James Cook overlooked

Education Minister Jason Clare has been in Cairns, talking up the importance of the new CQU campus the Commonwealth is funding there

“About 40 per cent of young people, 25 to 34, at the moment right across Australia have got a university degree. In regional Australia, it’s about half of that and part of that is because there’s not a university around the corner, there’s not a university in town. So, you’ve got to make the big decision to leave town and study elsewhere and a lot of people in Cairns do that already,” Mr Clare said.

Must have cheered up James Cook U. CQU has been in Cairns – for ten years but James Cook U has been there since the late ’80s.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Victorian Unis: good, different. Keith Houghton (Higher Education and Research Group) on what distinguishes them and how they compare with the rest of the country on research productivity.

plus we need a curated open access repository of learning and teaching research. How fortunate there is a pilot, report Tracy Creagh (QUT) and Pru Mitchell (Australian Council for Educational) Research). New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s celebrated series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

and Dirk Mulder on the states of the states for March international student arrivals HERE.

with Expert Opinion where Frank Larkins and Ian Marshman discuss the previous government’s Jobs Ready Graduates model, why it’s cleverer than it looks and how changing it will be hard, HERE .

E-stump speeches

There are two candidates for National Tertiary Education Union national secretary in the union elections (NSW state sec) Damien Cahill and Anastasia Kanjere (La Trobe U) – they answer questions here.

No kidding around: more early childhood teachers needed  

The NSW state government announces $5bn over ten years “to expand access to high quality, affordable childcare.”

Good-o but if subsidies expand demand who will do the teaching? Victoria is on  to this. The state government has committed to a subsidised place for all three year-olds, which will require more teachers and it is stepping up to find some of them, in partnership with Victoria U.

The university  will offer its teach its three year Bachelor of Early Childhood Teaching in two on-line, for diploma qualified teachers. The state government will give Aus citizens and permanent residents who enrol $25 000. Plus ,the university is super-flexible about where/when  students working in the industry can do pracs and assessments (CMM May 18).

The NSW plan is said to include $25 000 scholarships but takers will still need flexible courses.


Really applied research

Got power at your place this morning?

The NSW and Vic state governments are investing in mRNA vaccine research and development, (CMM Tuesday) which has to be as relevant as it gets to the way we live now.

Apart, that is, from the Queensland Government kicking in $15m for the National Battery Testing Centre, part of the Future Batteries Industry Cooperative Research Centre at QUT.

Not letting a stone-cold opportunity go by, state energy minister Mick de Brenni said yesterday, “What the challenges in the National Energy Market show is that as we move to a more diversified energy system, batteries are absolutely critical to keeping prices low.”

No knock backs for last grants

The Senate requires the ARC to advise any grant recommendations the minister knocks back – and all in March got a tick

Made a change from December when then acting education minister Stuart Robert knocked back six Discovery grants for humanities  projects, as not in the national interest. That the March grants were for the applied-research Linkage Programme might have had something to do with that – unless Mr Robert did not want to detract attention from the imminent election.


China student numbers aren’t bouncing back: commencers down again

by Dirk Mulder

Demand from four of the top five markets is improving, shame about number one

Over the past two days in CMM I analysed international student nation-wide sector trends (Tuesday) and how states are performing (yesterday) from the recently released March international student data.

It is the first insight into performance post the borders opening.

Today I look at country data – what happening and who’s coming back?

China’s commencers remain the largest figure with 28,354 being recorded. This is down 10 671 or 27 per cent on same time 2021 and is 50.3 per cent of same time 2019. (Remembering that in 2021 students studying remotely from their home country could be issued visas). Enrolments also remain the largest cohort at 132 997 this is down 29042  or 17.9 per cent on 2021 and 69.3 per cent of 2019.

India comes in number two for commencers and is closing the gap on China with 22 568. This is up 5,152 or 29.6 per cent on same time 2021 and is 81.5 per cent of same time 2019. Enrolments are down 17 980 or 18.4 per cent on same time 2021 and 85.7 per cent of same time 2019.

Nepal is number three. Commencers from Nepal were 13 001, up 5013 or 62.8 per cent with these commencing number being 104.6 per cent of that at the same time in 2019. Enrolments are down however, 3859 or 8.5 per cent being 89.1 percent of the same time 2019.

Vietnam is fourth. Commencers were 5518, up 759 or 153.9 per cent on same time 2021. These commencers represent 79.2 per cent of commencers at the same time in 2019. Enrolments are down 2121 or 10.6 per cent representing 80.1 per cent of same time 2019 enrolments.

Pakistan moves into the top five. Pakistan had 3769 commencers, up 46.8 per cent on same time 2021 and 118.8 per cent on same time 2019. Enrolments are down 474 or 3.7 per cent or 100.2 per cent of same time 2019.

Within 600 students of Pakistan are the next five top commencing countries of Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Colombia.


The obvious talking point is China. Of all the major source markets it, along with Hong Kong has registered decreases. Understandably, the ability for Chinese nationals to move, with relative ease, across borders is a consideration. Those institutions who have been all-in on China for an extended period of time must be looking at the current diplomatic relationship with China hoping the new government will be able to reset at very least the trade relationship.

With China showing signs of coming off the boil many eyes now turn to India, and it makes sense. It is the second of the two majors and appears to be growing. It’s population demographics and central tenets of education in society combined with the Indian government’s appetite to broaden its education policy to include foreign institutions ensure it will be a major student contributor to global education for many years to come. Understanding India and working within its sometime complex systems of government are key to success.

Nepal has risen quicken (62.8 per cent) in commencers on 2021. Many in the sector believe a high visa grant rate will see Nepal come under the magnifying glass from Home Affairs in coming months. So what’s the problem?  There isn’t one , as long as students meet their visa obligations.

It’s not hard to see why the ELICOS numbers (CMM 14 June) are well below expectation. Key ELICOS markets are down in commencers against 2021: China (-27 per cent); Colombia (-24.8 per cent); Korea (-14.1 per cent); and Brazil (-24 per cent).

Major markets that are less than 55 per cent of what they were at the same time in 2019 include: Colombia (52.4 per cent), Korea (51.5 per cent), China (50.3 per cent), Japan (46.9 per cent), Brazil (36.2 per cent).

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM

Appointments, achievements

The Royal Australian Chemical Institute announces the Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology (MCCB) Division Awards. Christopher Burns (biotech company MycRx): Adrien Albert Award (“the premier award”). Tristan Reekie (UNSW Canberra) and Elizabeth New (Uni Sydney): medical chemistry/medical biology award). Charlotte Franck (Uni Sydney) best thesis.

Jennifer Luke (Uni Southern Queensland) receives an outstanding career practitioner award from the Asia Pacific Career Development Association. Her USQ colleague, Peter McIlveen receives a lifetime achievement award.

Clare Wright becomes La Trobe U’s professor of public engagement.