By Timothy Leong
International students at Murdoch University have mixed opinions about the introduction of a mandatory English test by the Australian Government.
Ka Man Cheng, 23, from Hong Kong and a student at Murdoch for three years, thinks that being made to sit the test is unfair.
“Your language should not determine your ability or skills to learn and be educated,” she told Bounce News.
“I think international students in general would be discouraged from studying in Australia if they have to sit an English test.”
This week federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham told an education conference in Hobart that new English language standards for students would apply from next year.
The test will require students to demonstrate various levels of proficiency in their basic knowledge of the alphabet, sentences, and academic writing, depending on the course they want to pursue.
Japanese exchange student, Sho Teramura, 22, supports the introduction of new standards for English language requirements, which will affect about 150,000 students from overseas each year.
Mr Teramura believes that international students will fall behind when they are not able to learn and study at the same level as local students.
“It is the person’s choice to come study in an English country, so they must take responsibility for the requirements needed,” he says.
Murdoch International Association President, Kombo Mashumbo, says he is not against the introduction of English tests since it is a universal language.
“Obviously, Australia has to take measures so that international students are at the same level as domestic students,” he says.
“I don’t think the English test is much of a deterrent.”
Mr Mashumbo, a 21-year-old from Zimbabwe says he and many of his friends were required to sit an English test in their own country before arriving at Murdoch University.
He says that the test should measure the student’s ability to communicate with the majority of Australians.
“As they say, when you are in Rome, you do what the Romans do,” he says.
Currently, Murdoch requires most international students to pass Year 12 English.
Bounce News also sought comment from Murdoch University’s Student Services, Transition Retention Office, and Murdoch Institute of Technology but each group said it was too early to make a statement.