A report on International Education Services released by the Productivity Commission today has delivered another clear warning to the Abbott Government that it must act on threats to Australia’s reputation for quality and integrity in international education.  

The Productivity Commission report comes on top of last week’s 4 Corners and a recent NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption report that highlighted allegations of corrupt practices that threaten to undermine our international education market.

Reputation and high standards mean everything in international education; Australia is highly regarded as a quality provider of education worldwide.

Nothing must be allowed to threaten this reputation. 

Australia’s international reputation as a leading global educator is too important to be put at risk by rogue and corrupt elements. 

Today’s report once again highlights that universities have a responsibility to investigate and address these issues in their own institutions, and to be more diligent in the use and oversight of overseas education agents.

The Productivity Commission rightly notes that the Abbott Government has a responsibility to protect our the national reputation as a place of quality education, but this job has become more difficult as a result of the 40 per cent budget cut to the Tertiary Education  Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA), which regulates quality in the university sector.

This government has adopted a position of complacency, when it should be demonstrating ongoing vigilance. Its recent draft strategy for international education almost completely ignores the threat that lax standards represent to the entire sector.

Christopher Pyne needs to listen the growing external calls to act. He must take the opportunity in the May budget to repair the damage inflicted by last year’s budget in cutting 40 per cent  of TEQSA’s funding.

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