The Australian government recently released its Draft National Strategy for International Education, a route map to further boosting the global competitiveness of Australia’s international education sector. The document marks the beginning of a consultation process with stakeholders and government officials to fine-tune the strategy and begin to implement it.
The document first presents Australia’s international education sector in a global context. International education is described as vital to the Australian economy, as it has become the nation’s largest services export. As the number of tertiary students enrolled abroad continues to grow–and grown it has, more than doubling between 2000 and 2012 –global competition to attract them is intensifying, with ever more countries recognising the value foreign students bring to their economies. The Draft National Strategy breaks down the plan into six main goals:
- Creating one of the best education systems in the world: With an eye towards improving Australia’s standing in world-rankings, this involves investing in world-class research.
- Broadening engagement in international education: Notably, strengthening and diversifying institutional and research partnerships.
- Fostering an international outlook among Australian students and researchers: It is not only about attracting foreign students into Australia but also about making sure Australian students are globally engaged.
- Attracting more students and researchers from around the world and building lasting connections with alumni.
- Continuing to improve the quality of the educational and living experience for international students: This involves, among others, maintaining competitive visas, identifying work opportunities, expanding access to public services and increasing community engagement.
- Embracing new opportunities to expand international education (e.g. online learning)