10/08/2016 - 15:49

Unis want better international strategy

10/08/2016 - 15:49

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Perth universities have called for the completion of a clear and comprehensive strategy targeting international students before they would contribute more money to joint marketing of the city as a study destination.

Edith Cowan University vice-chancellor Steve Chapman.

Perth universities have called for the completion of a clear and comprehensive strategy targeting international students before they would contribute more money to joint marketing of the city as a study destination.

University of Notre Dame Australia vice-chancellor Celia Hammond said she supported moves toward a more collaborative approach, but was unwilling to contribute money until the state had a real and tangible strategy.

“We are not just going to funnel money into something on a whim or a hope,” Professor Hammond told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum today.

“Until we’ve got this nutted out, I’m not going to put in another $300,000 on another pilot study that we get back papers on, it’s got to be real, it’s got be tangible.”

Edith Cowan University vice-chancellor Steve Chapman, who took up his current role last year, was also cautious about putting in more money.

“When I came to Perth, I found the approach to international students very confused,” he said.

“There were lots of players in it, and I was unclear what their roles were.

“We would definitely be interested in putting more resources in, if we were less confused about where the resource was going and what it would deliver.”

They were responding to calls by Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi for each of the state’s five universities to lift their financial contribution to a more unified marketing and branding of Perth as a study destination.

Ms Scaffidi told the forum that universities in Adelaide each contributed about $300,000 per year to joint marketing of their state.

By comparison, the Western Australian government contributes about $1.3 million per year, while the city has committed about $500,000 over three years.

Professor Hammond said the strategy needed to be collaborative, so the universities could take ownership of it, while also including related sectors such as tourism and the City of Perth

Professor Chapman suggested there should be joint funding of a permanent reception desk at the airport.

He said similar desks existed in other cities, and it was more than a token gesture.

“If a student comes in, they want to feel welcome, we could all contribute to it,” Professor Chapman said.

“It’s hugely significant.”

He also applauded moves to establish student accommodation in the central city, an initiative backed by all the universities and led by the University of Western Australia’s Gaye McMath.

Education Minister Peter Collier, who attended the CEDA forum, told Business News work was under way on development of a strategy, with all stakeholders having input.

Mr Collier said a stall at the airport was one initiative currently under discussion.

He has also led a series of delegations to key Asian markets, starting with China and Vietnam last year, Indonesia this year and possibly India next year.

Curtin University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry applauded the leadership of the minister and said she was very supportive and happy to contribute to a collaborative answer to the issue.

Professor Terry said WA's market share had fallen from about 10 per cent a decade ago to 6.8 per cent of Australia's international students.

"Perth is not seen as an international study destination," she said.

Professor Terry said the problem was reflected in the QS 2015 rankings of the world's most livable cities, which showed Melbourne at number two, Sydney at number four, and Perth last in Australia at number 34.

Murdoch University vice-chancellor Eeva Leinonen said the university’s global brands were very important.

She said WA needed to think more about how it packaged and leveraged that university brand, and the state’s research collaborations into the world market.

Former WA chief scientist Lyn Beazley has recently been appointed chair of Study Perth (formerly Perth Education City), the agency charged with promoting Perth as a study destination.

 

 

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