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Victorian Government releases strategy for international education sector

THE Victorian Government has recently released its strategy for the international education sector in Victoria. Find out how this could impact you as an international student. Samantha Chew reports.

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In recognising the importance of international education to the state’s economy, the Victorian Government wishes to make international students’ study experience in the state more fruitful with its new strategy.

The Victorian Government has released its strategy for the international education sector, recognising the international education sector as one of potential growth as well as an already present market that generates billions of dollars in revenue.

The strategy is a hefty 32-page document that details the Victorian government’s plans moving forward.

The strategy is available online and you can view the document in its entirety, but for those who are reluctant to trawl through the details, we have provided a summary of points we think are noteworthy for current and prospective international students.

Quality and innovation

Quality and innovation are emphasised within plans to make Victoria a global leader in education services. The State Government plans to work with national regulators and policy agencies to further advocate for students’ rights and improve student satisfaction in their stay in Victoria.

Student experience

Student experience is also vital in the State Government’s plans to leverage Victoria as an education hub. Feedback from international students in 2014 found that 88 per cent were satisfied with their experience in Victoria. This result will be the benchmark for the Victorian education sector to maintain and enhance. A new initiative to help international students Lead, Intern, Volunteer and Experience (LIVE) locally and internationally during their study will pilot in 2016 while an ongoing 4 million dollar international student welfare grants program that aims to protect student welfare and enhance student experience will have continued support.

College Square, a student accommodation close to the University of Melbourne. Photo: Reinis Treidas via Flickr

The Victorian Government promises to deliver more student housing as part of its international education strategy. Photo: Reinis Treidas via Flickr

Accommodation

More student housing will also be made available by attracting investments into student accommodation projects and improving the information accessibility to potential student buyers. The government plans to achieve this by exploring partnerships with education and housing providers, agents from planning agencies and the Commonwealth Government. Additionally, the discount scheme on public transportation for international students will continue its trial until 2017 when the outcomes will be evaluated.

Global partner and destination for education

The strategy outlines the government’s plans to expand its reach in exporting education to regions such as Latin America, South-East Asia and parts of the Middle East, and position Victoria as a global partner and destination for education, training and research.

To support partnerships between education providers, local government, businesses and local communities, a collaboration program will be established to foster the growth of onshore international education in major regional centres. However, not all of the initiatives will be overseen by the government. There is encouragement of community-led solutions and partnerships to further enhance export education. Through the results of an increase in international students, the state government also hopes to grow visitation through relatives or friends of the students that come as tourists.

An approach to lay the foundation that enables world-class research will require work with universities and research institutes in an effort to attract global partners for research infrastructure and programs. Hopefully, this leads to better support for research students and opens up an avenue for better research opportunities on a global scale.

Early exposure to the Victorian curriculum for overseas students is among one of the State Government's priorities.

Early exposure to the Victorian curriculum for overseas students is among one of the State Government’s priorities.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector

The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector will also receive its fair share of focus as it accounts for a quarter of international students currently in Victoria. The Victorian government plans to advance the VET sector further by supporting TAFE institutes in an approach to acquire high-value offshore training projects. The VET sector will also receive benefits from relationships between governments and VET teacher training.

School to higher study pathways

Investments into English language, accommodation, education agents and school capacity is forecasted for both government and non-government schools. For those who are concerned about plans after high school, the government will research to increase their understanding of school to higher study pathways for international students. Expansions of overseas delivery of Victorian curriculum through transnational programs will also be established, the first instance being China’s acceptance of the Northern Hemisphere VCE as the first priority.

Striving to prepare migrants and international students for success, Victoria aims to enhance its English language and pathway programs. More campaigns and products will be developed in the hope of attracting short-stay English language students. High levels of English language testing will be reinforced for all continuing students in Victoria.

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By further improving the international student experience, the State Government hopes its strategy will continue to promote Victoria as the leading international education state in Australia.

International exposure

Victorian students will also have continued support to obtain international exposure as part of their studies with the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program, Sir John Monash Scholarships, and Hamer Scholarships. The government will also partner with the Commonwealth Government’s ‘New Colombo Plan’ initiatives.

Skilled migration 

State nominations of priority occupations for skilled migration visas will also be ongoing with an additional nomination of any student who completes a PhD at a Victorian university subject to meeting their requirements.

Collaborative and wholesome support system

A more collaborative and wholesome support system for international students will also be a primary focus for the Victorian Government that ensures they will listen to the views of international students directly and offer responses to any problems or concerns.

To read the International Education Sector Strategy in full, visit the Study Melbourne website.

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Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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