Press Release: Response to Four Corners

Published 7 May 2019

On Monday evening, the ABC’s Four Corners program focussed on international students at Australian universities and drew focus to concerns about the University of Tasmania’s approach to student recruitment, singling out their use of Medium of Instruction (MOI) letters as evidence of potential students having the necessary English language skills to study at our university.

On behalf of UTAS students, the TUU State Council wishes to express concern regarding the reports presented in Monday’s airing of Four Corners. We believe that the university has taken proactive measures in announcing an external review into their international admissions process. However, more needs to be done to ensure that our international student cohort is adequately supported in Australia and that English language requirements are consistent with national standards as part of the university admissions process.

TUU President, Sharifah Syed Rohan, said: “Education should not be a commodity, but rather a public good which benefits our society in terms of employment, economic prosperity, health, and social cohesion”. “Education is a universal right and should not be used as a tool for the financial gain of universities, but rather it should be delivered in an equitable and moral manner”.

We find that Four Corners’ use of the term ‘cash cow’ is derogatory and it is crucial to consider the sacrifices that families abroad make to ensure that their child has the best chance at succeeding, and also the unique challenges that international students face. The Tasmania University Union welcomes international students and believes they play an imperative role in shaping our social fabric and that they bring a depth of cultural understanding, knowledge, and experience to our university and communities.

We would like to commend the university’s review and will be willing and able to assist where required to ensure that our international student cohort does not face financial distress, isolation, vulnerability, or any other disadvantage as a result of our admissions process.

In coming days, the TUU student representatives will consider how we can best assist and support our peers.

CONTACT: TUU President, Sharifah Syed Rohan
Phone: 0487 640 659