The education sector has hailed an “outstanding report” on strengthening and sustaining Australia’s international student market from the Michael Chaney-led International Education Advisory Council.
The IAEC’s ‘Australia – Educating Globally’ report outlines a five-year strategy aimed at boosting international student numbers over the long-term and strengthening competitiveness amidst challenging conditions for the international education sector.
Its recommendations include reviewing the student visa program, enabling greater access to post-study work opportunities for international students, and ensuring international students have access to transport concessions and treatment in public hospitals.
It also advocates greater promotion of the Australian university sector in the emerging economies of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
Tertiary Education Minister Chris Bowen welcomed the report and said the government would establish a Ministerial Coordinating Council across government and the private sector to oversee its implementation.
International education provider Navitas said it was an “outstanding report” and pledged to work with government and other players in the sector to facilitate the changes.
“These recommendations are not only astute, but they also meet the fine balance required to help support sustainable growth in Australia’s international education sector while maintaining quality outcomes for international students,” chief executive Rod Jones said.
Newly-minted Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said with international education accounting for $15 billion worth of export revenue per year, it was “crucial we get the policy settings right”.
“This excellent report outlines a real and achievable five year strategy to strength international education and we strongly commend it to the government,” Ms Robinson said.
Separately, Universities Australia today launched its policy statement, entitled ‘A Smarter Australia’. The statement calls for a “practical and pragmatic” policy framework around greater university participation, global engagement, enhanced research and innovation, and improved efficiency.
University of Western Australia vice-chancellor Paul Johnson said it was "vital for the nation's economic future" that these issues be recognised, and urged political parties to consider 'A Smarter Australia' as a template for their higher education policies.
Curtin University vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket said the policy statement "provides the road map for a smarter, stronger and more prosperous Australia".