Sunday, March 11, 2012

Essay on University Education in English

Today, English is a vehicle language. In fact, English is the language of the international communication and people use this language worldwide, even though for many of them English is not their native language. At the same time, English is the main language with the help of which people can gain success on the international level. Obviously, the language competence opens huge career opportunities for people worldwide since, today, the knowledge of English language may be a key to the professional success, especially for those people who are employed in multinational corporations. In such a context, the number of foreign students, who choose to study overseas, is constantly growing because, along with the higher education and qualification they get English language competence that means that they can work on the international level. However, the growing number of foreign students at Universities of English-speaking countries, such as Australia, raises a serious problem. On the one hand, the involvement of foreign students is beneficial for Universities from financial, marketing and academic points of view, while, on the other hand, the question concerning the quality of education naturally arises.

First of all, it is important to underline that Universities often stimulate foreign students to enter. In this respect, numerous programs and scholarships allow foreign students to enter Universities and continue their studies in English-speaking countries, such as Australia. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that often such programs and scholarships do not bring any direct financial benefits to Universities. Nevertheless, Universities are interested in the involvement of the larger number of foreign students.

In such a context, it is necessary to take into consideration two factors which are beneficial for Universities. Firstly, the growing number of foreign students improves the brand image of Universities. In other words, the more foreign students a University is able to attract the more prestigious the education at this University becomes since foreign students, who are about to choose a University to study at, prefer Universities where the number of foreign students is high because these Universities have well-developed language programs and courses which can facilitate the studies of foreign students. In addition, students believe that these Universities can provide the education of the higher quality, though, in actuality, the involvement of foreign students is a pure marketing strategy of many Universities in English-speaking countries. It is not a secret that the competition between Universities of English-speaking countries, especially the UK, the US and Australia, grows dramatically and the more foreign students Universities are able to attract the better will be their competitive position in the educational market, which, similarly to other markets, tends to globalization (Baez, 102).

Secondly, Universities get an excellent opportunity to involve most prospective students who have huge academic potential, which they cannot realize in their native countries. In such a way, the process of brain-drain occurs and Universities of Australia and other English-speaking countries are desirable destinations for many students from countries of the third-world (Blimling, 518). At this point, it is important to underline the fact that it is high standards of education in such countries as Australia that attracts foreign students that means that the quality of education is crucial for students and, therefore, for Universities which development is impossible without students.

At the same time, the growing number of foreign students brings considerable financial profits to Universities which often suffer from the lack of the state support. At any rate, foreign students paying for the education provide stable and substantial revenues for Universities in English-speaking countries, such as Australia (Yagelsh, 204). Obviously, it is mainly due to the language and its spread worldwide foreign students prefer English speaking countries. For instance, many European universities in such countries as Switzerland, Germany, France, have high standards of education and the quality of education is not much worse or better in Europe than in Australia, but students prefer Australia, as well as the UK or the USA, because these countries are English-speaking. Therefore, Universities in Australia and other English-speaking countries can use language as an additional attraction for foreign students. The latter are ready to pay more for their education than they would normally do in non-English-speaking countries, such as Germany, for instance. In such a way, Australian Universities can benefit financially from foreign students.

However, the huge involvement of foreign students is inevitably accompanied by the risk of the decreasing quality of education in Australian Universities. It proves beyond a doubt that the quality of education of foreign students, especially if they arrive from countries of the third world, is consistently lower compared to the level of education of Australian students. In fact, Australian system of school education has larger opportunities than educational systems of developing countries which suffer permanently from poor financing and low professional level of educators.

In such a situation, Australian Universities need to focus on the quality of education that means that they should control thoroughly the educational level of students entering the Universities since their educational level should meet high standards of Australian Universities. At the same time, Universities often to spend time and financial resources to organize and introduce special educational programs or courses for foreign students to allow them to catch up with Australian students. This refers not only to the language competence but also to the general educational level of foreign students. Consequently, the drawback of the wide involvement of foreign students is the necessity of additional financial expenses and development of specific educational programs in order to maintain the high quality of education of Universities.

Nevertheless, from the financial point of view, the benefits, Australian and other English-speaking universities receive from foreign students, outweigh costs. This is why the trend to increase the number of foreign students at Australian universities still persists and it is likely to continue growing in the nearest future since the competition between English-speaking Universities of Australia, the UK and the US tends to increase. In such a situation, it is important for Universities to maintain high standards of education in their pursuit of benefits, both financial and intellectual.