Professor Andrew Jakubowicz
Written by Professor Andrew Jakubowicz in collaboration with Dr Devaki Monani, International Student Futures in Australia: A Human Rights Perspective on Moving Forward to Real Action, analyses the social science perspectives of international student experience in Australia.
It argues that, with international students now comprising a significant part of Australia's immigration intake, and making a major contribution to Australia's economic survival during the global financial crisis, "the current uncoordinated and at times counter-productive policy responses to their presence require systematic review."
Writing in The Australian Higher Education (opens an external site) last week Professor Jakubowicz said neither the November 2010 Council of Australian Governments Strategy on International Students nor the current review of the student visa program had included many of the social and cultural issues raised by students and researchers.
Areas of concern identified in International Student Futures in Australia were:
- no strategic goals associated with combating racism (except through an undefined community engagement process that places the onus on the students to become engaged)
- no discussion of access to affordable transport
- no discussion of access to affordable and appropriate accommodation
- no affirmation of human rights
"Evidence-based policy that draws on a full range of the social sciences, that is intellectually rigorous and that is not cowed by bureaucratic shibboleths would be helpful," Professor Jakubowicz wrote in The Australian. "Such whole-of-government approach would help Australians understand the value of the global framework of human rights, would go a long way to framing a rational, encompassing and humane international student policy and might just help save the industry."
The paper was commissioned by Universities Australia, the Human Rights Commission and the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, with the disclaimer that it does not represent the official views of the commissioning bodies. It can be downloaded from the website (opens an external site) of the Academy of Social Sciences.