INTERNATIONAL education is one of Australia’s “greatest under-the-radar export success stories,” said Australian education minister Christopher Pyne, as he outlined the nation’s plan to build a more diverse, world-class economy. Emily Umstad reports.
The Australian Government has released for consultation a Draft National Strategy for International Education outlining areas of growth, and strategies for improving the experience of some 300,000 students who come to Australia each year.
In addition to traditionally popular source countries for international students such as China and India, the new strategy has earmarked Latin America and the Middle East as key markets for growth.
A lucrative industry worth a whopping $16.3 billion in the last financial year – Australia’s largest services export and largest export overall – Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the international education sector was “one of Australia’s greatest under-the-radar export success stories”, and estimates the value could double over the next 10 years.
“With many traditional industries under pressure, Australia is well placed to harness the knowledge boom, meet international demand for education and prepare people for professional jobs globally,” Mr Pyne said.
Beyond being a mainstay of Australia’s economy, Mr Pyne sees international education playing a role in nurturing cross-cultural networks in the region.
“We want to send a message to students from around the world that Australia welcomes them and will help them achieve their aspirations,” he said.
The draft strategy is structured around three broad pillars:
- Getting the fundamentals right: Strong national policies for education, training and research will ensure we keep our reputation as one of the world’s leading providers of education.
- Reaching out to the world: International education includes all aspects of our global teaching and research engagement. This includes Australian students studying abroad and engaging through language study. It includes research collaboration and the two-way movement of researchers, academics and professionals.
- Staying competitive: Working together to provide international students with a great value package. High quality education experiences that utilise new technologies, offer strong and safe consumer protections and real work experience in professional and skilled employment are essential.
National president of the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) Thomson Ch’ng said the draft strategy was a “positive step from the government”.
“We welcome the engagement opportunity from the department to ensure that the strategy is in fact addressing the right issues challenging international students in Australia,” Mr Ch’ng said.
To view the Draft National Strategy for International Education and make a submission visit internationaleducation.gov.au.