MEDIA RELEASE: NUPSA response to Four Corners program on 6 May 2019


The Newcastle University Postgraduate Students’ Association (NUPSA) was concerned to see the prevalence of international students disadvantaged by Australian Universities circumventing English language requirements.

Last night, ABC’s ‘Four Corners’ exposed this long running issue in the sector, using the specific example of Murdoch University to demonstrate the continued admission of international students who do not meet the criteria for enrolment. Murdoch is by no means the only University guilty of this and we can see evidence of the practice across the country as Universities seek alternative revenue sources in response to Federal Government funding cuts.

This issue represents the exploitation of international students wanting to come and receive an education in Australia.  The increasing enrolments of international students with questionable English proficiency is a blatant attempt at securing fast financial gain.

At the same time that students are being set up to fail, staff are expected to supervise and teach postgraduate students that have low English proficiency, and little background in the area of research for which they are enrolled.

As raised in the program, academics struggle to raise their concerns for fear of repercussions in an already precarious employment landscape. NUPSA commends and supports the academics willing to come forward and expose this issue.

Any postgraduate international students at the University of Newcastle who are feeling targeted or vulnerable at this time are encouraged to contact NUPSA, or the University of Newcastle counselling service.



Quotes attributed to Ash McIntyre, NUPSA President

  • “NUPSA has seen an increase of students presenting to us in crisis that has clearly been compounded by their low English proficiency and misunderstanding of the requirements of their program.”
  • “Unfortunately, ‘Four Corners’ seemed to frame this as an immigration issue whereby international students are enrolling in a degree to attain residency. This does not reflect reality.”
  • “NUPSA rejects the deficit narrative that places the blame on international students. We urge Universities to invest in support services for the students they are admitting, especially English and mental health support.”
  • “There is lasting cultural shame for many students returning to their home countries without the degree they came for. Many sell their homes, leave their families and their jobs to study in Australia. This flawed admission process means that in some cases, students are set up to fail.”
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