Oz Govt asks universities to boost English programs for international students

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Melbourne, Feb. 9 (ANI): Australian universities have been asked to raise the standard of their English language programs for international students so that their prospects of finding work in different sectors can be enhanced.

Announcing the government's shake-up of skilled migration, Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans said: "Evidence shows that the best way of doing that is to select those most likely to quickly secure skilled work on the basis of their knowledge and experience and proficiency in English."

However, the minister didn't say anything on whether the government planned to raise the English entry score from six to seven under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

"We cannot pre-empt the outcome of the review," his spokesman said.

While universities are set to benefit from the Rudd government's move to refocus skilled migration on higher skills and qualifications, experts warned it could put pressure on the presently enrolled students.

"It's quite possible they could toughen up English standards in the new migration points test midyear. That would threaten the prospects of much of the overseas students class, especially those from China," The Australian quoted Demographer Dr Bob Birrell , as saying.

Dr Birrell and University of Melbourne migration expert Lesleyanne Hawthorne pointed out that overseas university graduates were failing to find work in different sectors due to poor standard of English.

"Universities should pay very great heed to the entry level of the students' English, but also actively enhance their English during study," Professor Hawthorne said. (ANI)

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