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Greens propose Education Commission as international student senate inquiry holds hearings

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young will raise the idea of an Education Commission at this week’s hearings for the Senate Inquiry into the welfare of international students.

The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee’s inquiry into the welfare of international students, established by Senator Hanson-Young in May, will hold hearings in Melbourne tomorrow and Sydney on Wednesday.

“The Greens have been concerned for some time about the struggles of overseas students in this country, which have also tarnished the reputation of Australia’s international education sector,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education.

“The accessible, transparent process of a Senate Inquiry will allow students, educators and experts to put evidence on the public record about the complex issues involved, and start getting our international education sector back on track as world-class.”

Senator Hanson-Young said the creation of an independent Education Commission could be of assistance to the welfare of both domestic and international students, as well as restoring the  quality and integrity of Australia’s education sector.

“The Greens propose an independent Education Commission as a one-stop national authority for resolving individual student complaints, providing a further avenue for academic decisions, monitoring and enforcing compliance of education institutions, facilitating communication between state and federal governments and educational organisations, and generally safeguarding the quality of and access to education in Australia,” she said.

“I will be putting the idea of an Education Commission to the witnesses appearing at this week’s inquiry hearings, to gauge what these experts in the education sector think.”

Today Senator Hanson-Young also backed calls from student organisations including the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) for consistent public transport concessions to be put in place nationally, to accommodate international students.

“The Greens support calls from student organisations for all students, whether they are Australian or from overseas, to be granted concession fares on public transport in all states and territories,” she said.

“Students have particular financial constraints on them – including international students who have work restrictions as part of their visas – and should be supported in accessing public transport.”

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