Education Minister Simon Birmingham announces foreign students have to scrub up English skills to study in Australia

FOREIGN students will be forced to brush up on their ­English skills if they want to study at Australian universities and colleges from next year.

More than 150,000 international students who come to Australia every year will have to pass tough new ­English language exams before they can begin their preferred courses.

They will have to undergo at least 20 hours of face-to-face teaching a week in intensive courses designed for non-­English speakers who want to study in Australia.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the overseas students who had poor English skills were disadvantaging themselves and their Australian classmates.

“What we hear from universities, vocational education providers and from the regulator is that some students are slipping through the cracks,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Some students simply don’t have the English language skills they need to succeed. It means they draw away from getting involved in lectures, tutorials and group study work while their classmates and teachers struggle to bridge the language divide.”

Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham. Picture: Mick Tsikas (AAP)

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