Victoria University is considering a plan to “fully outsource” the international students’ foundation studies programme.
A paper has been drafted suggesting the programme be privatised, outlining concerns that it isn’t attracting enough international students.
The project is being seen as a way to “scale up” the number of students eligible to study at Victoria.
This comes following the implementation University’s strategic plan seeking to grow international student numbers. This has led Victoria to turn to other institutions for inspiration, saying Wellington is “underperforming” as a destination for international students.
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When asked about how this outsourcing would benefit the University’s growth targets, Salient were told the “preferred option” would produce a minimum of 150 international undergraduates per annum, a figure that would grow to 200 in five years.
VUWSA are not supporting the proposed plan, raising concerns about student welfare and quality of education.
Academic Vice President Jacinta Gulasekharam said the foundation studies programme hadn’t been reviewed since 2008, and that a review of the program should be done before any decisions are made.
Welfare Vice President Rory Lenihan-Ikin also had questions on how the outsourcing will affect the quality of education, citing that international students choose Victoria for its reputation. From a welfare perspective, he added that Victoria “needed to look after the international students we’ve got before trying to get more.”
VUWSA president Jonathan Gee was also concerned about how the proposed plan would affect the quality of education if it were outsourced.
VUWSA are currently in the process of drafting a submission to the university on the matter, with Jacinta ensuring they would “keep the heat on” the situation.
The Tertiary Education Union have spoken out against the proposal, raising issue with a lack of sources in the document, saying it “cites no evidence or figures. It talks about international benchmarking figures that we have never heard of, and dismisses publicly-owned options on the basis of guesses and assumptions.”
The University have said all feedback on the consultation document will be considered and used to inform all decisions on international pre-degree pathways.
A final decision is expected in May.