'All unis (Universities) playing migrant game'
Harriet Alexander Higher Education Reporter
March 22, 2007
Regional university accused of immigration racket
Education profit a matter of degree
A UNIVERSITY accused of being a front for an immigration racket claims it is being victimised for its international student operations, saying every university does exactly the same thing “only not as well”.
Central Queensland University made the claims in response to accusations it was rorting the education system by setting up shopfront campuses to cater exclusively to international students, many of whom have the ultimate aim of permanent residency in Australia.
The campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast specialise in information technology and accounting courses, which attract more points towards permanent residency. Students and academics have criticised the university of having low standards.
The university's spokesman, Marc Barnbaum, said Central Queensland University had been unfairly singled out. “All universities in Australia do exactly what we do, yet because we're the largest provider and we have downtown campuses, we're somehow seen as special.
“We might have a few disgruntled students, but to take the whole institution as rogue The sandstones [older universities] do the same thing only, we would argue, not as well.”
Nearly 173,000 overseas students were enrolled in Australian universities last year; Central Queensland has an international enrolment of 12,000.
The Herald reported yesterday that Central Queensland registered more than 2000 plagiarism incidents in 2001-06 at its Sydney campuses and that it had neglected to report students for breaching visa conditions, even after repeatedly failing subjects.
An immigration lawyer, Michael Jones, said he acted for some students who had failed all subjects in first and second terms but who were not reported until the end of the third term.
“Education providers are required by the [Education Services for Overseas Students] Act to notify a failure to achieve satisfactory results in each term, and to do so as soon as practicable. If they don't, they can be fined under the act.”
He said he had been misquoted yesterday when he was reported as saying that Central Queensland allowed the students to stay at the university until such time they were permitted to change institutions.
The Minister for Education, Julie Bishop, said she was waiting for the university's response to a critical report by Australian Universities Quality Agency.