International students will face new English language testing in 2018 following an announcement by Education Minister Simon Birmingham in Hobart last Thursday.
A formal assessment by English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) will be required for entry into a tertiary course, replacing the current process where proof of passing isn’t necessary to begin a degree.
The motive behind the changes is to address the issue of students who struggle to engage in group assignments and class work due to a lack of English proficiency. Each student undertaking an ELICOS course will need to meet a minimum of 20 face-to-face contact hours per week and a teacher-to-student ratio of no more than 1:18.
"It is essential for those international students and for the domestic students who they ultimately study alongside in our universities, TAFEs or other education providers that they have the English language skills to succeed,” said Senator Birmingham.
Despite the majority of ELICOS students in 2016 (around 150,000) achieving strong results, the move is projected to strengthen Australia’s $28 billion international education sector.