Masters degree students at the University of Sydney’s prestigious business school may have to undergo a compulsory English language course after the university revealed that more than 400 students, mainly from China, failed core units of their masters’ degree. About 37 per cent of the 1,200 students studying the Critical Thinking in Business course were given a fail grade after the first semester, and about 12 per cent of students in the Succeeding in Business course also failed, according to a report on the ABC.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has weighed into the stoush between the university and the group of students who complained that the university did not prepare them properly for the course. NTEU president Jeanie Rae said universities should resist pressure to pass under-performing students, but in this case their treatment seemed unfair.
“I think the university needs to be much more honest about it, to me holding an exam at the end of a course and then wiping the students off after they’ve already paid their money to me seems quite cynical…If the students needed greater language skills, why were these students let in and given places if there were real doubts about their capacity to successfully complete?” she said.
University of Sydney Business School Deputy Dean (Education), Professor John Shields, however said English was not the only reason some Chinese students struggled with the course.
“We do have a large number of students coming to us from bachelor degrees undertaken elsewhere, including in mainland China, where the dominant mode of learning is what we would describe as passive learning rather than critical thinking and engaged learning,” he said.
“What we’ve been seeking to do is transition students coming into our programs from that very different learning system or education values system to … the critical thinking approach. We have put in place quite systematic and comprehensive additional support for students that we identify as being at risk,” he said.
It was revealed in other media reports that at least 70 students face expulsion after being found guilty of paying the company MyMaster for writing their assignments. A University of Sydney report said that at least 16 universities have been caught in the plagiarism scandal. Yingying Dou is alleged to have charged some 1000 students at least $1000 per assignment. The website has reportedly been shut down as the universities continue with their investigations.
Source: Migration Alliance