Universities are recruiting foreign students with poor grasp of English


Universities are recruiting foreign students whose grasp of English is so poor they wouldn’t get through a GCSE, according to a leading professor writing for the Times Higher Education magazine.
International students are seen as cash cows by institutions, which have colluded to cover up problems because they are dependent on the money they bring in, said Professor Susan Bassnett.
The former pro-vice chancellor of Warwick University says some academics even earn ‘tidy little sums on the side’ assisting students with ‘inadequate command of English’ to produce essays.

Her comments come after the UK Border Agency banned London Metropolitan University from sponsoring international students after finding a quarter of those sampled did not have permission to stay in the UK.

The university disputes the allegations and is mounting a legal challenge.

But Professor Bassnett, the emeritus professor of comparative literature at Warwick, suggested the scandal was only the tip of the iceberg and London Met had been made the scapegoat for a much wider problem.

While British students pay up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees, foreign students on the same course can be charged up to £20,000.
Professor Bassnett, who has also been an external examiner for the University of Limerick, said she had often marked scripts from foreign students with little grasp of English.

"We have all seen the way in which international students with poor qualifications have been recruited as cash cows for years now," she wrote in the Times Higher Education magazine.
"I am not the only academic to have acted as an external examiner, assessor or auditor in the sector and to have seen scripts in English so poor that the students wouldn’t scrape a GCSE."
Students from outside the EU must take English ability tests but Professor Bassnett said pressure to boost student numbers meant strict selection criteria were not always observed.
"Universities have colluded with this situation for years and successive governments have turned a blind eye because it has enabled them to continue to cut higher education funding," she said.

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