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Greens say international education Senate Inquiry will inform Govt’s internal review

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 8 Aug 2009

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has welcomed the Federal Government's move to review Australia's international education, saying the Senate Inquiry into the sector that is currently underway can inform the internal review.

A review into the international education sector's laws and regulations is to be brought forward from 2010, it was announced today, following concerns about the welfare of students and the quality of education.

"The Greens welcome this review as a long-awaited response from the Federal Government recognising that international education in Australia is in a very serious predicament," said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education and Immigration.

"International education is an area where we have needed to pull back the rug and have a good, open look at what's underneath for some time.

"That's why - with wide support from international education stakeholders in the community - the Greens called for a Senate Inquiry into the welfare of international students back in May, which was established in June.

"This accessible, transparent Senate Inquiry is currently collecting evidence that the Greens hope the Government will use as part of the Government's own internal review that has been announced today."

Senator Hanson-Young identified three main areas of concern in international education in Australia that she saw the Senate Inquiry shedding light on.

"We need to make sure that education institutions are doing the right thing by students, and are being regulated properly," she said.

"We also need to have a close look at the nature of student visas, and what sort of counter-productive restrictions they may have on them.

"And we need to define the benchmarks that educational institutions can use to ensure that they are providing good quality student support services, advice and information, because at the moment it is left up to individual providers to decide what is sufficient."

Senator Hanson-Young said the unfettered explosion of international education in this country happened without thorough planning or long-term policy direction.

"The piecemeal responses from the Rudd Government to this international education crisis of recent months indicates a similar lack of consciousness or vision," she said.

"The Greens hope the Government‘s review will mark the start of a more hands-on, long-term approach to international education."

Submissions to the Senate Inquiry into the welfare of international students close Friday 14 August.
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Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

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