KEEPING BRITAIN SAFE AND PRESERVING ITS EDUCATIONAL INTEGRITY
Purpose of this Report
St Agnes college representatives have consulted with selected stakeholders in the private education sector with regard to the highly valued and appreciated Tier 4 rules and taken note of the UKBAs published intention to promulgate amendments.
The writers request that the recipients of this report consider the seriousness and depth of feeling that motivated this Paper.
Acknowledgement and informed feedback is requested.
Background issues behind this report
The initial intake of foreign students presented the following major obstacles that lecturers and students identified as the foremost problems impinging on student academic progress.
A. The English Language
- An inadequate knowledge of English – especially academic terminology.
- An inability to use English as a means of verbal and written communication.
- An inability to understand spoken English.
- An inability to comprehend written course material.
- An inability to understand exam questions.
B. Studying Methodology
The majority of students had no concept of studying at a college level and were unable to undertake research and complete course assignments.
C. Employment Incentive
In a snap-survey, the majority of students revealed that their main purpose in securing a student visa was to earn income and then to study at the same time.
D. Alleged Misdirection by Agents
The majority of students indicated that their agent had told them what course to follow but had no idea what the courses were about.
Upon arrival at St Agnes College many discovered that they were not interested in the course – it was not what they had in mind as a route to their career path. However, most in this group indicated that they were adjusting to the subject.
St Agens College Responses
To address issues of English (A) aforementioned, St Agnes set each student an Intermediate English proficiency test Some 85% of the student body did not pass the test. Individuals who did not attain the set pass grade had to attend the free three-hours per week English class.
The English lecturer, who holds the Cambridge CELTA is also of Asian background and her teaching is of a high standard.
However, many students did not attend the class, some citing the following reasons:
- Not interested – I did not come to the UK to learn English
- Too tired
To address study methodology (B) two-hours of course time were given to a lecture on study methodology and basic academic reading techniques. A POWERPOINT presentation was then sent to each student who requested it.
To address the allegations about misdirection by agents, made under D, St Agnes will commission staff to check applicant motivation, understanding of the course and English proficiency in the home country as a priority feeder for admission consideration. A form is being prepared for students to complete when applying – this will accompany the application material and St Agnes representatives will continue to give their foreign consultants further training on admission criterion.
St Agnes has raised their admission level to IELTS 6. Concerns about the validity of IELTS qualifications remain, however. Stories circulate about alleged bribery, forgery, proxy examinees and possible incompetent examiners engaged in the marking process.
The current operations are short term initiatives that will be discontinued once the new recruitment scheme is activated.
Part 1: Background issues behind this report and St Agnes College Responses
Part 2: Concerns Arising
Part 3: Recommendations