A PRIVATE Melbourne secondary school has been forced to close after authorities found it had breached multiple regulations concerning the education and welfare of international students. Deborah Goh reports.
Melbourne Senior Secondary College (MSSC), a private high school based in Melbourne’s CBD, has been shut down after it was discovered to have provided unacceptable quality in education and welfare to its international students.
Following its discovery that MSSC had 16 areas of non-compliance out of 25 categories, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) — responsible for ensuring that providers of education meet quality standards — determined “the continued operation of the school pose[d] an unacceptable risk to student welfare”.
It cancelled MSSC’s registration as a school, as well as its approval to deliver to overseas students, who had been paying the school $18,600 a year for tuition.
Though MSSC only catered to Year 11 and 12 students, a majority of its students came from other countries. Lynn Glover, director of VRQA, confirmed MSSC’s closure had left 59 international students and 24 domestic students without a school.
“Both the State and Commonwealth education departments are supporting students, and their families, to ensure they are placed with suitable alternative education providers in order to continue their studies,” she said.
According to reports, the school’s teachers were pressured to inflate the grades of students and pass those who performed poorly academically.
The teaching of English in MSSC was reported to have also been subpar.
Additionally, MSSC failed to keep track of its students’ attendance despite visa requirements that stipulate students must sign in twice a day at school. An updated record of where all of its students were residing was lacking too.
The school did not manage its finances wisely either. An audit assessment found MSSC posted a loss of more than $416,000 in 2012 as it had included almost $375,000 worth of fees that never materialised because students were not granted visas.
MSSC is currently appealing against the closure order at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).