As Australian borders are finally opening for international students from mid-December 2021, the government of Australia has released the Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030. The next ten years plan has proposed key initiatives for the implementation of the strategy.
Why a new Australian strategy for international education?
Australia has been the top choice of international students for their abroad study career. To this date, many students are waiting for their careers to resume in Australia once the borders are open. However, post-pandemic, Australian education providers have faced a massive decline in enrollments. The sector foresees to recover gradually as Australia is welcoming international students from mid-December. Australia also plans to improve the bilateral relationships with key partners globally and bring new innovations in education delivery. To rebuild the international education sector, the new strategy pursues a sustainable rebuilding plan and create opportunities for growth.
International education priorities for the next 10 years
The strategy has identified four major priorities for the upcoming decade. The strategy aims to strengthen Australia’s position as a world leader in the international education sector.
Diversifying student cohorts and source countries
The pandemic has proved that the dependence on smaller markets is not sustainable. So, Australia aims to make the education sector more resilient. Diversification can mitigate risks and manage market shocks. Also, a diverse students cohort gives an opportunity for wider exposure to learning through interaction with people and societies from all backgrounds.
Diversifying offerings to capitalise on digital and offshore opportunities
Additionally, the rise of digital and offshore education allows international students to attain affordable and premium quality experiences at the comfort of their location and learning style. So, Australia aims to provide a diverse offering to capitalise on digital and offshore opportunities.
Meeting Australia’s skills needs
Delivering international education that meets Australia’s skills needs
International students is one of the major sources of Australia’s workforce and the skills requirements needed are changing. By increasing the diversity of courses for international students to enrol in, Australia aims to seek a stronger alignment between international education and Australia’s skills needs. Beyond traditional choices of management, commerce, and information technology, Australia tends to wider its offerings in other key areas such as engineering, maths, health, and so on.
Similarly, rather than discouraging the link between migration and education, the Australian government will expand opportunities to deliver courses offshore in areas of future skills needs.
Fostering quality partnerships for research and collaboration
Driving new skills needs is highly dependent on research. A trusted and safe international research collaboration showcases and uplifts Australia’s interests and addresses global issues. The research system of Australia has a strong global reputation, with almost 90% of research rated world standards. The education sector and the Australian Government plans to set high-quality partnerships for research and collaboration. This will continue Australia’s reputation as a trusted international research collaboration partner while fostering its growth to meet skills needs.
Students at the centre
Enhancing people-to-people links through international education mobility
International students are motivated to pursue their higher education in Australia for many reasons. The world-class experience that Australia provides attract many domestic and international students. So, the Australian government plans to enhance people-to-people links through international education mobility. Lastly, it aims to strengthen connections between international students and Australian students and communities.
Student experience and wellbeing
The government plans to enhance students’ awareness of their rights and support education providers to deliver student support programs. It also shall ensure to raise voices for students through student representation on the Council for International Education. This aims to prioritise student experience and wellbeing.
Growth and global competitiveness
Maintaining a strong quantity framework to ensure continued growth
The Australian international education sector should remain competitive into the future for which diversification and growth are necessary. Furthermore, the Australian government shall provide a package of support measures. It shall conduct reviews of the ESOS Act and the National Code for continuous innovation and an optimal learning experience. And, it shall work to improve the data system which shall minimize the administrative burden on providers.
Ensuring global competitiveness
The new visa settings with changes such as increased length of temporary graduates visa help to maintain competitiveness. Also, the government plans to work with local and international stakeholders to strengthen the recognition of Australian qualifications.
Prior to the pandemic, Australia’s international education sector contributed around $40 billion to the Australian economy. The sector is the backbone of the economy as well as the country’s overall growth. So, the introduction of the new Australian strategy for international education aims to rebuild the sector in a sustainable way.