context that ITECA believes the language in the Migration Strategy concerning quality in the international skills training sector is unhelpful and paints an inaccurate picture of the sector as a whole. There is a real risk that it will diminish Australia’s reputation as a high-quality provider of skills training to international students,” Mr. Williams said.
ITECA notes that growth in the international skills training sector has been principally driven by the reputation for quality that independent skills training providers have, as evidenced by the following data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER):
NCVER Data – Student Satisfaction
- Achieved main reason for doing the training: 90.6%
- Recommend training provider: 83.1%
- Satisfied with assessment: 87.0%
- Satisfied with support services overall: 80.1%
- Satisfied with teaching: 84.2%
- Satisfied with the facilities: 80.1%
- Satisfied with the learning resources: 81.0%
- Satisfied with the training overall: 87.2%
ITECA also has significant concerns with using international student visa processing data to assess the integrity of training providers that support international skills training students.
“ITECA has formally advised the Minister for Immigration that the irregularities in the visa processing system have now reached a point where they threaten the integrity of Australia’s international education system. The reports of irregularities are not isolated incidents but rather, represent a troubling pattern over a considerable period that requires urgent attention as there is arguably a systematic failure in the student visa processing arrangements that renders the system not fit for purpose,” Mr Williams said.
In looking at the Migration Strategy in its entirety, ITECA has concerns about how the sweeping nature of the reforms set out in the Strategy will play out when detailed policy is determined.
“When it comes to actioning the reforms set out in the Strategy, ITECA is calling on the Australian Government to develop, in close consultation with our members, policy responses that are measured, ones that support international students and the quality independent tertiary education providers these students study with,” Mr Williams said.
Given the Australian Government’s messaging about reducing the overall migration intake by more than 200,000 people per year, there are concerns that it’s international skill training students wanting to study in Australia that the Australian Government will target.
“The fact that the Australian Government has not ruled out placing a cap on the number of international students able to come into Australia is of concern,” Mr Williams said.
ITECA shares the Australian Government’s commitment to ensure that overseas students can study in Australia with confidence, having complete confidence in the quality of the tertiary education they will access.
“While we broadly welcome the direction of the reforms set out in the Strategy, the ITECA membership has concerns that the Australian Government’s response will be disproportionate to the risks that may exist,” Mr Williams concluded.
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