An ongoing dispute between Australia's National Tertiary Education Union and RMIT University could affect students in Singapore enrolled in the latter's programmes.
The union has banned the release of exam results for its non-graduating students due to a "lack of progress" in negotiations about academics' pay and terms of employment. It is not the first time the union has taken action in the dispute. In May it withheld exam results of 2,000 students here, then released them in August.
There are more than 6,000 students in eight Singapore Institute of Management-RMIT programmes, which can take up to three years to complete. They are due to take their exams for this semester over the next three weeks.
The Straits Times understands their exam papers are supposed to be graded by RMIT faculty members at its main campus in Melbourne as part of an agreement between SIM and RMIT. But the union says RMIT management is working around the restrictions by "outsourcing" the marking of exam scripts to staff in Vietnam.
NTEU president Jeannie Rea said staff at RMIT Vietnam, one of the university's branch campuses, were asked on Wednesday to "mark the SIM papers for 10 courses outside of their normal duties and for about twice their usual marking rate".
"RMIT Melbourne staff argue that this move is a breach of RMIT's assessment policies and procedures, which are designed to ensure quality." The SIM courses are not the same courses taught by the RMIT Vietnam staff.
But a spokesman for SIM Global Education told The Straits Times: "SIM has not received any instruction from RMIT University to send the examination scripts to RMIT campus in Vietnam." RMIT pro vice-chancellor of the College of Business Ian Palmer said: "RMIT is working to ensure that potential impact is minimised."
Third-year SIM-RMIT student Arif Bamadhaj, 24, said: "It's fine if their marking standards are the same. I prefer to get my results on time, instead of getting them two months later like the last time."
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