A stigma truly exists against graduates from most Australian universities

By Yureak

Consider the following revelations for a moment:

Excerpt from The Straits Times:

Universities in Australia have been accepting large numbers of students who fall below the admission requirements, prompting concerns about a decline in the nation's education standards.

The falling entry standards came to light after figures were published last week by Fairfax Media showing that leading universities in the state of New South Wales have been accepting students whose high school rankings were well below the universities' advertised minimum.

These included Macquarie University, where 64 per cent of students who were offered places for this year had a ranking below the cut- off. The figure was 46 per cent at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), 27 per cent at the University of Sydney, and 59 per cent at Western Sydney University. Universities in other Australian states reportedly had similar numbers.

New South Wales State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he believed the admission practices of the universities risked damaging their international reputation.

Excerpt from Transitioning.org :

Most of the Generation Y unemployed people I saw have at least a degree and some even paid quite a lot of money to secure a solid university education from overseas – mostly Australian universities.

They are also mostly engineers, IT specialists or finance graduates. A huge percentage of them come from middle-income family backgrounds and stay in HDB flats.

Excerpt from Mothership:

Anil Sandhu, 33, Lawyer at Kertar & Co

“I had a torrid 3 years in JC. I never gained any confidence because the tests and exams were always unrealistically difficult. I ended up with C, D, & E for my 'A' Levels.”

“I was lucky that my parents could afford to send me to Australia where I initially attended the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Science. The educational environment in Australia was liberating for me. It gave me the time to appreciate the content and room to be creative, and I finished close to the top of class in my first year, which allowed me to apply to law school in Adelaide.”

Now here are the facts.

1. There are so many mediocre universities in Australia ranging from the bottom of the barrel (Charles Sturt University) to unknowns like Swinburne University or even the known but weak schools like Curtin University. This is analogous to Singapore featuring an assortment of tertiary institutions ranging from SIM all the way to NUS.

Surely, you wouldn't consider a SIM graduate to be in the same league as an NUS graduate? If so, aside from sheer ignorance, why would you consider someone from Curtin University or even University of Queensland, to be of the same ability as another who hails from the top 3 (University of Melbourne, Australian National University and University of Sydney)?

2. Distance-learning degrees haven't helped this impression the least bit since private institutions here like Kaplan/MDIS or even James Cook University themselves offer distance degrees which may be questionable in terms of academic rigour. Individuals graduating from these half-baked institutions are still very much likely to call themselves "Australian graduates".

Is it any wonder then, that you claim that a significant number of the unemployed are "graduates from Australian Universities"?

3. Lax admission standards, as have been pointed out in the above news snippets, are the standard especially with the concept of "Foundation Colleges" to which even the Australian National University (ANU) or University of Melbourne (UOM) aren't immune from. I believe the individual who read law and was also cited above entered via the Foundation pathway which basically takes in any Tom, Dick or Harry as long as he/she has the cash to spare.

This explains the C,D,E grade which probably meant he had to study for a year or two at the foundation "ANU College" before officially enrolling in university per se. At this point, it is important to note that transitioning from a foundation college to the actual university isn't guaranteed and it is very likely that this individual had indeed proved and redeemed himself, hence the second chance.

I am pretty certain candidates with such poor 'A' Level results wouldn't qualify for the normal route as I reckon the minimal grade requirements for entry into Law school would be ABB.

Now tell me it to my face I am wrong. To end things, read this opinion piece by an educator who works within the Aussie university system (Are Australian universities just not good enough?


Australian Universities – How Much Does it Cost to Send Your Child There?

Australian Graduate: Singaporeans have a fear of failure and also suck at networking

The Australian Education System-From A Singaporean Mum's Point of View